For those who prefer to sit over holes and see their own car, this article may not be very useful. Indeed, it’s much easier: cold, wet, hungry, started the car remotely – and here you are with all the delights of earthly civilization.
You can warm up, listen to music, relax, take an hour’s nap – what else do you need for comfort and peace of mind? I have met many anglers who, before heading to a new place for themselves, prepare the whole complex of rest-eating-warming-emptying activities.
There is nothing wrong when a fisherman, heading to some base, first of all learns information not about “cool” points, but about living conditions and food. We are all different, which is great!
I belong to the lovers of adventure and various adventurous plans. It’s nice to test yourself for strength, to find ways out in difficult situations. In this state, you live and breathe deeply, despite physical fatigue.
For the fullness of life, we all lack adventure, so let’s create one for ourselves! From this, our life will only become brighter and more colorful.
Means of transport
In my heart I am with those who love to discover new places. What I will describe below will be useful for every angler, but especially for those who fish in the harsh northern latitudes of the Arctic, Siberia, in wild places far from large settlements.
There are two main ways to get to the treasured fishing spots.
- The first of them is commonplace skis, the most proven and reliable transport that does not require refueling and which is easy to repair if necessary.
- The second is, of course, the snowmobile, which has recently become very popular for winter fishing.
- There is also the third, most expensive and therefore rarely used delivery method – a helicopter. Everything is clear here: he paid, sat down, flew in, fished, flew away, brought home the catch, kissed his wife, etc.
I have a lot of personal experience of skiing long distances in the Murmansk region, so I’ll start with them. Over the years, I have found myself in extreme situations more than once. I spent a lot of time in huts and dugouts, communicating with experienced fishermen. During this time, I heard a lot of stories about how someone got into difficult situations in difficult weather conditions.
I have heard many fatal stories, which cannot but be upset when you know that an angler has suffered who goes fishing in the same places where you go. Summarizing all the experience I have heard and received personally, I want to write general recommendations for safety and survival. So, if you are going to ski in the forest or tundra at a distance of 5-10 km or more, if you intend to spend more than one day fishing, then your equipment should be perfectly matched.
It is better to use wide skis – “Forest” or “Hunting”, for example. Now such skis are produced semi-plastic, they are much more practical than wooden ones. For the latter, you need to have good ski lubricants with you. If wet snow sticks to your skis or in conditions where there is water on the ice on your way at sub-zero temperatures, it is simply impossible to move without proper lubrication.
Some anglers use conventional cross-country plastic skis. This significantly speeds up the movement, but on the “virgin soil” you will not go on them. So you can walk either on the track rolled by a snowmobile, or on an ice crust. Experienced skiers usually enjoy ice-skating in the spring months.
When the snow melts in the daytime, and in the early morning, after the night frost, a strong crust forms, it’s time to move long distances on cross-country skis.
Whichever skis you use, you should always have a minimum repair kit with you in case of broken skis, bindings or ski poles. This is a prerequisite when walking long distances. If you are walking in conditions of melting snow, ice and the presence of thawed patches, then your shoes should be as tall and waterproof as possible.
Your clothing for getting around should be lightweight and waterproof. The backpack should fit very well, be roomy and not interfere with your movement. Some fishermen roll a backpack behind them on a plastic sled – this is quite justified, although it creates inconvenience on descents and ascents. Everything that is in your backpack should be light, compact, practical, versatile, necessary and well-chosen.
Food should be as high-calorie as possible in relation to its weight, do not take ballast with you. Clothes, matches, lighters must be in high-quality waterproof bags. Without primus and fuel, you can walk far only on the last ice, when you can spend the night on the ground on thawed patches.
The rest of the time a primus stove, fuel for it and a compact tent are required. If you do not have a tent, you should have at least a piece of waterproof lightweight cloth measuring 3 x 3 m at least. An alternative to this can be a piece of cellophane of the same size. In some cases, it will save your life.
What to do if a blizzard is on the way
When heading for fishing, it is best to check the weather forecast for the coming days on several independent websites. But if you are already caught in a snowstorm while fishing or in a blizzard on the transition to fishing, then do everything absolutely right.
- Do not move further if the distance is significant and you do not know the exact direction.
- Do not expect the blizzard to end quickly – set yourself up to wait it out in a secluded place.
- Look for a place protected from the wind: behind a hill, between large trees, behind a stone, a fallen tree.
- If there is nowhere to hide from the wind, then look for snow drifts, where there is deep snow, in which you can bury.
- Do not try to set up your tent in an open area – it will tear or carry away.
- Before digging a snow cave, set your backpack and skis against the wind, fixing the canvas of your tent and a piece of your life-saving fabric, which I wrote about above, on them.
- After you have dug your cave, cover the entrance to it with a cloth or tent.
- Install lighting inside, tamp the walls and floor of the cave, install the stove and wait for the blizzard to end.
- If you do everything correctly, the entrance will be covered with snow and it will be warm inside – you will only have to control the air access to your forced home.
It happens that it sweeps in such a way that nothing can be done: everything that has been dug is immediately swept up. Here you will have to act according to the situation, nothing can be done.
This fishing can be both very interesting and very dangerous if you neglect the precautions and safety measures. You can drive a snowmobile very far, but you need to remember that in the event of a breakdown, you will also have to return very far.
Therefore, such things as a satellite phone, JPS, skis, a tent, a kerosene stove, a first aid kit are a must – no matter where you are going. Thinking that you have two snowmobiles and that both certainly won’t break down at the same time is not worth it. It is imperative to calculate the distance in relation to the presence of fuel. Never travel in unfamiliar terrain at night, relying on your navigator.
It is very easy to get into a stone, ravine or abyss. Some snowmobile enthusiasts take advantage of the absence of traffic police officers in the forest and tundra with devices that determine alcohol intoxication to the fullest. This often results in injuries, wrecked, drowned snowmobiles and spoiled themselves, as well as the rest of the fishing. Remember this.
Don’t touch the bears
You need to be extremely careful when moving in the area of rivers with strong currents: the rapids and rifts in winter almost do not freeze. It’s very easy to get there, and getting into the water with a current that pulls you under the ice is doubly dangerous. You need to be especially careful in the spring, when the first thawed patches and gullies form.
If you arrived at the place, drilled, and water came out of the holes, you need to immediately move from this place if you do not want trouble. During a snowstorm, you need to be very careful and careful when driving a snowmobile. Spring ice fishing is the time when bears wake up after hibernation. At this time, they are especially dangerous, therefore, when you see their footprints in the snow, be careful and careful.
The decision to have fun chasing the bear on the lake with a snowmobile is a bad decision. Remember that the bear can turn around at any time and rush at you so that you don’t even have time to dodge. Wild animals are much faster and more responsive than humans, which is why they survive in the harsh conditions of the wild. Don’t ever forget this.
Your dog will always be your best friend on winter fishing. She will show the way when you have gone astray, will not allow you to freeze, warmed with her body, will not allow a wild beast to approach you. In moments of barking, the dog will simply improve your mood by raising a partridge or chasing a hare.
These are my recommendations for survival in extreme winter fishing conditions. See you on the pages of our favorite site. Good luck to you!