In the ice fishing world of powered augers, cameras, ice shacks, and Lil Buddy heaters rule the sport. Some fishermen though, still like to strip the process down to its most primitive form. Imagine, cutting a 3' by 3' hole in the ice, setting up a shelter [In this case a shack] and fishing, with a spear. I equate this with using a recurve bow when hunting big game. As it turns out, the concept of fishing with a spear may be off the beaten path, but obviously effective.

Meet James Uthe. Uthe, originally from Presho, South Dakota [now Sioux Falls] James recently posted on his Facebook page;

2021 is off to a really good start as I joined the 40” club! Cannot even begin to comprehend God’s grace in my life. Second best day of fishing — ever — in the books!!

I casually nodded my head in approval when I saw the photo of the impressive catch, then I read a little more and discovered the old school method he used. I was intrigued so I messaged him and told him how awesome it must be to take fish like that with a spear. He said the process is fascinating and added;

When the water is super clear, it is like staring through a window into a completely new world! My father-in-law, Mark, calls it "a feast for the eyes.”

Used with Permission
James Uthe

When I was living in Green Bay, Wisconsin I remember people talking about spearfishing, but I kind of blew it off, but when I saw the photos of Uthe's day on the ice in Northeast South Dakota it turned my head. He messaged me and said;

The basics of it are pretty simple: you need a license, a spear, a decoy, a dark house, a way to cut a hole in the ice (either an auger or a saw), and good water clarity. Decades of tradition and passion are passed on when handmade decoys or spears change hands; it really is a beautiful thing.

So, they cut the ice, pulled the shack overhead, tied the spear to the chair, and waited. Actually, there's one more important element and this one is equally fascinating. They actually use a visual lure to bring in the fish.

After tying off the spear you drop your decoy in the water. Decoys are weighted, wooden lures (you can also purchase plastic ones) designed to draw the fish into the hole so you have an opportunity to release your spear.

Uthe also was very clear on leaving the fishing area clean of garbage and said to make sure you mark the hole where you fished, he uses tree branches, to make sure nobody steps on the hole as it re-freezes. He also said to know the rules;

Always make sure you know the laws of which species of fish you are legally able to spear because it varies by lake.

Come on! Tell me this doesn't sound like a fun and challenging way to fish. Congratulations to James and his Father-in-Law Mark Templin of Pipestone, Minnesota. I can't help but being a little jealous when I see the pictures. How about you? Check this out!

Used with Permission
Used with Permission

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