Ice Fishing the Frozen Far North

Article and photos by Paul D. Atkins

As during so many springs in the past, I fueled and oiled my snowmachine the night before. My wooden sled, made by one of my Native friends many years ago, was hitched to the J-hook and looked as if we were going hunting instead of fishing.

The blue plastic tub that was bungeed to the sled waspacked with all the necessities for the day, our niksiks (fishing jigs), line, lures, pliers, extra gloves, fillet knives and the all-important thermos of coffee. I also had my auger with the big 10-inch blade, a tonk (ice breaker), a plastic bucket and a dipper that also doubles as a spaghetti strainer.

As we made our way across the sound the snow shimmered along the well-beaten trail towards the mouth of the river. The Baird Mountains, beautiful as ever in the clear Arctic air, lay visible in the distance, serving as our signpost in anticipation of what lay under the pack ice. It was going to be a great day, especially for catching sheefish. This content is available for subscribers only.

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