Thursday, January 21, 2010

Ice Fishing Shacks in Maine


Starting in December, the lakes of Maine ice up and thousands of outdoor enthusiasts take to the frozen playgrounds on snowmobiles and pickup trucks in search of fish. Basing their operations out of small shacks, the fishermen walk around the frozen landscape periodically, checking traps, breaking up ice buildups and drilling new holes. Bundled up like Randy Parker from The Christmas Story, they approach their fishing responsibilities as a defiant right of passage. Each inadvertent slip on the ice or splashing of water proves to themselves and their buddies, warming their stomachs with cheap beer in nearby shacks, that not even sub-zero winters can bar them from enjoying the great Maine outdoors.

Driving by lakes throughout New England, I am always on the lookout for ice shacks and their dedicated proprietors. On Sunday, I looked at a map of central Maine for unfamiliar roads, towns and lakes and headed northwest with my camera sitting shotgun. Near Canaan I spotted a lone ice shack standing tall and pulled to the side of the road. A dozen more shacks came into view as I rounded a small point and for the next hour and half I walked around exploring the landscape and looking at the structures.

Utensils for cooking fish and breaking ice.
Scott Peterman's photos of architecture and ice shacks have had a major influence on my photography and overall aesthetic.

The bright colors of the ice shacks juxtapose the bleak Maine winter, making both more pronounced and impressive.

A thermometer on the door handle of his shack reminds Mr. Bickford of the gelid nature of ice fishing.

Anchored to the ice.

Truck, snowmobile and foot prints on the ice, the highway of ice fishing.
Thawing and freezing cements footprints in the ice until the spring storms of April and early May.

Take Note.

Yellow and Red.
Time passed as the wind whipped up loose snow and the drone of snowmobiles oscillated in the distance like a snooze alarm in a nearby room. I slid my feet on the ice towards the shore and the warmth of my car.

Here are some more links,
Ice Shacks in Maine (Picasa),
Fishing with John: Willem Dafoe in Maine,
Scott Peterman (Photographer),
IceShanty.com.

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

Do you guys not call them shanties?

John said...

It'd be cool if one looked like an igloo, or a giant snowball, or a breaching whale, or Nessie, or the top of a pyramid...
This has got "festival!" written all over it!

Stephanie said...

Rite of passage, after this cup of espresso this a.m. I would be climbing the walls in a matter of seconds. Count me out.

Foster Huntington said...

i have never heard them called shanties but then again i am no expert on the matter.
foster

Foster Huntington said...

i am sure there are some ice fishing festivals in maine, i will look into it,
Foster

Ryan said...

Always showin' off those Danners! Ha ha.

Foster Huntington said...

they are great for the maine winters and the most comfortable shoe i own.
foster

Scott said...

Just out of curiosity, where'd you get those laces? I need some 54" for my Sundowners.

Foster Huntington said...

I got them at a discount store in maine called mardens.
Foster

victoria thorne said...

nice. very nice. (as ever)

Foster Huntington said...

thank you victoria. your complements mean a lot,
Foster

alb said...

Sartorial and scape-land perfection. Sweet! ... PS, the word verification: "gresswit" - ???

Foster Huntington said...

thanks for the kind words,
foster

Dave, Philippe et Bruce said...

how about some interiors!

Fishing Charter said...

Ice fishing is a cold fishing adventure. But fishing in the sea or ocean is more exciting. Fishing with family and friends will be the most interesting adventure to happen. It is important to look for a fishing charter to make it happen. It is good to know that it is just a click away. Better to check it out.

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