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Outside in Wisconsin

Ice fishing – statewide

three anglers on frozen ice©TIM SWEETAbundant opportunities await ice anglers across Wisconsin.

With generally fewer people recreating outdoors in winter, the season is well-suited to social distancing. Hardy souls making the effort to bundle up and brave the elements may find but a few like-minded hikers or occasional fellow skiers to skirt on the trails. They call these “silent sports” for a reason, suggesting an ambience of solitude all the more apparent on frigid February days.

If there’s one winter activity where it’s possible to enjoy both cold-weather camaraderie and enough elbow room for comfort, it’s ice fishing. Once the sled is loaded, the trek onto the frozen sheet made, the spot staked out, hole drilled and tip-up in place, there’s only the waiting and watching left — with an occasional wave at a fellow angler out on the ice as well.

Throughout Wisconsin, state properties offer abundant opportunities to take to the ice with fishing gear in gloved hand. Tim Sweet of Appleton captured this scene overlooking Sawyer Harbor at Potawatomi State Park in Sturgeon Bay, submitting it for last year’s Friends of Wisconsin State Parks photo contest.

Learn more about the sport at Flag up! Ice fishing in Wisconsin and find a park to partake on the Wisconsin State Park System website. And don’t forget about Free Fishing Weekend, Jan. 16-17. All state waters are open to free fishing, no license required — warm boots, coat and hat highly advisable.

— Andrea Zani