Ice Fishing, Vladivostok

Ice Fishing, Vladivostock

Ice Fishing, Vladivostock

What’s ice fishing?

Ice fishing is quite peculiar. Multitudes of local residents and visitors go out on the ice in Vladivostok, for fun or sustenance. On some days, solid ice on less distant bays around the city looks like a busy main street. Yet, there’s room enough for everyone, and there’re places where you can have a small bay or inlet a mile across all to yourself (and your guide).

The common misconception is that ice fishing is a sedentary sport: all you have to do is bore a hole in the ice and wait with your rod for the fish to bite. In fact it is not so. Shoals of fish tend to move around under the ice in search of food and fleeing predators. Anglers often have to follow the fish, walking around and making new holes in the ice.

Our ice fishing tour is available in two versions: in an easily accessible (but not overcrowded) location off the Russki Island, and in a remote area about a hundred miles south of Vladivostok.

Fish: The feature species are sole and two varieties of smelt, both large and small. The larger variety, zubar (‘the toothed one’) is up to 25 cm/10 in long, while smaller korushka is rarely longer than 5 in. The best fishing method is with a seven-hook short rod; bits of a plastic bag or soft foam plastic are a good enough bait.

The sole makes a fine catch. It bites on ‘winter’ sea worm and can be anywhere between 20 and 35 cm (under 1 ft) long.

Angling gear: The rod is very special: about 1 ft long (plastic or bamboo), with a soft plastic handle. Do not worry if you don’t have a rod, we’ve got them right here a-plenty.

Another obligatory item is a ‘fishing box’, a box tipped with felt at one end, about 12′ by 15′ by 25′ which serves as a food and bait container, then becomes a warm seat (this is when felt is handy), and then doubles as a fish container on the way back home.

But the only sort of gear you must bring with you is lots of warm clothing: you must keep warm for hours in the cold. You can safely expect between – 10 and – 18 degrees Celsius in a bitter wind, so wool underwear, a warm hat and an anorack are required. Your anorack or warm greatcoat should have a hood and extra long sleeves to keep your hands inside.

Fishing regulations: Fishing is free. Smelt, sole and other species may be kept on a limited basis for food.

Fishing season: In coastal waters, the ice sets and matures to over 5 inches by mid-December and remains firm and safe till at least the end of February, in some years even well into March. The best time is right after the ice becomes solid and thick enough to walk, and just before it breaks afloat, that is in early-mid December and from late February through early March. An experienced guide will make sure you don’t go on ice too thin for walking.

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