Thursday, February 7, 2013

Ice Fishing Shacks on Eagle Lake

Bar Harbor, Maine, Acadia National Park, shack, house
 We had a nice little snowstorm yesterday. Big fat snowflakes came down hard for a couple of hours and then the sun came out and shone brilliantly on the one or two inches that accumulated.
Bar Harbor, Maine, Acadia National Park, ATV
 While the flurries were still swirling I went out to Eagle Lake and poked around the ice shacks. For my friends who live in warmer climates, and for those of you who love Maine but wonder what we do here in the winter, ice fishing is a pretty serious winter sport. You drill holes in the ice with an auger, like this gentleman:
 and then you set your lines with sticks, as in the photo above. The lines are attached to flags, which are triggered to lift when something takes the bait, so you can hang out in your hut
 and keep an eye on your lines.
Bar Harbor, Maine, Acadia National Park, shack, house, snow
 I have to confess that I am not much of a fisher-person at any time of year, although I'm always willing to help eat the catch.  I love hanging out in (other people's) ice shacks, though. They're exactly as insulated as they look - not a bit - but many of them have a woodstove or propane stove, and once you pack three or four people in even an unheated one you find you shed hats and mittens pretty quickly. Then you drink and eat and play cards and laugh a lot, and maybe keep one eye out for flags popping up on the lines if you want fish for lunch.
Bar Harbor, Maine, Acadia National Park, shack, house, snow
 The lake looks pretty bleak in these photos because of the storm, but on a sunny weekend day people are skating and the ice house owners have spread folding chairs out in front and are barbecuing and yelling back and forth and there are kids sliding on the ice and dogs slipping around trying to catch the kids and it's about as bleak as the Fourth of July. Colder, though.
 Is the ice strong enough? Yes, right now I think it's about 8" thick. You have to be careful around the edges and anywhere the water is moving (like at a spot where a stream enters the lake.)
 Bar Harbor, Maine, Acadia National Park, shack, house
 Do the houses ever fall in? Very rarely. You build a house and put it on the ice, you're going to keep an eye on the weather. We had a problem last week because the ice thawed very fast, and two or three houses did go in. That's the first time I can remember that happening in fifteen years, though.
 How do the houses get on the ice? The owners usually haul the house to a boat-launch area in the bed of a pickup truck, and then pull it onto the ice with an ATV (All-Terrain Vehicle, like the one near the top of this post.) You can see that each house is mounted on sturdy wooden runners.
 On other lakes they might just use the pickup to pull it on, but Eagle Lake is part of Acadia National Park, and cars aren't allowed on the ice.
 This one's my favorite!


  1. That was very interesting!AriadnefromGreece!

  2. Great post! You have me missing Eagle Lake and ice fishing...

  3. More than one fishing Shack has been a welcomed respite from a strong northwesterly wind during a ski or skate across the great lake. Through your images, I found myself taken back to warming up out of the wind after crossing where Gulls sit in the summer. Each fishing shack represents the Maine character. Thanks Jennifer

  4. A part of Maine that I haven't gotten to witness much. I like the different character of each hut.

  5. Commenting from Texas where the high today (as yesterday) will be near 80. I love the photos of the ice houses and wouldn't they look lovely in a multi photo frame!!
    The water here is rarely cold and I cannot fathom sitting in a house on a frozen lake much less driving an ATV on it!
    Y'all are getting the weather that we had a few days ago, only we had clouds with a few sprinkles. We would have gladly taken showers and downpours but obviously the precipitation was being saved for you!!!
    Thank you for the wonderful photos!!

  6. I've only ever visited Maine in summer so seeing those is amazing - thanks for the great story and photos. I wonder if I'd enjoy this?

    1. I love winter right up until the middle of March...but am very ready for spring now!