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),