Things to do

Ice Fishing

With small jerks on the hand winch, the local fisherman hauls one halibut after the other from the cold depths of the sea. The grey pale fish look ferocious with their sharp teeth. Incredible to experience another way to fish.

Fishing is usually a summer activity, especially when you are a tourist. However, in areas where the fjords freeze over in the winter, many towns also provide ice fishing trips. This is where, mostly via dog sledge, you can travel out to some good fishing holes to catch the main ingredients for your dinner.

Long line of 150 metres

The fisherman carves a hole through the tough ice surface. By the edge of the hole he places a basic hand winch and draws the long line with fresh bait on the hooks down into the fjord, which is 400 metres deep. As a tourist, you typically take part for either a whole or half a day, which also leaves you plenty of time to enjoy the surroundings. You ideally need a good packed lunch and strong, hot coffee with you, as the temperature can easily sneak below the minus 20 degree mark. After a while, the fisherman slowly heaves the long line up, metre by metre. Many of the hooks are empty, but they are quickly replenished with new bait. Several hours and days pass in this way, and all this effort will hopefully result in a weighty sledge load for the fisherman on his journey home.

Ice fishing over several days in East Greenland

If you are hooked on the idea of spending several days fishing on the ice, then you should travel to East Greenland. Here ice fishing starts in mid December, but the best time is from March and April. You can choose between one, two or even up to seven day trips on the fjord to the east of the Ammassalik Island. The area near the deserted Qernertivartivit settlement is a good place to fish for halibut, redfish, Atlantic wolfish and shark, which still attract many local fishermen year after year.

Away on a sleigh

From Tasiilaq you can travel across the frozen ground by dog sledge. After a four hour journey, you cross a mountain pass. The trip continues two kilometres and then straight up to the mountain pass, which is 400 metres high. Participants work their way slowly upwards. At the summit, before the descent across the glacier, is a spectacular view of the fishing area and out towards the Kulusuk islands. Overnight accommodation is a tent, and apart from the wholesome, nourishing meals and captivating small talk, the programme is first and foremost about ice fishing from morning till night.

On the fjord ice in Kangerlussuaq

The ice is safe during nearly all winter months on the large Kangerlussuaq Fjord, and the fishing season runs from January to April. The trip starts from the airport and leaves for the harbour, then continues out to the thick ice. This is where participants will carve a hole so that fishing can begin. Will the fish take the bait? The chances are excellent because the area is heaving with fish.

Former place of work

Many years ago, this frozen fjord was the daily work place for many of the local fishermen in Ilulissat in Disko Bay. Fewer people fish there now as the harbour is often ice free in the winter. Once the fjord has frozen, good fishing holes still attract local fishermen, allowing tourists to still experience traditional winter fishing.  The same applies to Uummannaq and Upernavik further north.

Fishing license

Download fishing license payment slip here. Please bring the receipt on your fishing trip so that you can display it to the local authorities if requested.

Facts about
Ice Fishing

Originally lures were carved from soapstone and whalebone, and fishing lines were made from the baleen plates of bowhead whales. Today the lines are made of nylon.

 

Practical info about Ice Fishing

Adventure level
Easy:
No physical requirements. No previous experience needed.
Moderate:
Little or no requirements on physical condition or previous experience.
Demanding:
Some requirements on physical condition. Previous experience may be needed for some activities.
Strenuous:
Highly demanding activities, requiring good physical condition and endurance. May involve extremely low temperature, rough terrain, etc. Previous experience needed.
Please note that some activities can be found on several adventure levels, and offerings may vary by location.
 
 
 
 
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What time of the year?
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