A skiff of snow blows around my boots as I step from the crisp winter air into the warm hut atop the frozen lake. Ice fishing in Alberta is normally an outdoor affair, but it can be comfy when you fish inside a shelter. My wife and I have tried this winter sport before, but staying overnight in a fully outfitted hut will be a new experience. Bragging rights, for sure!
Almost everyone else here at Gull Lake, just west of the city of Lacombe, had cleared out by 5 p.m. It’s already dark and now is the time when hungry fish that shimmer beneath the thick ice are most likely to bite.
The lake, midway between Edmonton and Calgary, is best known for tasty northern pike that can grow up to 9 kg (19 lb). Adventure Ice Fishing provides the overnight huts along with all the necessary gear. All we had to do was show up and start fishing.
Fishing Trip is a Winter Getaway
The wooden shelters come with four bunk beds per unit, propane furnaces, propane stove and light, kitchen counters and an outhouse. So on this grand adventure, we’re all set to catch the big one. We want a big fish story.
Just as the hut has been preheated for our arrival, the fishing hole has been pre-drilled. Typically, all we have to do is keep an eye on it. But the outfitter has kicked it up a notch by providing a handy monitor that allows us to view the waters via an underwater camera. For fishermen, it’s better than TV.
Rods, gear, bait, ice scoop, tip-ups, barbeque, dishes, utensils, pots and pans, table and chairs – everything was here when we stepped inside. Now we’re lounging in t-shirts and playing cards, getting up occasionally to check on the meal we’re soon to catch and cook.
Daytime or Nighttime?
Adventure Ice Fishing rents daytime huts as well. They’re heated with wood stoves and accommodate up to six people. For the full experience, though, overnight is the way to go. We took a break around midnight to throw on our boots and jackets and step out onto the lake. I’ll never forget the glow cast by the moon, bright as day, across the ice and snow. Magical.
We caught our big fish in the early morning, after a night snuggled under cozy blankets. I can tell you that it was monstrous but you might not believe me. Honestly, when we returned home to share our story with friends, it might have grown in the telling. The only way you’ll know for sure about the big fish in Gull Lake is if you come out here during winter, stay overnight and find out for yourself.