Sunday, January 16, 2011
Kicksled my favorite way to go ice fishing
Our son, Josh, skis on a kicksled across Whitefish Lake, Ontario, on his way to an ice fishing spot.
For nearly 10 years now I have used this Nordic-invention to carry my ice fishing gear and to speed travel across the ice.
With about the same effort as walking you can propel yourself about 50% faster on the sled, say six mph. With slightly more effort you can double your speed to about eight mph. Give it everything you've got and you can reach 12-15 mph.
What you do is stand on one runner and push off with the other foot. As soon as your sled starts to slow down, you push again. When one leg gets tired, you stand on the other runner and push with the other leg.
The whole contraption is very light, something like eight pounds. The sled has a seat that can be used for carrying a kid or gear like an ice-fishing pail. I lay my auger --I have a new six-inch Nils hand auger -- from the handlebars down to the front of the sled and keep it in place with a bungee cord.
Kicksleds have metal runners, something like ice skates, that are about seven feet long. These work incredibly well on bare ice. But if there is snow, which is the usual case, you must fasten plastic skis under the runners. These are made for this purpose and just snap in place. I put my skis on 10 years ago and have never taken them off.
Kicksleds on skis do, however, require a packed surface to slide easily. Early in the winter the wind usually clears most of the snow from the ice but later on there is always eight inches or more. In these conditions I just follow a snowmobile track.
Other than whoever is accompanying me on my spare kicksled, I've never seen anyone else use a kicksled for ice fishing. That's a pity because it's a great way to travel and good exercise too.
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