Book Review — A Hard-Water World

To the uninitiated, ice fishing seems improbable, wacky, and dangerous. But every winter, more than 2 million hardy northerners go to their place on the lake: literally on the lake. This book — A Hard-Water World: Ice Fishing and Why We Do It — looks at the “beauty, wonder, and insanity of ice fishing” through the lens of photographer Layne Kennedy and the words of author Greg Breining.

The writer and photographer traveled to frozen locales as far flung as Minnesota’s Boundary Waters and the Volga River near Moscow to profile icefishermen and -women in their frozen shanties with holes in the floor. The 136-page color book reveals the oddball world they found, from ephemeral ice cities and dark-house spearfishing shacks to bizarrely humorous northern winter festivals like the International Eelpout Festival on Leech Lake in Minnesota, which honors a slimy, potbellied, finny critter from the deep.

A Hard-Water World: Ice Fishing and Why We Do It
MINNESOTA HISTORICAL SOCIETY PRESS, $24.95 (cover price) or $16.47 at Amazon:

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Stephen Regenold is Founder and Editor-In-Chief of GearJunkie, which he launched as a nationally-syndicated newspaper column in 2002. As a journalist and writer, Regenold has covered the outdoors industry for nearly two decades, including as a correspondent for the New York Times. A father of four small kids, Regenold and his wife live in Minneapolis.