Ice Fishing: Culture, Community, and Conservation

February 16, Tuesday, 7 p.m.

View the recording of this event here. 

Ice fishing has a long, rich history in Vermont, having played an important role in both the livelihood of native peoples and the recreation of sport fishers. It is a sport that has greatly evolved over time, from outdoor fishing with simple hand-augered holes in the ice to fishing in heated shanties equipped with sonar fish finders and cell phone chargers. Technology isn’t the only thing that has changed ice fishing over the years. Climate change and warming temperatures mean fewer days on the ice each year and fewer fishing options. 

This online panel will look at the cultural, social, and environmental issues surrounding ice fishing, what it means to those who participate in it, and how it may continue to evolve and change in the future.  This event is presented in connection with Ice Shanties: Fishing, People & Culture, and Erik Hoffner: Ice Visions.


Clay Groves, “Fish Nerds” Podcaster and NH Fishing Guide

Clay Groves is obsessed with fish. He is best known for a 2011 quest to catch and eat every kind of freshwater fish in New Hampshire. After catching and eating 48 species of fish and completing the epic world-class fishing quest, he could not stop talking about his fishing adventures or the fishy people met along the way.

Thus the Fish Nerds podcast was born. The program’s style has been described as a cross between NPR’s Car Talk and The Tonight Show (Fallon, not Leno). Throw in just a sprinkle of that “smart guy” talk (think Neil deGrasse Tyson but with fish) and you’ve got the FN Formula. With over 200+ episodes under his belt, Groves has led the Podcast into top-10 Outdoor content on the Apple store on more than one occasion. 

Groves is also a licensed New Hampshire fishing guide and runs a robust ice fishing business all winter. He never tires of talking about ice fishing and the culture that surrounds it. 

Rich Holschuh, Vermont Commission on Native American Affairs

Rich Holschuh is a resident of Wantastegok (Brattleboro, Vermont) and an independent historic and cultural researcher. He has served on the Vermont Commission on Native American Affairs and is a public liaison and Tribal Historic Preservation Officer for the Elnu Abenaki, members of the contemporary Indigenous community. Holschuh is founder and director of the Atowi Project. His work draws upon indigenous history, linguistics, geography, and culture to share beneficial ways of seeing and being in relationship with place.  

Roy Gangloff, Multi-generational Ice Fisherman

Roy writes:

So I’m 60 years old and have been fishing as long as I can remember. Lucky for me, my dad and grandfather were fishermen, as were many of their friends and my extended family. It was a big part of our lives in the early days, as it provided many a meal and kept the freezer full. But even more importantly, it was quality time spent with my dad and his friends, where I not only learned how to fish but also how to be a guy. 

Some of my fondest memories are of my ice fishing adventures. We always had fun, good food, and lots of laughs and almost always caught fish. Those early days probably have made me who and what I am today.

Paige Blaker, Fish Production Supervisor, Vermont Fish and Wildlife 

Paige Blaker is the fish production supervisor for the Ed Weed Fish Culture Station in Grand Isle, Vermont, where she manages several species of trout as well as landlocked Atlantic salmon and walleye. She previously raised trout and salmon for the Wyoming Game & Fish Department and Chum, Pink, Coho, and King salmon for Prince William Sound Aquaculture in Alaska. She holds a bachelor’s degree in marine biology and ecology from Unity College.

As a college student, Blaker’s falls were filled with deer and waterfowl hunting, winters with ice fishing, and summers fishing up and down the rivers of Maine. She spent many days ice fishing for browns and splake in Maine and shifted her focus to cutthroats and walleye in Wyoming. This year, Blaker says she will be targeting Lake Champlain perch and pike—”maybe a little lake trout if the ice is thick enough.”