Darkhouse Spearing with Modern Carnivore

Darkhouse Spearing

Author Matt, darkhouse Spearing.

Last year, I was invited on my first ever darkhouse spearing adventure, or as we like to call it, hardwater hunting.  I grew up fishing throughout Minnesota.  Thanks to the guidance of many friends and family members, I have been able to fish on various lakes and rivers in this great state.  But, spearing was brand new to me.  After the invite was extended, I had some research to do.  I watched videos and read articles about the tactics used to have success in this interesting activity.  However, as many of you know, sometimes you just have to get out and do it to really learn.

The Hard Part

Let’s start out with the obvious, the water on the lake is hard.  I mean this both in a joking way and in a very serious way.  One of the first steps of spearing is to cut a large hole out of the ice.  This is done with a large ice saw.  In late February, this can be a strenuous task as the ice can be over 14 inches thick.  So, cutting and hauling these large blocks of ice out of the hole can be extremely challenging.  It is not all bad though.  On a cold day this can really help to keep you warm.  Once you get these blocks out, the rest isn’t all that bad.

Darkhouse Spearing

Digging the last ice out of our darkhouse spearing hole.

The Easy Part

Unless you love to work up a sweat and really flex your muscles, the next part is far more enjoyable than the first.  This is my favorite part.  During this “phase” of darkhouse spearing you get to sit and watch.  Once you get the darkhouse set up around your hole and put your spearing decoy in the water, the magic begins.  I have heard many people compare this portion to having a personal aquarium or like watching a large television.  With all of the light blocked out by the darkhouse around you, the light radiates through the hole you have cut in the ice.  It illuminates the water below, revealing an amazing world under the ice.  You watch silently as schools of sunnies or, in my case, monster bass swim past.  Unfortunately, while spearing, these species are illegal to spear.  Yet, watching them go about the natural routine can be just as enjoyable.  

The Enjoyable Part

Yes, spearing can be cold.  Yes, spearing can be hard work.  But, if you can make it past those two things then the positives far outweigh the negatives.  First off, you get the opportunity to spend your day outdoors with friends and family, not much can top that.  Secondly, you get the opportunity to see nature in a way rarely observed otherwise.  The fish that swim beneath your ice house do not even recognize that you are there.  As you watch them go about their business, everything is so natural.  Lastly, I would compare the conversations had around the open ice, to that of a late night campfire.  The calm atmosphere lends itself to quiet and in depth conversation.  I think this was my favorite part of the whole experience.   On our adventure we did not even see a Northern Pike, which was the only legal spearing fish on this lake.  Yet, I came away from the experience satisfied with what we had done and the memories we had made.  If you ever get the chance to go darkhouse spearing, do not hesitate, and go.  You will not regret it.

Darkhouse Spearing

The view through the darkhouse spearing hole.

More of the Aspiring Outdoorsman Series!

My First White-tailed Deer

More from Modern Carnivore’s Hardwater Hunters Series

Scott Mackenthun on All Things Northern Pike

Darkhouse Spearing with Janis and Mark

The Ice Is Calling


Posted by Matt Williams