The author's father gives his artistic approval to the family's ice shack. Circa 2000.
If Vincent Van Gogh Were an Ice Fisherman
By Bob St.Pierre
There is artistry present across hunting and fishing. Countless painters, sculptors, carvers, and sewers capture the beauty of the outdoors in a variety of mediums. Attend any Pheasants Forever banquet this spring
and you'll quickly realize how much habitat America's artists have been directly responsible for creating. Terry Redlin may be this generation's Ding Darling. Speaking of Ding, his Duck Stamp idea is all about art and largely responsible for the ducks we have left. Art is everywhere in the outdoors, even in Minnesota's 2008 Outdoors Amendment.
However, there is one medium where the art perfectly merges with the action - ice fishing.
Granted, there are some beautiful shotguns out there. Fly fishing and the tying of flies are also pretty darn artistic. Decoys and duck calls are a strong example of art merged with the activity as well. But for me, the artistry of each ice house, shack, and shanty best captures the unique individualism merging art and activity.
The art of ice shacks blend function with humor, realism, and spiritualism. Ice fishermen even look like artists. Clad in overalls and covered in whiskers, I even know an ice fisherman that severed his ear Van Gogh-style after losing a lunker walleye at the edge of the hole . . . okay, so that was a lie, but it wouldn't surprise me.