The Wimpification of Ice Fishing

01.30.13 1:56 PM ET

Screenshot From a Wall Street Journal Video

I weep for America if ice fishing, a redoubt of American toughness and vigor, is turning into a sport for softies:

A young woman started pulling on a fishing line that dipped through the floor of the bar and about two feet of ice into the dark, cold water below. Soon, she brought up a 24-inch walleye. "It was a gorgeous fish," he says.

It was just another night at Hillbillies Ice Hole, a bar about half a mile by ice road from shore. Many bars in the Upper Midwest cater to ice fishermen, but the Ice Hole is one of the few spots where patrons can go out for a drink and maybe a bite to eat—while continuing to fish.

The sport is huge in these parts, where fishing shacks—once the size of an outhouse, and about as comfortable—have morphed into comfy cabins that are towed onto frozen lakes and left there for a few months each year. Some come complete with generators, space heaters, bunk beds, kitchens and satellite TV.