Prairie Post

Photo essay: Commercial ice fishing on Lake Winnipeg

It’s the kind of work that weathers the skin. Intrepid. It’s the kind of work that cripples egos and builds character. Poetic and simple; hard days of demanding work out in the cold on Lake Winnipeg concluded by the unsettling beauty of a rural Manitoba sunset.

Winnipeg photographer, writer Jonah O’Neil  took his camera and spent some time last winter with David and Wendy Olson and their commercial fishing crew.

Photo: Jonah O’Neil

“Down the driveway we rumbled, across the highway, the bombadier’s skis scrapping on the pavement – and my teeth rattling in my head – then a nearly vertical descent into a deep ditch, and directly into a frozen marsh,” O’Neil said. “Winding through the marsh, we entered a treed area, then emerged out onto the wide-open expanse of Lake Winnipeg. After thundering along for about half an hour in the pre-dawn half-light, I witnessed something that not even those living in our relatively northern climate appreciate often enough …”

Sunrise over Lake Winnipeg. Photo: Jonah O’Neil

Click here to view O’Neil’s entire gallery. It’s worth a look.