Although not for everyone, ice fishing in Switzerland is a unique experience for the fishing enthusiast in the beautiful setting of an icy lake. It’s an outdoor winter adventure that gives you the chance to take home a prize—a tasty catch of fish like char, trout, pike, or walleye.
Here are some of the top places to go ice fishing in Switzerland, a list of essentials, and a few tips for a successful catch.
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Where to Go Ice Fishing in Switzerland
You’ll need a frozen lake to go ice fishing in Switzerland, and one will be easy to find in the winter. Here are five of the best.
Melchsee or Tannensee
Melchsee-Frutt is a holiday region of lakes surrounded by mountains in the heart of central Switzerland. The center for winter tourism is in the high valley sitting at an altitude of 2,000 meters where you’ll find a family-friendly traffic-free resort on the shores of an alpine lake.
Guides are available for ice fishing excursions on the frozen Tannensee or Melchsee lakes. Visitors get to drill their own fishing hole and try their luck at catching fish. The Tannensee is a favorite for fishermen and is stocked with char and six species of trout.
The Tannensee and its dam wall are located east of the Melchee in a valley close to the saddle of the Gental Valley. An access road leads along the northern shore from Melchsee-Frutt to Tannalp. Visitors can use the barbecue areas on the eastern shore of the lake and at the Tannendamm. Grates and dry wood are available.
Ice fishing on frozen Lake Sils in the Engadin is an enchanting experience. Dressed warmly in wind-proof clothing, a few hours surrounded by an icy world is delightful, and if all goes well, you may leave with a catch of a Canadian lake trout known as namaycush.
Local authorities say the number of namacush needs to be reduced. If you catch one, inspect it closely since the juvenile fish resembles an Arctic char.
Pack your fishing equipment, and bring a chair and a thermos filled with a hot beverage. If you don’t have your own drills, Restaurant Murtaröl has them for hire. Sit and enjoy the peaceful snow-covered world as you wait for the fish to bite.
Lake Sils is in the area of St. Moritz on the southern side of the Swiss Alps. The lake and the famous ski resort are in the heart of Switzerland’s winter tourism.
Bundle up and go ice fishing at one of the coldest places in Switzerland at Oeschinensee, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the Alp’s most beautiful lakes. The lake is situated above Kandersteg at an altitude of almost 1,600 meters.
It’s surrounded by towering mountains on three sides which explains why it’s such a chilly place and so popular as a Swiss winter destination.
Travelers and the natives enjoy ice fishing on the Oeschinensee from the beginning of January to the end of March. The ice layer stays at 30-50 cm thick. Most of the time the lake is easy to access. The ice fishing is suitable for groups.
To get there, take the RegioExpress from Bern to Kandersteg. You can reach the lake from the mountain station of the gondola lift on foot in around a half-hour.
Carì Lake is a tourist destination as well as a residential area the the sunny Leventina Valley south of the Alps at an altitude of 1,650 meters. In winter, Carì Lake transforms into a picturesque winter resort.
The Osteria Belvedere, a modern restaurant with a panoramic terrace welcomes guests at 2,300 meters above sea level. It’s close to the lake and is a good meeting point. There’s a large, free parking lot next to the chair lift.
Ice fish at Carì Lake on Wednesdays, Saturdays, and Sundays from 9:30 am to 3:00 pm. Eight guests at a time can fish. You must be at least age 14. You will be required to have a short-term permit issued by Nuova Carì. Fishing equipment and snowshoes are available for hire.
Carì Lake is easy to get to by car. It’s 140 km from Zurich and 150 km from Milan. You can also take the train to Faido and transfer by bus to Lake Carì.
Visitors flock to the Stockhorn every winter when Lake Hinterstocken freezes over. The frozen lake is an expanse of ice that becomes an attraction for adults and children alike in a snowy landscape. It’s the perfect place to try ice fishing for the first time, and those who don’t want to ice fish will find plenty of ice skating and other fun activities.
The Chrindi mid-station has all the equipment you need for hire. A summit restaurant with a panoramic platform serves hot food and beverages.
Map Guide to the Top Places for Ice Fishing in Switzerland
Essential Gear and Clothing for Ice Fishing
Most of Switzerland’s best ice fishing spots have equipment for hire. This is a general list of the equipment needed.
- A 5-gallon bucket with styrofoam insulation to store bait and tackle. It can double as a seat
- An adjustable ice auger to break through the ice
- A metal ice scoop to remove the slush that fills the hole
- A combination rod & reel
- A lightweight folding chair
- Drinking water
- A hot beverage in a thermos
As for clothing to wear while ice fishing, the top priority is a good pair of cold-weather boots. Special ice boots will keep your feet warm and dry for hours. Wearing a pair of wicking socks underneath heavy-duty wool socks.
The way to keep your body’s core warm is by layering. This way, if you become too warm you can remove or replace a layer easily and as needed. Wool or fleece shirts and sweaters are good for layering.
You’ll need a good winter jacket and long underwear or wool leggings to keep your legs warm.
Lastly, waterproof coveralls are a must.
Tips for Ice Fishing in Switzerland
- Be patient and focus on one location.
- Drill through the ice and clean out the hole.
- Dangle your line to lure the fish swimming below.
- Remember that fish are less active in winter.
- Try to determine the spot where a fish might settle at the right time.
- The more you drill and search, the more fish you will catch.
- Keep yourself warm and safe.