Word has spread quickly among anglers: since 2019, you can go ice fishing on frozen Lake Sils in winter. Your goal: pure relaxation in a magnificent natural setting – and with luck, you’ll catch a fine namaycush lake trout or two!
Ice fishing in the Engadin is a delightful experience: frozen Lake Sils offers the perfect spot for enjoying a few hours of total relaxation, surrounded by nature. Wrapped in windproof clothing, you walk out onto the ice, which is about 40 cm thick. Not too far, because the fish you hope to catch does not live in the middle of the lake, 80 m deep, but favours the lake bed near the shore. This is the lake trout, also known as the namaycush, introduced from Canada; local authorities have determined that its numbers need to be reduced. As the juveniles closely resemble young Arctic char, you call to mind the features that distinguish the two species – especially pigmentation of the mouth cavity.
Cross-country skiers and winter walkers also enjoy venturing on to the frozen lake, so you look for a quiet spot away from the prepared trails. You can choose with the help of this map, which shows the ice fishing zones (marked green) as well as the cross-country ski trails and winter walking trails (red) – from which you should keep a distance of at least 30 m.
When you find your perfect spot, you clear away the snow with a shovel – available for hire from the popular Murtaröl fish restaurant on the lakeshore at Plaun da Lej. You then drill a hole in the ice (max. diameter 20 cm) with a manual ice auger, also available for rental from Murtaröl: power augers are not permitted here.
Next you prepare your bait. Artificial bait, dead minnows and fish guts are ideal; maggots and worms, however, are not permitted. In your pocket, you have your fishing licence for the day, which you ordered in no time online , so you are all set to start!
Now it is just a question of waiting. You make yourself comfortable on the toboggan you used to pull your kit across the frozen lake. You have not bothered bringing a tent or wind break, as there is not the slightest hint of a breeze – but the sun is shining so brightly that you are happy you brought sun cream and sunglasses.
This is above all an unforgettable experience of nature, but of course an actual catch is a wonderful bonus! If you pull an adult non-namaycush out of the ice hole, you may of course keep it, but after three non-namaycushes you have reached your daily limit, so it’s time to set off back to the Murtaröl, where you declare your catch.
Before leaving, one final check – that you have not left any litter behind, you have covered any traces of blood and have left your fishing spot in immaculate condition. A gentle stroll with your equipment, toboggan and catch brings you back to the lakeshore.
An unforgettable winter experience!