To the uninitiated, ice fishing seems improbable, wacky, and dangerous. But every winter, more than 2 million hardy northerners go to their place on the lake: literally on the lake.
Striking storytelling photographs by Layne Kennedy and engaging essays by outdoor writer and fisherman Greg Breining capture the quirky world of ice fishing-its natural beauty and solitary subzero vigils, along with its oddball practices and practitioners.
Kennedy and Breining take readers to fun-filled if bizarre festivals that include "Guys on Ice" in Door County, Wisconsin, and the supremely self-mocking International Eelpout Festival on Minnesota's Leech Lake, which honors a slimy, potbellied, finny critter. Photos offer peeks inside ice houses that range from a plastic-bag cocoon to an impossibly luxurious Adirondacks ice residence with front porch and wet bar. Travel to a frozen lake in the Boundary Waters, to ice cities that form and disband overnight, and to the Volga River near Moscow, shadowed by the KGB.
Most importantly, A Hard-Water World allows the reader to enjoy the beauty, wonder, and, yes, insanity of ice fishing in the comfort of home.
Layne Kennedy's photographs have been published in National Geographic Traveler, Sports Illustrated, Life, Newsweek, Smithsonian, and other magazines. Greg Breining writes frequently about the outdoors for national magazines and newspapers.