Is Ice Fishing An Olympic Sport? The Debate Explained

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Fishing is becoming increasingly popular. More and more people from all over the world join our thriving community each year. So, with an ever-expanding fan base, it is only logical to ask, is ice fishing an Olympic sport? Sadly, it is not. Some people even go so far as not considering fishing a sport at all. 

The next logical question is to wonder why ice fishing is not an Olympic sport or why people do not consider fishing a sport. That’s why we are going to dedicate today’s piece to talk about ice fishing and whether or not it should be considered a sport. 

A Little About Olympic Sports

We can not discuss why ice fishing is not considered an Olympic sport without sharing some relevant information about the Olympics. Initially, there were only nine disciplines in the Olympics. Over the years, the number has increased to 26 and 16 for the winter Olympics. 

The International Olympic Committee is the organization that regulates these events. They have established some ground rules for the addition or removal of sports in each edition. Needless to say, different criteria apply to the winter and summer Olympics. 

What Does It Take To Be Considered An Olympic Sport?

As we said before, the rules are different for winter and summer editions. For example, 25 different countries across three continents most widely practice the sport to even be considered for the next winter Olympics. Naturally, this is no guarantee as other things come into play.

In contrast, in the summer Olympics, these numbers rise to 75 and 4, respectively. So, if we do the math, regular fishing has more chances of becoming an Olympic sport than ice fishing simply because it is more popular. 

Another important step is the existence of a Federation in each country where fishing is being practiced. This means administrative expenses, rules, codes, and documentation.   

Is Ice Fishing a Sport?

To be considered an Olympic sport, ice fishing has first to be considered a regular sport. Sadly, the fishing community is not enough. It has to be considered a sport by a wide range of people.

Unfortunately, we have to face a harsh truth here. Many non-anglers think that fishing is boring. Others consider fishing as a harmful activity because you are harming fish to some degree. Even if you are delicate with them. 

These two arguments, when combined, make a strong case against fishing. You have to consider that we are talking about regular fishing here. It is even worse if we consider ice fishing since fewer anglers engage in this activity. Besides, ice fishing is slower in terms of bites. Plus, fights are not as exhilarating. 

As a result, ice fishing has a long way to sort before being considered an Olympic sport. Even though several fishing tournaments are being held today. Sadly, if we compare it to other sports, these events take place almost without notice.

Why Is Ice Fishing Not an Olympic Sport?

Another important argument against ice fishing is how unequal it is. For example, fish only live in certain areas of the world that some people might not have access to. It is not as easy as having a football pitch, which only requires some land and a ball. 

As a result, they won’t be able to have equal preparation. For god sake, even in the same lake, you have sections that are more productive than others. Consequently, it is almost impossible to establish a neutral ground to judge. 

In addition, to be fair to all competitors, all anglers should roughly use the same gear. As a result, the IOC should perform extensive research on which rods, reels, lines, and lures should be used to ensure fair competition. Consequently, even if ice fishing’s popularity rises through the roof, it will take years for it to be considered an Olympic sport. 

Lastly, there is the economic factor. Hosting such an event requires some serious coin. More often than not the host profits from the event because of tourism and TV rights. Both of these depend on how popular the sport is. Therefore, adding a sport that is not popular enough could not be attractive from an economic point of view. Ideally, each sport should pay for itself. 

Lastly, ice fishing requires a frozen lake or reserve, which might be located far away from where the other disciplines are being held, making it logistically impossible. As you can see, there is much more to consider than popularity alone. 

I’m not saying that fishing won’t ever become an Olympic sport. But it will take a lot of time, money, and strings to make it possible. 


Sadly neither ice fishing nor regular fishing is an Olympic sport. Although they are popular, there is still a long way to cover until we can see people casting their rods in the maximum sports event. 

There are several reasons why ice fishing is not in the Olympics. The first one is popularity. There are not enough countries where it is regularly practiced. Additionally, the lack of Federations makes regulating the sport impossible. 

Lastly, there is the economic aspect. Hosting an ice fishing event might cost too much and yield little to no revenue. As a result, it won’t be as attractive as other winter sports. Besides, we have to consider the scenario where not even the host country practices the sport. 

In the end, these factors combined are what makes it impossible for ice fishing to be in the winter Olympics, at least for now. 

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