Ice Fishing photo

By Joe Cermele

I learned some interesting things about doping this morning per this article in The New York Times. You, like me, might have assumed that only athletes who engage in strength-based or agility-based or stamina-based sports would dope. Not true. In 2011, two pro mini golfers and one chess player tested positive for banned substances, according to the World Doping Agency. I guess if put-put players and board gamers think there’s an advantage to juicing, why not ice fishermen? That’s why the U.S. doping agency tested members of the Russian Ice Fishing Team following their win at the World Ice Fishing Championship in Wisconsin.


As I understand it, this is all part of a bid to get ice fishing included in the Olympics, which may actually happen down the line, though it’s a long shot. Still, the thinking is that if you want to be treated like an Olympic athlete, you’ll have to be subjected to the same testing as skiers and hockey players. Given that we’re talking ice fishing, however, the testing was kind of taken with a grain of salt. After all, what are you going to do better doped up? Drill 300 more holes? Work a jig faster?

“We do not test for beer, because then everybody would fail,” said Joel McDearmon, chairman of the United States Freshwater Fishing Federation…

Bill Whiteside, a previous gold medal winner from Eau Claire, Wis., said that physical strength often had little to do with fishing success.

“It’s not the best athlete that usually wins the events,” he said. “A lot of times it’s the experienced older guys.”

The Doping Agency didn’t find anything afoul in the Russian team’s urine.