We’re all familiar with the image of the ice angler at the peak of their sport: he or she is a man or woman cut from iron and forged with Mjolnir in the pit of Hell until Adonis himself would weep at the perfection of human form necessitated by a sport that demands long, grueling, arduous hours spent…staring into a hole in the ice, often while seated inside of a small, heated house.

Okay, so maybe ice fishing isn’t the most physically demanding sport. However, in the wake of Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, and Lance Armstrong, the United States Anti-Doping Agency isn’t taking any chances.

At this year’s World Ice Fishing Championship, in the privacy of the Plaza Hotel, Chicago, several winners were subjected to a surprise urine tests for steroids and growth hormones.

A logical person might ask: Can performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs) really help the ice fishermen propel himself to the stratosphere of professional jigging?

Probably not. Increased levels of testosterone have been linked to improved reaction time, but that’s about the extent of influence one could expect from PEDs in the ice fishing world.

“We kind of joked about that,” said Joel McDearmon, chairman of the United States Freshwater Fishing Federation, to the New York Times. “It’s not the best athlete that usually wins the events. A lot of times it’s the experienced older guys.”

All things being equal there was one “drug” that McDearmon was sure that competitive ice fishermen were using.

“We did not test for beer, because everybody would fail.”

Image courtesy Elliott Brown on flickr, featured slider image copyright iStockPhoto.com/olada

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