Obviously, fish can be caught in winter or ice fishing would merely be an excuse to drink beer. Or maybe it is.
I grew up in Vermont. We used to go ice fishing a lot when I was back in high school.
You'd get all bundled up, like the little brother in "A Christmas Story" inside snow suits with snowmobile boots and heavy gloves then trudge out on the ice, drill a hole and drop some bait on the end of a hook.

After the group filled a 5 gallon bucket or two with perch, you'd head back in to clean and cook the fish.
Winter perch is MUCH better than summer perch - less wormy..

And then all of us would sit around the table, drink beer (even the 17 year olds were allowed one or two) and play poker for change.

Some of the best times I've had, but it disproves the excuse to drink beer theory you have.
The thawing out process AFTER fishing is what required the alcohol to re-animate living flesh.

Of course there were always the ice shanty's that were nice and warm that you fished down a 2x3 foot hole, much akin to fishing an aquarium. In that case, they have no excuse (being nice and warm inside).. So perhaps you have a point afterall