Ice Season is Thawing

By Jeff Morrison, Blogger for The Ottawa Sun

With less than one week remaining before ice hut removal in much of our region, local ice anglers are busy preparing for the annual winter fishing wrap-up.

As the winter angling season winds down, most of our region's ice-fishermen are left feeling as though it has only just begun.

The March 15th ice hut removal day traditionally arrives too early for hut operators and anglers alike, and this winter is no exception.

Jeff Morrison

Not too many weeks ago we discussed how ice-fishing huts were popping up on lakes and rivers across the region, and now the deadline for their removal is Wednesday for Kemptville district and March 31 for Lake Nippissing and waters to the north in the Pembroke district.

Fanatics not done

It should be noted that ice-fishing does continue, nevertheless, undaunted for many of the die-hard winter anglers.

Even after next Wednesday when the huts have all but disappeared, it does not mean winter fishing has ended for everyone everywhere.

Jim at the Calabogie Lake, for example, reminds the public that huts are still quite active on his lake until the end of March, and fishing will continue for several weeks more, ice permitting.

In some more extreme cases, not even a Lake Simcoe-sized pressure crack would keep the truly fanatical winter anglers off the ice. Who needs an ice hut to winter fish, they might say!

Always remember, however, that when it comes to late winter ice fishing, discretion is a better part of valour, so please use caution when travelling on unstable late-season ice.

Jeopardizing your life is certainly not worth a few measly fish.

Sportsmen Show in Review: By all accounts, this year's Sportsmen Show brought mixed reviews at best. According to avid sportsman Doug Phillips, the show was a good one if you were in the market for a new boat or dock for the cottage, but offered little for hunters or fishermen. He did like the fishing equipment sales, but found scant few hunting and fishing outfitters on-site. Mike Atwell of Kemptville was also in attendance - his first time in five years - and he also found that large cruising vessels, although nice to look at, were way out of his and most others price range. Atwell did catch a glimpse of Rex Harrison, and found his show to be quite comical. Atwell noticed that most vendors did carry the new product lines, which he enjoyed. In my own personal opinion, the Sportsman Show was decent. Rocky and Big Jim were there- that was cool - and I enjoyed chatting with the different clubs and exhibitors. I was, however, hoping to gather information from various ATV manufacturers, but found very few four-wheelers or ATV reps around this year.

Petrie Island Boat Launch!: Yves Grandmaitre is pleased to report that, following two long years of navigating government red-tape, the east-end fishing mecca of Petrie Island has finally been granted the permit to construct a much-needed new boat ramp. Grandmaitre is excited about the final go-ahead for his new 10 meter-wide concrete ramp, which will replace the old rock boat launch he has presently. With the growing interest in the river's east end, and the exorbitant boat launch fees in Rockland, the new Petrie boat launch is fabulous news for anglers and boaters alike. Construction of the new boat launch gets under way this week.

Hugo's Cousin Riverside Rick: From the fellow who this winter discovered a "crazy critter" known as Hunt Club Hugo, this week while driving along Riverside Dr., Brian Harrington caught a glimpse of what could only be Hugo's 132nd cousin, 15 times removed. This early bird ground-hog was sunning itself in a field just south of Hunt Club. Harrington feels that Riverside Rick's appearance means that warm weather is not far off.