Petrie Island: Angling for a great winter

By Jeff Morrison, Blogger for The Ottawa Sun

If the rapidlly immerging 'shanty town' in the Ottawa River's east-end is any indication, this winter should prove to be a busy one indeed for ice-anglers.

With more than 70 ice huts already setup and running strong, and ice conditions improving, local bait shop owner and hut operator Yves Grandmaitre has high hopes for another great ice-fishing season at Petrie Island.

Jeff Morrison

"The ice in the bay starts at about 12 inches and goes down to about six inches at the mouth," said Grandmaitre.

And if a solid ice isn't enough to whet your appetite for winter angling, Grandmaitre says the fish bite has also been quite solid. "So far we've seen the fellows bring in a bit of everything; with several walleye in the 4-6 pound range, and even had one 10-pounder."

The general consensus is that since sand dredging ceased in the area and Petrie Island was developed into Ottawa's hub of outdoor recreation, the fishing has never been better.

WEEKLY DERBIES ON TAP: As with last season, Grandmaitre still offers a comprehensive selection of fishing supplies and ice huts for rent. New for this winter is the ultimate ice fishing house, as well as a weekly fishing derby. A floating house-boat has been transformed into a luxury ice-villa and is now available for rent. This ice-palace boasts three bedrooms, two bathrooms, a kitchen, living room, and can accommodate up to seven. There will also be a weekly ice-fishing derby with a cash prize awarded to the person who hauls in the biggest walleye or pike during that week. There will not be a sign-up fee but each winner is asked to post a photo of their catch on Petrie Island's new website. Look for a posting on the white board at the front of the shop for the weekly standings. For more information, please call John at: (613) 841-0778.

WEST CARLETON SPORTSMEN: The West Carleton Sportsman Association is holding their annual general meeting and election of new officers at the Kinburn Community Centre next Thursday, Jan. 19 at 6 p.m. Cocktails and snacks will be available with presentations to follow. Representatives from the MNR and OFAH will be in attendance to discuss issues of concern for local anglers and hunters. Trophies will be awarded for largest buck and doe, largest rack, oldest and youngest successful hunter, as well as random weights. There will also be door prizes for those in attendance. For more information, please contact West Carleton Sportsman Association President Keith Milton at: (613) 832-0804.

FREE TIPS FROM THE BIG GUY: Word from the Young Bison Compound is that Big Jim McLaughlin has agreed to share snippets of his angling knowledge on a regular basis with Sun readers. Watch for ice-fishing tips and tricks as only the big guy can provide. Benefit from McLaughlin's years of experience and angling knowledge, and learn how to stack more fish on the ice this winter. With the cranial capacity of a young bison, Big Jim has more than a few ice-fishing pointers squirreled away in that plus-size head of his. As a multiple award-winning angler and member of the renowned Ice Team, Big Jim's advice may just change your life, I know it changed mine. Until then, pick up a copy of Just Fishing -- Ontario's largest free all-fishing publication. You'll find them at most bait-shops between the blood worms and leaches.

TRIVIA CONTEST WINNER!: Congratulations to Dan Boytel of Richmond, the winner of the Great Outdoors Trivia Contest. In fairness to all who participated, Dan was given the opportunity, as everyone was, to fix one wrong answer. Not one participant, in fact, got all five questions correct, right off the bat. Question No. 3, about what fish family the Pickerel was a member of, was the thorn in most people's side. This is Dan's second trivia contest win and he will receive a Sportsman grab bag courtesy of Brecks and Tinks. By the way, the correct answer was the Pike family.