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Ice fishing in Ontario - important to know
None of our European friends came so far in winter to Ontario just for making vacations. They went to British Columbia for skiing but never to our province.
I am not a skier but I agree that Ontario is not exactly a highlight for an experienced downhill skier. But it would be great for people like me who just may start skiing or for children. I also thinks that we do not have the hazards caused by avalanches.
For all other kinds of winter sport Ontario offers certainly great places. In addition snowmobiling is very popular. In certain European countries it is not allowed for the public because of environmental reasons.
Another great attraction is ice fishing. It is fun and not dangerous if you are careful and do it with professional guidance as a beginner.
A responsible operator who offers ice fishing will make sure that the ice is not too thin and will only allow suitable vehicles for transportation on the ice. Unfortunately there are always some individuals who are careless and take risks. If they are lucky they only take a cold bath, but others could not be rescued.
For that reason we advise all beginners not to go on a frozen lake or river, cut a hole in the ice and start fishing. You also must make sure that you have a fishing license and are familiar with the applicable regulations. You can not catch as many fish as you want and there are also restrictions with the size of the fish which you can keep.
We are such beginners and after we listened to stories from friends about the fun they had, we decided to give ice fishing a try at the cottage resort of our friends at Lake Nipissing.
Susanne and André who operate the resort gave as detailed instructions. They provided all required equipment and the fishing license.
Very much is done to keep the lakes in Canada attractive for anglers and the water clean. Government and many organizations with volunteers are working together on this task.
Please support them by respecting and following the applicable regulations.
Susanne and André are good hosts
Before we stated with our first ice fishing adventure we asked Susanne and André for detailed advise. We did not want to forget to take essential things with us because we did not have a cell phone and to walk back from the ice fishing hut to the camp was not part of our program and certainly also not fun.
We learned that close to the ice fishing huts a transportable toilet existed and that we had to take toilet paper with us, because that was not provided.
All required equipment to catch the fish including baits would be provided in the hut, same as a table seat benches, an oven and a tin for water to keep the air humid.
Additional warm cloths were recommended if we want to stay for a longer time outside.
We packed our personal things such as beverages, some food, books, cameras, plastic bags for the garbage and the fish which we hoped to catch, plus a sharp knife.
Ice fishing is offered normally by hotels and resorts.
We knew before we came that our friends André and Susanne from the "Rockview Camp" in Callander will take good care of us and help us with all necessary advise.
We stayed in a very clean well equipped cottage with a cozy gas fire place.
André checked the thickness of the ice before he took us out to the ice fishing hut. He told us that he will not use the heavy antique Bombardier vehicle for transportation because of two accidents which just have happened.
Not only the thickness of the ice must be considered but also temperature changes which can cause the ice to crack
For that reason we travelled in the cart shown in the right picture drawn by a powerful ATV. It was a pretty long and somehow bumpy ride. I did not expect potholes in frozen Lake Nipissing.
Naturally we would have preferred to get a ride in the antique Bombardier Muskeag. But that was too dangerous because we did not want to take the risk of drowning.
We had arrived a little bit early in the ice fishing season and the ice was not thick enough.
This Bombardier was built in the fifties and is still used by several operators despite the fact that all required spare parts are difficult to get.
Hopefully, we can see this monster sometime in action.
As soon as we had arrived at our fishing hut André ignited the gas fired oven which immediately heated it up.
Normally the ice fishing operator brings you to the fishing hut and picks you up at a defined time to return you to the hotel, camp or lodge. André told us that he will look in addition after us at lunch time.
Please do not forget to make the proper arrangements.
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