Wild Northerner Magazine 2015/16 Winter Issue - Page 65

In fact, as children, they enjoyed ice fishing way more than open water. A good part of the reason is that fishing didn’t have to take all of their attention. Tip ups take all the guesswork out of getting a bite, meaning they didn’t have to have a fishing rod in their hands at all times. All that is required is taking a look at your setup every few minutes. If the flag on the tip up has been tripped, or your gad starts twitching and bouncing, you have a fish on. If not, continue with whatever activity you have on the go at the time.

Bring along some favourite toys that will hold their interest, and get down in the snow and have some fun with them. Build a snowman or snow fort, make some snow angels.

Part of the game can be getting them to take a look at the tip ups once in a while. There are few things more fun than an excited race to a triggered flag. As soon as one fish hits the ice, the young ones will keep a closer eye on the tip ups than you will, guaranteed.

For those who wish to try some ice fishing but want a more comfortable day on the ice, there are several outfitters that offer ice hut rentals on nearby Lake Nipissing, as well as Lake Temagami, a little further to the northeast. Some can be rented by the day, others are pretty much cabins on the ice with bunk beds and heated washroom facilities for overnight stays. Many offer weekend packages perfect for anyone new to ice fishing as the outfitters drill holes for fishing and supply gear and bait. A quick Internet search will reveal several outfitters.

As with any outdoor activity, safety is the first consideration. No. 1, make sure you are on good, solid ice and stay away from current areas, especially river or creek inflows and outflows. Next, don’t bring young children or the family dog if the mercury dips too low as they are aren’t equipped to handle the cold like adults. Layer up in some comfy fleece and avoid wearing cotton, which absorbs and holds moisture and is a very poor insulator.

There are many ways to improve your chances of catching fish through the ice, and it can be just as gear-heavy and strategy driven as the open water season if bagging limits of fish is the goal. But if just getting outdoors and having a fun day is the goal, get a gang together and head out on the ice. You might even bring home some fresh fish for dinner. But even if you don’t, a day spent in the outdoors is never a waste.