Family Fishing Weekend on Rice Lake
by Festival Nomad Correspondent, Kevin Stuart
It seems we’re all used to having an extra (many say much needed) holiday in February, especially now there are so many activities for families to participate in for Family Day.
Our family decided to take part in Family Fishing Weekend on Rice Lake to give our son his first experience at one of this country’s most popular outdoor pastimes. Gore’s Landing and Bewdley on Rice Lake, about halfway between Port Hope and Peterborough, were among the many spots for families to try ice fishing this year at no charge. As one of the shallower lakes, Rice Lake is among the first to freeze over, thereby giving "ice fishers" ample opportunities to catch the many perch, pickerel, muskies and other species that inhabit its waters. We trekked out from the Bewdley pier to a point where the ice surface was two feet thick over water that reached a depth of around six feet. The glare in the open areas made viewing into the waters difficult, so we retreated to one of the huts that had been generously provided. Inside one can become quite comfortable being isolated from the wind, plus enjoy a clear view to the lake bottom. Because I’ve gone this far without mentioning any catches you may have already guessed that the fish weren’t biting for us! Much of it may have been due to the time of day... mid afternoon. We learned from Event Volunteers, Mike and Teresa, that prime feeding time for most species is before noon but a few of the seasoned anglers were happy to let us handle their catches for a photo op. Speaking of photos, on one hole they had dropped a special camera resembling a fish to give a real close up of any activity in the immediate area. Because the fish do not move as swiftly this time of year they tend to stay more in one area. This means that while one hole may be void of activity, another just a few feet away may be teeming with sought-after underwater life. The Fish TV setup can be most helpful in determining the current “sweet spot“.
We noticed just how many folk drive their vehicles out more than a kilometre from shore. For those leery of taking a winter water walk, we were also told that two-foot thick ice can actually support the weight of a tank, although no one here has tested that to my knowledge. We even witnessed a group of cyclists, with specially-outfitted tires, making their rounds on the lake surface.
The serious anglers make these locales their home away from home during ice fishing season. They have stoves, cots, and other pleasures to spend endless hours and days waiting for the “big one” to come along.
According to Teresa, who works with Northumberland Economic and Tourism, attendance was extremely good with many families looking to try something a little different and potentially very rewarding. Special mention should also be given to BJ Tackle, Let Fish Guiding and Rice Lake Hut Rentals who contributed much of the equipment for this year’s Family Fishing Weekend on Rice Lake. Also, a big word of thanks to those who did their level best to exemplify what’s likely the most important ingredient to success in fishing…patience. At the same time, there is a lot to be said for just sitting in the calm surroundings and literally putting your everyday cares on ice for a while.