Nothing is more enjoyable than watching the excitement on a child’s face when experiencing something new for the first time. Family Day in Northeastern Ontario provides many outdoor opportunities to families all across the region. Most activities are free or at a discounted rate to get everyone active and enjoying the many outdoor activities the winter has to offer, including downhill and nordic skiing, snowshoeing, OFSC Trails, and Free Fishing!
The Ontario Government has lifted the requirements for a fishing licence to all local residents from February 13-15, 2016. This offers many opportunities for families and those interested in the sport to give it a shot. The family day long weekend is a great time to test out the waters as ice conditions are usually safe, access is not an issue and many people can be found in the outdoors on this weekend.
For those of you who have not been ice fishing before, a starter kit is very affordable and simple to set up. Some items required are a manual hand auger, ice scoop, spool of line, BB sized split shot, #6 treble hooks, a bag of lively minnows and a couple of branches roughly 2-3’ in length. The set-up is fairly simple: drill a couple holes in a location you feel confident; make a pile of snow beside your hole; stick your branch into the snow so it is positioned above the hole.
Next, tie a treble hook onto the tag end of your spool and place a split shot 12-18” up your line. Now, hook a lively minnow along the dorsal fin and drop it down your hole until it hits bottom, pull your line up the same distance you set your split shot 12-18” and fix your line to the branch. This can be done using an elastic or electrical tape, see photos for a basic setup. Now sit back, relax and wait for your stick to bounce! Remember to keep your hole free of ice using your scoop so you detect even the lightest-biting fish!
Different options can be used to catch the big one; an ice fishing rod and reel combo can be used with a wide variety of baits including spoons and standard jigs baited with minnows, worms, leeches or even scented plastic baits. Jigging these baits will help draw fish into your area and likely cause the fish to bite either your bait or one of the surrounding still lines described above. Commercially available and homemade tip-ups are another great alternative; they provide some extra benefits to the simple technique mentioned above and are just as simple to use.
Many opportunities can be had across the region for an all-inclusive family day ice fishing experience catered to spending time with your family!
February 13, 2016 - 8:00 am to 12:00 pm
The 8th Annual Ice Fishing Derby is being held this year out of Bayside Resort on Manitowaning Bay, Manitoulin Island. This event is $85.00 per hole, with prizes for the top ten largest fish caught and an extra tagged fish category. The event is for all ages along with a "Fuel the Fire Youth Division," where the biggest fish caught by youth 12 and under will receive $150.00 and still be eligible for the top 10 prizes. This is a great opportunity to hit the water with your kids, there will be pre-drilled holes and some fantastic prizes to be won!
Make a trip out of it and see what Manitoulin Island has to offer.
Friends and Family Ice Fishing Derby – Greater Sudbury
February 14, 2016 – 12:00 pm to 4:00 pm
The Lake Laurentian Conservation Area is holding their annual Friends and Family Ice Fishing Day. The event will take place at the Nature Chalet within the Conservation Area located at 2309 South Bay Road. This is an all-inclusive opportunity for friends and family to learn proper catch and release tactics along with making your own ice fishing rod from a stick.
Generous donations including ice augers, gear and free bait from the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters (OFAH) and the Ontario Power Group (OPG) TackleShare program, along with Ramakko’s Source for Adventure have made this event possible.
Many other opportunities can be had throughout the day, including building snowmen or sculptures, snowshoeing across the lake or through the endless trails – snowshoes and trail maps will be provided. The Nature Chalet will be operating throughout the day, and a warm fire and complimentary hot beverages will be available. All ages are welcome and it is sure to be a great event!
No registration is required – drop in any time! Please call (705) 674-8904 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Timmins Fur Council Kids Fishing Derby – Timmins
February 15, 2016 – 10:00 am to 2:00 pm
The 5th Annual Kids Fishing Derby is being held on Porcupine Lake, hosted by the Timmins Fur Council, on holiday Monday. This is a great event held each year and excitement is in all its surroundings. The children, parents and volunteers truly enjoy this event and have braved some harsh conditions in years past. Through many generous donations from the community, all the participants have to do is show up and let their child have a great day.
The Fur Council drills all the holes, provides fishing rods, seats and bait along with a full spread: coffee, hot chocolate, hot dogs, donuts, cookies, candy or pop on hand for everyone to enjoy and help stay warm throughout the day.
The event has four different time slots with 30 kids (up to 16 years old) fishing per hour, which totals 120 kids taking part in fishing throughout the day! The top three fished measured and released throughout the day receive the top prizes, however, all participants leave with a prize at the end of the day.
This is sure to be a must-attend event for all those in the surrounding Timmins area!