Thanks to Old Man Winter’s frozen grip, bitter winds weren’t the only thing biting on Sarnia Bay this month.
Ice fishing returned after a two-year hiatus – drawing both rookies and veterans to try their luck on the frozen water.
Courtright residents Steve Inglis and Ivan LeMay were among those trying their luck on a sunny afternoon last week.
“We’ve been bouncing minnows off their noses for a while,” Inglis said, as he peered through the hole into the crystal clear water.
He’d caught a perch in the first 10 minutes, but then nothing in the following three hours.
Inglis said he and LeMay had to work hard to auger through the thick ice.
Normally, the pair head out to Mitchell’s Bay to fish, but were drawn to Sarnia when they heard folks were catching “a lot of perch.”
Both retired, the pair agree that “every day is Saturday” and even though their luck wasn’t so hot on their first Sarnia Bay outing, they’ll be back.
“We won’t give up; we have all winter,” LeMay joked.
First timers Dennis Elliott and his son Brandon were also on the ice.
“I’m normally a quadder and ride dirt bikes,” the elder Elliott said, but said he and his son were enjoying the ice fishing experience and were already planning their next outing.
“It’s pretty good,” Brandon said, but admitted there’s a lot to learn and they would need to figure out which bait works.
The Outdoorsman store in Sarnia has been doing a brisk business helping ice fishers gear up.
“Everyone is pumped,” says owner Steve Vanderburgt, adding it’s been a long two-year wait for local ice fisherman.
Customers are telling him the fishing is good, Vanderburgt said, adding Walleye, perch, rainbow trout and perch are among the fish on the list for the daily catch.
Bluewater Anglers Fishing Derby will be held Saturday Feb. 17 beginning at 6 a.m. The derby coincides with the province’s family fishing Feb. 17-19 winter event. Fishing licenses are not required during that timeframe.
Residents are reminded to always check ice conditions before heading out.