Spring, a magical time of rebirth in the great outdoors

The late great Roger “Elliot” Lepine doing some early-season trout fishing in Montebello 

With ice huts soon flying south for the summer and wild turkey season around the corner, the smell of spring is definitely in the air.
I don’t know about you, but the arrival of spring cannot come soon enough for me! Winter has its merit, I suppose, but after four months of snow and freezing rain, enough is enough. To hear the thumping drum of the first ruffed grouse of the year, or catch a glimpse of wild garlic plants pocking their heads up of the forest floor, are all telltale signs that a new season is afoot. I know it’s difficult to imagine with lots of snow still on the ground, but we’re on the homeward stretch with ice-out about a month away. Before you know it we’ll be breaking out the turkey calls and trout and walleye tackle like it’s going out of style.

Last week I bid farewell to a close friend and fishing companion, my dear father-in-law; Roger “Elliot” Lepine. I will think of this fine man in the spring as the ice lifts off the lake and I cast my first line. RIP Elliot!

Gobble gobble

With little over a month until the province’s April 25th turkey season opener arrives, hunters are reminded that, should you happen to bag a gobbler, you only have until noon the following day to report it. Call 1(800) 288-1155 and have your hunting card available and be prepared to identify the age and sex of your bird. To purchase a wild turkey license, you may call the same number until April 30th, and it will be mailed the next business day. For more information, please read the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry regulations at https://www.ontario.ca/document/ontario-hunting-regulations-summary. There you can either view or download the regulations. Happy turkey hunting and gobble, gobble one and all.

Ice-fishing season

I had a blast ice-fishing with the ‘fam’ recently as part of Family Fishing Weekend festivities. My wife, two daughters and I participated in the Harbour Harvest, held at the Nepean Sailing Club, and a great time was had by had by all! My scale-straining 11” yellow perch was actually in contention for a prize at one point, until someone landed a northern pike. More importantly, the girls had a good time and we are already looking forward to next year’s event. With the March 31st ice-hut removal date just around the corner, however, things on the hard top are soon drawing to a close.
Folks in the Ottawa Valley legally have until the end of the month to haul their huts away, and remember that anyone who has not removed their ice hut by then is in violation of the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act, and could face charges. Winter fishing remains open on most lakes and rivers after the huts are gone although ice conditions tend to be sketchy and unsafe by this point so please be careful.

Bounder Magazine

Keep your eye out next week for Bounder Magazine’s highly-anticipated spring issue. My ‘welcome back’ Outdoors Guy column will take an inside look at my ‘trophy’ brook trout adventure in May, along with some other cool springtime hunting and fishing topics. There are many other great Bounder columns of note like my pal Randall Moore of CHEZ 106 FM’s famous ‘One Minute Moore” and other great columnists like Mark Papousek, Delmar and Cecil, Dave Brown, Red Green, Jim Hurcomb and many more! Check-out Bounder online at: www.Bounder.ca and watch for more magazine pickup sites coming in Pembroke, Renfrew and Cobden!

Column anniversary

This month marks the 5th anniversary of my Outdoors Guy column in this awesome publication, the Pembroke Daily Observer, and I wish to thank managing editor Anthony Dixon and assistant editor Tina Peplinskie for being the best editorial staff I’ve ever worked with. There are great folks up the Valley and these two are indeed kindred spirits. Sharing my passion for the great outdoors with readers each month is something I hold dear. Thanks to the hunters and fishermen of the Ottawa Valley for your continued support, and hopefully I will see you around Cobden, Pembroke or Petawawa this summer.

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