(A group of happy ice fisherman after a productive day of winter trout fishing in the Dacre area)
With the region’s ice-fishing season now under way winter anglers are being reminded that safety should always come first.
Winter anglers venturing out on the hard top this month must always tell someone where they will be fishing and when they plan to return. Appropriate clothing and equipment are also vital to safety and comfort. Some ice-fishermen may prefer survival suits and should carry a set of ice picks, while others go to the extent of using modified ice vehicles with the doors removed, in case of an untimely plunge. Ok, so tearing the doors off your car may sound extreme but the point is taken. Please remember the rule that ice does not freeze at a uniform thickness, especially now at the start of the winter season where near-shore ice is undoubtedly thicker than ice further out.
Best of luck this winter and for goodness sake, be careful out there!
Dogs and deer
A reminder to dog owners who allow their animals to run feral in the deer woods during wintertime, their actions may be devastating for whitetail populations at a fragile time of year. Conservation Officers deal with dogs on the loose each winter and, in case you did not know, are authorized to destroy any dogs observed chasing or injuring deer in areas where herds gather for the winter. Penalties for allowing your animal to be at large during the closed season for deer, range anywhere from $155 up to $25,000. With the high density of coyotes in our region it is also in your dog’s best interest to have Rover under wraps during the winter months.
Coyote conundrum continues
If feral dogs weren’t enough, this week I lost another member of my dwindling resident whitetail herd, to coyotes. The deer stopped coming to my feeder more than a month ago, and a neighbour emailed me this weekend to say he found remains of a recent kill no more than 300 yards from the house. Of the six whitetails that frequented my ‘back 40’ in recent months, only one was a fawn and according to a description of the remains found, it appear to be a juvenile that was killed. Public opinion keeps yapping in my ear that coyotes are simply ‘doing what comes naturally’ and that is just the way things are.
Anyone who subscribes to wildlife management understands that conservation includes predator control and in the case of the eastern coyote, and what is referred to now as a ‘North American urban coyote epidemic,’ there is cause for concern. In my case living within City of Ottawa limits, a ‘no discharge zone’ means I must watch theses marauding ‘yotes run rampant across my property with my hands tied. Now with Ontario’s recent protection of the hybrid Algonquin Coywolf, the wily eastern coyote sadly falls under the same umbrella and is protected further.
I truly hope the ‘coyote-huggers’ among us are satisfied when our local deer populations are decimated beyond repair. The thought of this turns my stomach.
Fishing guide service
Fellow Fish, Hunt & Ride magazine team member and renowned angler Jamie Pistilli has recently launched a new fishing service called Rising Sun Fishing Charters. It is a full service guide business that offers family and seniors trips, as well as youth trips, team building, business meetings, fly-fishing for anything that swims in the Ottawa/Gatineau region, and beyond. He specializes in giant carp, musky, longnose gar, bass, trout and northern pike. Jamie has many satisfied clients to his credit including US Ambassador Bruce Heyman. For more info on Rising Sun Fishing Charters: www.facebook.com/risingsunfishingcharters
In my next Outdoors Guy column I will run down some of the top ice fishing destination our region has to offer. Do you have a favourite winter fishing hotspot? Drop me a line at: email@example.com