CALLANDER, Ont. — The unseasonably mild weather is wreaking havoc on many of our outdoor activities, but there is still a strong contingent of ice fishers staking out along the shores of Callander. You can see at least 70 ice huts in Callander Bay, and just as many on the ice across from Sunbeam Bungalows.
When BayToday checked in this morning, two trucks were parked at the shore, as most are opting for lighter modes of transport to their huts. No trucks were in sight on the lake, although snowmobile and four-wheeler tracks were connecting the huts to the shore.
One of those four-wheelers was driven by Justin Sparks, who was coming in from his hut to meet a friend at the Centennial Park parking lot. His shack was about a kilometre offshore and had about 15 inches of ice holding it up. That’s enough ice to support a truck, according to the Canadian Red Cross, but of course, ice thickness varies depending on so many factors.
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The warmer weather is making people cautious, but for Sparks, “it’s not too bad. There are a lot of little pressure cracks,” he added, “but most of them look like they’re sealing up already.” While fishing, he hasn’t heard any loud cracks that would cause immediate concern.
Plus, he caught a couple of pickerel today, so the warm weather doesn’t seem to be keeping the fish away.
Down the road to the bay across from Sunbeam Bungalows, there was a large stretch of open water near the shore. Much water was lurking below the few inches of snowy slush on the ice. As soon as your boot made its mark, the water crept in to fill the impression.
About 50 feet from the shore, a blue ice hut was half submerged in the water. A gentleman driving by, no doubt curious about the photographer on the ice, stopped to mention the sinking hut looked like a large shed, the type you might buy prefabricated from a place like Home Depot.
The man, who preferred to not give his name, suggested that if it were a shed, it was likelier heavier than your average ice hut. He also noted there were no ties yet attached to the structure, so he was curious how long it would last before it ended up in the drink.
When asked if he would go out there, his answer was firm and succinct – “No way,” he said with a laugh.
But to each their own, and for many the lure of catching the big one is too great to resist.
David Briggs is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of BayToday, a publication of Village Media. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.