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Friday, January 28, 2005


About 4,000 ice anglers are expected to descend on Keswick Saturday, bringing one of the biggest one-day boosts of the entire year to the local economy. Organizer Todd Million, host of TV's Full Contact Fishing, said he's happy ice conditions have improved dramatically for the annual Lake Simcoe Ice Fishing Contest. The event is normally held a week later, but it was moved to avoid competition from the Super Bowl. Contest headquarters is in Dauphin, Man. and Mr. Bosiak has several similar events in other provinces, but Lake Simcoe is the biggest. Council approved a parking plan last week to ensure there isn't traffic congestion, including making some roads near the site one way for the day. Parking and a shuttle out to the site off Claredon Beach will also be available from Crate's Marina. Anglers will be set up in a specific areas offshore, where thousands of holes will be pre-drilled. Local service clubs that assist in the event are given an honorarium. The event puts Georgina on the map, drawing competitors
Published: 01/27/05 00:00:00

Monday, January 24, 2005

Watershed protection planning group holds first meeting

The Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority and the Nottawasaga Valley Conservation Authority are conducting an assimilative capacity study for Lake Simcoe and the sub-watershed, the Nottawasaga River.
The inaugural meeting of the capacity steering committee was held in December, said Peter Tellefsen, manager of development services with the Town of the Blue Mountains.
He told council that before a plan can be created to protect the watershed, the study has to assess the impacts of development. Part of the TOBM is included in the study area.

- The Town of the Blue Mountains is assessing the council and committee meeting structures, spearheaded by David Creech, the recently-hired town manager, in an effort to run them more efficiently.

- The Town of Collingwood passed a motion Monday night to adopt the strategic priorities set out in the first phase of the newly-created plan, as well as commence work to finalize it.

"(We) went through the strategic priorities one by one," said Jay Currier, chief administrative officer.

"(But) we still need a fine-tuning of this strategic plan. Once it's adopted, those are your strategic policies for the next few years."

The town is planning to hold public meetings in the future to inform the community.

- A decision on the Collingwood sign bylaw has been deferred until next week. Town council wants staff to review the recommended changes.


Sharp cold snap brings outstanding conditions for ice fishing

Jan 20, 2005

With a sharp cold snap and temperatures expected to remain below freezing all week, the long-awaited ice fishing season is in full swing.

Caution is still advised on the main body of the lake and near pressure cracks, so anglers should call fish hut operators before heading out because conditions can change quickly.

Action got under way earlier this month on Cook's Bay with Dave Tighe of Davey Point Bait and Tackle in Keswick reporting at least 12 inches of solid ice.

"The fishing is spectacular, the best I've ever seen," Mr. Tighe said.

Anglers are limiting out on perch in four hours or less, he said, adding pike are also biting and there have been catches of lake trout and whitefish as well.

The latter two deep water species are generally not caught too often in the bay.

"That's been a real bonus," he said.

Mr. Tighe has 20 huts straight out from his Lake Drive location on ice in 18 to 26 feet of water.

Jerry Kucharchuk of Pefferlaw Fish Huts at the Peninsula Resort (705-437-1890) said he is fully booked for this weekend, mainly with American hard water enthusiasts. The resort appeals to the Americans because "it's a one stop centre. We offer everything for them here: fishing licences, accommodation, food, lots of room to park their trucks and trailers. They find it very convenient," Mr. Kucharchuk said.

The operation's 20 huts are two miles out from the mouth of Pefferlaw Brook on about a foot of ice over about 25 feet of water. The main catches are perch and whitefish and the fishing has been excellent, he said.

Greg Haines of Bonnie Boats in Jackson's Point (905-722-3862) began hauling his 16 huts out Tuesday. They're about a mile out over 65 feet of water. Ice conditions are excellent, with at least nine inches that growing fast with the frigid weather, Mr. Haines said. The main catches are lake trout and whitefish.

"It's a big change from last week when it wasn't looking too great," he said.

Since the cold snap the phones have been ringing for weekend bookings. "We're off to a good start," he said.

The thickening ice is good news for the annual Lake Simcoe Ice Fishing Contest set for Saturday, Jan. 29. About 4,000 anglers are expected for that event, the biggest in Canada. For tickets, call 1-800-506-9911. The grand prize is a 2005 full-sized Chev pickup truck.

Preparations are also being finalized for the 11th annual Canadian Ice Fishing Championship Feb. 26 and 27. There are $25,000 in cash prizes up for grabs. To register, call Rocky Madsen at 905-722-5425.

Friday, January 21, 2005

Wind sailors cheer lake ice

Wind sailors cheer lake ice
Skiers, snowboarders coming to town for Lake Simcoe Wind Sports Festival

Jan 20, 2005
John Slykhuis, Staff Writer - More from this author

With frigid temperatures finally thickening the ice on Cook's Bay, anglers and snowmobilers will be joined by another group of ice enthusiasts: wind sailers.

The third annual Lake Simcoe Wind Sports Festival Saturday and Sunday will see a wide variety of skiers, surfers and snowboarders, all propelled by various types of colourful chutes, sails and kites.

Along with good ice conditions, participants are praying for the strong winds they need to get up to speeds as fast as an automobile, organizer Grant Fitz of Canadian Wind Rider said.

Cook's Bay was chosen because it's generally the windiest part of the lake, Mr. Fitz said.

"Although many of the ice and snow sailing sports have been around since the early 1980s, popularity of the summer equivalent wind sailing on water has brought more visibility to kite-powered winter activities," he said.

More than 100 wind worshippers from all over Ontario and Quebec are expected to descend on the south end of Cook's Bay, off Glenwoods Avenue.

People watching from shore can have a good view of the action, with activities starting both days at 11 a.m.

If skies are clear, many will be back on the ice after sunset to sail under the near full moon Saturday.

Its light, enhanced by the reflective snow and ice, will mean excellent visibility, Mr. Fitz said.

Cook's Bay offers more total sailable terrain than the huge Whistler resort in B.C., he added. The event includes demonstrations and equipment displays for those considering taking up the sport.

Wind sailers have been cautioned about parking and asked to respect all signage, Mr. Fitz said.

"We're asking everyone to do their best to respect the community on their day at the lake," he said.

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Wind and ice enthusiasts will glide on Cook's Bay this weekend for their annual get-together as they did in this scene from last year.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Toronto International Boat Show

Whether you're looking for a 40-foot cabin cruiser or a sleek sail boat, chances are, you'll find it here. Starts Jan 15/05.

Monday, January 17, 2005

Kempenfelt Bay - Ice fishing Mecca

Every winter, thousands of devoted anglers brave the elements to stake claim to holes cut in Lake Simcoe's frozen surface and patiently await the big catch.
It's a tradition that's been around for a long, long time.
Some 3,000 years ago, before the ancient Greek or Roman civilizations rose to prominence, prehistoric native peoples had ventured out on the ice to fish Lake Simcoe's plentiful stocks of herring, trout, muskellunge, and pike. Originally equipped with nothing more than a simple spear with which to impale their prey, the native peoples eventually developed a sophisticated understanding of fish habits and manufactured effective decoys, with moving fins, designed to attract fish to within spear range.
Ice fishing became an integral part of the lifestyle of local Indians, proving vital to maintaining food stores over lengthy winters. From them, the first European settlers learned the secrets of fishing through the ice. In the early years, before their farms were well and truly established, ice fishing was only marginally less important to the European settlers than it was for the native peoples before them. Winter diets, without supplements drawn from the depths of the lake, could be slender.
As the years passed, ice fishing evolved in sophistication, and was transformed from a viable industry to become more of a sport.
Originally, anglers had only jackets and layers of fur, or perhaps a simple windscreen, to protect themselves from the elements. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, however, wooden windbreaks and portable huts began to appear, dotting the ice across Kempenfelt Bay. Some of the more elaborate huts were covered with tarpaper, and featured stoves made from old oil drums.
In 1908, there were fewer than 100 huts on the bay, and most were occupied by local individuals still earning supplemental incomes from their catch (lake trout and herring went for five cents a pound, for example). Fishing was almost entirely by spear at this early stage.
Spear fishing was outlawed in 1941 over concerns that trout were being speared during their vulnerable spawning periods, though illegal spearing remained a problem well into the 1950s.
Spear fishing was replaced by the modern line method, which traditionalists considered much less sporting at the time.
Nevertheless, ice fishing continued to enjoy a swell in popularity. By 1949, there were more than 500 ice huts on Kempenfelt Bay. Most fishermen were now Toronto residents, who made the journey north on weekends, and the commercial ice-fishing industry was almost extinct save for a few diehards.
Ice fishing had completed the evolution from necessity to recreation, from niche activity to mainstream hobby.
Over the decades that followed, ice fishing became more sophisticated and organized, the businesses catering to it grew in size and importance to the local economy, and its popularity soared.
Perhaps the only thing that has changed is the zeal for roughing it in the cold. Today, ice huts are outfitted with all the comforts of modern life - radios, heaters, comfortable chairs, televisions, and stoves.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Simcoe Ice fishing was for survival, not fun

Ice fishing was for survival, not fun
Playing host to the Canadian Ice Fishing Championships allows Georgina to lay solid claim to the title of ice fishing capital of the world. It's a multi-million-dollar industry for the town, with local businesses supplying anglers with everything from heated huts and bait to accommodations and sustenance. Ice fishing is so important to the local economy it's hard to remember a time when it was nothing more than a niche hobby. But that's how it started in the early years of the 20th century. Some 3,000 years ago, aboriginal people first ventured out on the ice to exploit Lake Simcoe's plentiful stock of herring, trout, muskellunge and pike. Originally equipped with nothing more than a spear with which to impale their prey, these prehistoric people eventually developed a sophisticated understanding of fish habits and manufactured effective decoys with moving fins designed to attract fish to within spear range. Ice fishing became an integral part of the lifestyle of local natives, proving vital to maintaining
Published: 01/06/05 00:00:00

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Jan 9, 2005 Ice unsafe, police warn

Ice unsafe, police warnJan 9, 2005

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Look before you leap.
That's the message from the York Regional Police, which is warning unseasonably warm weather over the past couple of weeks means lakes and streams are not safe.
"Right now we're saying don't go out. No ice is safe," marine unit Const. Stephen McCullough said. "It's going to take a good week of -10-degree temperatures for it to freeze over and we haven't had that yet."
There are still many areas of open water on Lake Simcoe and ice anglers and snowmobilers should be aware conditions are still dangerous, he said.
Areas like Cook's Bay may have five inches of ice in some spots, but others are as thin as one to two inches.
"Until we can say it's seven or eight inches of ice I wouldn't say it's safe," Const. McCullough added.
Every year, there are recreational ice-related accidents and fatalities on York Region waterways, often because of poor judgment or decision-making based upon inadequate information.
"People are out there risking their lives and as a result we have to go out and risk ours," Const. McCullough said.
The ice fishing season officially began Jan. 1 and people are advised to check with ice hut operators.

Monday, January 10, 2005

Paper on the roles of the County of Simcoe on Shoreline planning and management

Nov 10 Paper on the roles of the County of Simcoe on Shoreline planning and management

Oct 5 Sailor rescued from Simcoe

Oct 5 Sailor rescued from Simcoe Oct 5, 2004 A 71-year-old Georgina sailor reported missing Sunday was rescued yesterday from poor weather conditions on Lake Simcoe by the York Regional Police marine unit. The missing man took his catamaran out on the lake around 6 p.m. Sunday. A neighbour contacted police around 9:45 p.m. when his friend had not returned. With the temperature only 15 C, waves at least two metres high and gusty winds around 35 miles per hour there were some concerns about the weather conditions and the man's health. The marine unit and joint rescue co-ordination centre were contacted and a search began at 10:30 p.m. Rescuers believed the man had headed toward Snake or Fox islands and started the search from his last known position. After an extensive search, he was located drifting about five miles from shore at 1:10 a.m. The rescue helicopter was just arriving and remained on scene to provide emergency lighting and alternate rescue capabilities. The man had dropped his sail and was drifting in the water after realizing he could not return to land because of the weather. He was unharmed and taken back to shore, where he was treated and released by York Region emergency medical staff. Police say boaters should always wear their life-jackets and those going out on the lake for an excursion should always file a boating plan with a friend or neighbour in the case of an emergency.

Sept 9 -Bradford West Gwillimbury region Lake Simcoe Environmental

Sept 9 -Bradford West Gwillimbury region Lake Simcoe Environmental Management Strategy meeting took place on September 9th. The session covered the state of the watershed from the standpoint of water, land and air. Topic of most interest to boaters was the concern of the Phosphorous loading into the lake causing weed growth. The action plan calls for a 25% reduction in phosphorous into the lake. For the minutes of the meeting, please visit the LSRCA site where it will be made available shortly in pdf form for download

Aug 7 - Fatalities on Lake Simcoe

Aug 7 - Fatalities on Lake Simcoe . Shortly before 6 p.m. on Saturday, August 7th, South Simcoe Police were called to the government dock at the north end of the 30th Sideroad, in Big Bay Point, Innisfil. Police learned that a dive school had been training approximately 30 metres off the end of the dock, when a boat passed through between the dock and the dive marker. One of the divers, a 30 year old Toronto woman, was struck by the boat and sustained a serious head injury. Fellow divers came to her aid and performed CPR at the scene. Ambulance paramedics attended and rushed the victim to Royal Victoria Hospital in Barrie, where she later died of her injuries. She has been identified as 30 year old Aviva Barth. Police believe the driver of the boat was unaware of the accident, as the boat continued on its way west toward the Barrie area. Witnesses were able to provide a description, and police continue to investigate. Drivers or occupants of boats that were in the Big Bay Point area of Lake Simcoe at approximately 5:45 p.m. on Aug. 7 are asked to call Police at 705-436-2141 or 905-775-3311, or Crime Stoppers, 1-800-222-8477. A team of 6 officers from the Traffic & Marine Branch have investigated over 100 boats, and report having several leads. Police are also investigating 2 separate drowning incidents. On Aug. 7, at about 7 a.m., four men left from Keffer’s Marina in Keswick, on a fishing trip on Lake Simcoe. Shortly after 1 p.m., their 14’ aluminum boat capsized in Cook’s Bay, approximately 5 km. from shore. A passing boater pulled 3 of the men from the water, and transported them to Crate’s Marine, where they were met by York Region Emergency Medical Services. Two Toronto men were transported to Southlake Regional Health Centre with minor injuries; the third, 51 year old John Phen of Toronto, was pronounced dead. York Regional Police Air Support and Marine Units, working with the OPP, Ministry of Natural Resources, Georgina Island Police, and South Simcoe Police, continued to search for a 4th boater. At about 7:45 p.m. on August 10th, Police recovered the body of Winston Pereira, 38, of Richmond Hill. On Sunday, Aug. 8, between 6:30 and 7 p.m., a Georgina resident observed a riderless SeaDoo on the Lake, and called Police. York Regional Police Marine Unit, with the assistance of a helicopter from Trenton, launched a search for the owner of the craft, identified as 41 year old Gary Corbiere of Georgina. Corbiere had left the Virginia Beach Marina at approximately 6 p.m. At 10:20 a.m. on Aug. 12, workers at Virginia Beach Marina discovered the body of the missing man, between Duclos Point and Georgina Island. Police wish to remind boaters that, even though it is summer, hypothermia is still a concern on Lake Simcoe. Boaters are urged to ensure that equipment and safety devices are in working order before venturing out onto the water, and to wear a life jacket or PFD.

The boating officers will also be out in full force

July 24 - The boating officers will also be out in full force this weekend, partnering with the South Simcoe Police Service in a blitz aimed at making sure those operating personal watercraft have a valid Operator's Card. Failure to have the card on board could result in a $250 fine plus a $50 victim surcharge fee.

July 17 - Lake Simcoe festival for the lake

July 17 - Lake Simcoe festival for the lake brings public awarenessIn it's second year, the festival took place at Heritage Park and included a Canaries Alive performance as well as a Kids Eco-Zone as well as Eco Market to purchase environmentally friendly products. The event also served to promote the LSRCA Action Guide for the preservation of the lake.

Saturday, January 08, 2005

Ice fishing fans urged to wait

Ice fishing fans urged to wait Anglers anxious to plumb the depths of their favourite fishing holes are being advised to sit tight until Old Man Winter blesses area lakes with a generous sheet of ice. "None of the lakes are safe right now, none of them at all," Sgt. Dave Fletcher, of the OPP's Traffic and Marine section, said this week. According to Fletcher, a stretch of mild weather at the end of December caused rapid melting across the region. That's reason enough to stay clear of local water bodies, he warns. Heavy snowfalls only aggravate the situation by insulating what little ice has formed, preventing it from thickening to a safe depth, he said. "It all depends on the weather," he added. Though still early in the season, police have already reported one lake-related death involving a snowmobiler, who died after plunging into open water on Orr Lake. If past years are any indication, others are sure to follow, Fletcher said. "That is a fairly significant contributing factor to snow-machine fatalities every year," he added.01/07/05 00:00:00