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Thursday, January 31, 2008

Simcoe Fishing Update - Feb 1 2008

It’s a calm, mild, slightly slushy morning out on Cook’s Bay.

The fish aren’t biting a lot, yet, but that doesn’t dampen the enthusiasm of Alex Younes of Richmond Hill.

“I caught a small perch earlier this morning,” he says with a smile. “There’ll be more this afternoon.”

Chad Paiero, proprietor of Lucky’s Fish Huts in Lefroy, says many people were catching their 50 perch limit Monday. He’s about to head out and drill a few more holes in the foot-deep ice off the 4th Line to see if he can find some schools of fish for his clients.

“I promised Alex some fish today,” he says. “The ice is good. It’s now 10 to 12 inches thick. It’s been a great season so far for perch.”

Paiero has his huts a little more than half a kilometre off shore, spaced well apart, sitting on approximately 25 feet of water. If conditions continue to improve, and the weather forecast is encouraging, he’ll move some of the huts further into the bay, where the water can reach a 60-foot depth. Trout are more plentiful in the deeper water.

After a promising start in December, the thaw of three weeks ago delayed the traditional start of the ice fishing season by about a week, Paiero, whose family has been renting huts for 30 years near Monto Reno Marina, says.

“The average season is January 14 to March 15. We had early ice – people were out fishing on Christmas Day, without huts. The first part of Lake Simcoe to freeze is Gilford. We’re usually a week behind Gilford. There are about 50 to 60 huts out on the ice now. On a good day, they’re all catching something.”

A firefighter by profession, Paiero says safety is first and foremost among ice hut operators. He’s out first thing every morning checking the thickness of the ice.

A couple of cold nights will thicken the ice further north towards Kempenfelt Bay, Paiero adds.
For Younes, the tranquility of the surroundings is one of the main attractions.

“It’s just a 40-minute drive from Richmond Hill,” he says. “I’ll be coming back on the weekends with my kids. They love it. I have four children, my brother-in-law has four, my cousins have four. We all come up here and talk about fishing and the different types of fish in Lake Simcoe. Lake Simcoe has lots of fish.

“We like to teach the kids jigging and the variety of baiting methods. They get to be outdoors and play, instead of just playing Nintendo or being on the Internet. Ice fishing is a chance for them to experience the beauty our parents, and grandparents, passed onto us.”

Paiero draws clients from across the GTA and even as far away as Niagara Falls, N.Y. and Michigan. The Americans appreciate the size of the fish they can reel in on Lake Simcoe.

Patrons of the pastime no longer freeze their behinds either.

Virtually all rented huts are heated nowadays, have comfortable padded benches, and if you desire, Paiero can even deliver a made-to-order lunch to your door.

The remainder of the season looks promising, Paiero says.

“Weekends, we’re fully booked. People like getting away from the hustle and bustle of the city and enjoy the sounds of nature.”

Up-to-date local ice conditions can be found on the website included


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