On Saturday February 8th Canadian Huntress hosted their 1st Annual Co-Ed Ice Fishing Event on Lake Simcoe. Sixteen anglers attended, including Canadian Huntress & Canadian Hunter brand ambassadors, spouses, Johnny, the owner of Impact Baits and his son. The group met at Gail's Hot Box Huts bright and early and were shuttled out to two huts where we would be targeting jumbo perch and whitefish. The first hut had twelve holes, comfortable bench seats, heat, speakers, lights and phone chargers. The second hut was a bit smaller but equally as comfortable.
The temperature on Friday night dropped down to a bone-chilling -30 and the ice holes were frozen over, requiring quite a bit of chipping to open them up. We knew there were prizes to be won so we eagerly dropped our lines to get on the board. It wasn't long until a couple of tiny perch and a herring were caught. And that was about it. Dee dropped an underwater camera down and we saw some tiny perch and a couple of whitefish, but nothing was biting. It warmed up significantly, enough that we could drill some holes outside the hut to fish. The wind on Simcoe can be vicious but we got lucky, it was a beautiful calm day.
There weren't many fish caught worth keeping and by the end of the day we were using everything from bread to entire sandwiches to try and lure them in. The catch of the day went to Fraser, who broke his entire reel, snapped his line then pulled the perch through the hole with his bare hand. He also came up with a great new device for catching fish, but if I told you I'd have to kill you, as he's still working on the patent.
A few members of our group decided to head out a bit earlier but those of us who remained were glad we did! Around sunset the herring started to appear in schools just below the surface. Andrew stood at the door grabbing the fish as we reeled them in and flung them out on to the ice. We could barely get our lines in the water and we were pulling them out. Just as quickly as they came they left and that's when we decided to call it a day.
We hopped back in the sleigh, nearly frozen at this point, and headed back to shore. You don't realize how far you actually parked until you have to walk back after a long day of fishing in the cold. We said our goodbyes and all headed our separate ways, with new friendships and memories made.
Oftentimes you hear that it's harder to make friends in adulthood, but when you get a group of people together who are all passionate about the outdoors and enjoy a good laugh (especially at another's expense), it's not so bad. I really don't think we could have asked for a more perfect day for this event to take place, although maybe next time Dana could offer a guarantee of fish??? All jokes aside, I enjoyed spending 8 hours on the ice, in a box, with a group of virtual strangers, who I now consider friends.
Canadian Hunter Ambassador Philip:
Waking up at 6:30, fresh hot coffee, an hour drive and -20 temperatures, that was the start of a great day hard water fishing. We we welcomed by our hosts at Gail's Hot Box Huts and were swiftly shuttled to our hut for the day, a massive ten person ice hutmahal with radio, heaters and plenty of comfy seating. We lounged for most of the day catching perch and enjoying the company of friends, and as the sun set that's when the real action started. Suddenly and without warning there were hundreds of Cisco feeding beneath our hut and the bite was furious. We quickly pulled up enough of the fish for our limit and as quickly as they came they were gone. Probably off to the next cluster of bait looking for a quick meal. And with that our shuttle arrived to take us back to shore in the fading light of an amazing ice fishing experience.
Canadian Huntress Ambassador Monica:
Not everyone likes waking up before dawn, driving to a frozen lake, riding a sled over 40 foot deep water, and sitting for hours staring at a hole inside a wooden box while its -20° C outside, but great friends and Hot Box Huts can make the experience one you'll never forget. Oh, it also helps when you catch some fish too. I mean, I certainly didn't expect my first herring catch to be on a freshwater lake in Ontario but here we are. Thanks to Dana Murray I got the chance to spend a day laughing, smiling, and feeling the joy and despair of catching fish and sometimes losing them right at the ice with an amazing group of people. Thanks to Gail's Hot Box Huts I got the chance to do all that in warmth and comfort, not the first words you think of when you're outside in weather cold enough to make you have to re-break your ice hole every 15 minutes. All in all I wouldn't have changed anything about that day, I loved every minute of this adventure.
Canadian Hunter Ambassador Andrew:
This weekend I had the honour and privilege of participating in the 1st annual co-ed Canadian Hunter/Huntress fishing trip! It's amazing to be part of this organization that is knocking down the wall of the "boys only" club proving we can all share in these sports together. Lots of new friends, laughs and stories shared, can't wait to do it again!!