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   Latest News
It's still cold... why's it over?
    As the season winds down, I have to say it's been a great one, both on and off the ice. Just as the season began, there was a fantastic six page feature about Petrie Island ice fishing in Ottawa magazine. If you missed it, I still plan to post the feature on the website someday soon.
    We also saw this website grow with new features including our on-the-ice webcam, and people are still asking, "How'd he do that?" Without explaining too much, I will tell you that we will be trying for faster refreshes next season. Also next season, our on-the-ice webcam will be featured on The Weather Network and The Weather Network Website. How cool is that!
    Our website saw more daily hits than we've ever seen. In fact, we had as many hits this season than the last three combined, so someone's checking us out!
    On the ice, A-Channel Morning came down and did their morning show from the ice on February 19, check out the photos on the 2008 events page. Add to all that, everyone was catching lots of fish this season and the weather was a little more compromising than usual.
    The biggest non-event of the season was we didn't hear of any SUV's going through the ice!
    Looking forward to seeing you on the ice!    
-Big Al


Oziles Annual Derby Raises $4,000.00 for a Good Cause
   This season's Oziles ice fishing derby on March 1 was usual, a great success. It was a combined effort with the guys from Fishhawk to raise funds for The Hopewell Eating Disorder Centre. Prizes were awarded for the biggest fish in two categories, with draws for other prizes donated by generous sponsors. In the end, The Hopewell Centre was the real winner with almost $4,000.00 raised.
   The day was like living inside one of those glass domes of winter scenes that you shake and then turn upside down, huge snow flakes and lots of snow. Less people than usual, but a good turn out nevertheless. As usual, nothing really big won in the derby, a 29" pike and a 11" crappie took the big prizes. Big Jim McLaughlin and the guys from Fishhawk were on hand to give out the prizes.
   Mark Joly (from the BEMA hut) and I represented PIIFA in the Fishing Derby's 50/50 draw. We combined our 50/50 draw tickets on behalf of PIIFA hoping to win one of the draw's two biggest prizes (a generator or a $1,000.00 gift certificate). We won neither of the bigger doorprizes, but one of our ticket numbers was drawn for a smaller prize. After I had picked up the prize (a ballcap and some lures) I turned and gave it to the first kid (a young boy) in front of me. As I was walking away, I heard the emcee announce the next winning number and once again one of our ticket numbers had been pulled, I went back, picked up our second prize and gave it (a rod and reel kit with some lures) to another kid (a young girl). It was great to see the happy smiles on the faces of those young kids!
-Big Al


   The Ice Hut Removal Situation
Huge Storm and the Aftermath Prevent Ice Hut Removal
    The aftermath of a huge winter storm is still causing distress and some headaches for the fishermen of Petrie Island. The late winter storm hit March 8 and dumped up to 51 centimeters of snow in the Ottawa area including high winds, rain, freezing rain and ice pellets.
    Cars and huts have been stuck in the ice in Baitshop Bay all week. Most cars were released by late Thursday, but many huts are still frozen in the ice, some up to 50 centimeters. The weight of the heavy snow on the ice pushed water out from the edges of the bay which made a slushy mess under the pristine looking snow, which then froze solid locking many ice huts in the ice.
    Complicating matters even more was the breakdown of the Oziles plow which plows the ice road. Oziles' Baitshop owner, Yves Grandmaitre scrambled to have it repaired but couldn't get the needed parts and as a result the ice road was totally impassible. In the end, Oziles closed the ice road to all vehicle traffic which prevented dozens of owners from accessing the ice to remove their ice huts.
    "They couldn't plow the ice road, so now it's a complete mess. "First of all we have 24 inches of ice in the bay, then 6 inches of water with a 2 inch crust of top, you can't drive on that, not even an SUV!" commented Pee-Wee, a well known ice fisherman at Petrie Island.
    Friday evening, just hours before huts are supposed to be removed from the ice, M. Grandmaitre pulled out what many thought would be relief to the situation with a recently acquired 1974 snow grooming machine to smooth out the ice road. The jubilation was short lived as the groomer could not pass because of the damaged ice road. Many hut owners were ready and prepared to be towed off on Saturday, but many huts remain ice-bound due to the extreme situation. Yves promises that another attempt at making a new ice road will be made on Sunday, March 16 in hopes of removing the remaining 50 or so ice huts.
    "There's no way that all of these huts will make it off the ice. Some will have to be dismantled or destroyed just to get them out of the ice." commented Marc Joly, an ice fisherman at Petrie Island, "There will be many lost huts when it's all over because some people failed to jack up their huts after the big storm."
    With the season ending storm, the aftermath and the extreme circumstances of it all, the MNR (Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources) is saying that there will be no exceptions and the owners of each hut still on the ice after March 15 will be fined $500.00 for each day they are still on the ice.
    Who's going to pay for all of this? Oziles? For not being able to haul the huts off the ice in time? Mother Nature? Where can we find her? The individual owners? It's not really their fault... most tried.
    The MNR will reconsider because of extreme circumstances. We will keep you informed.
   The Photo Of The Week
They might have been plumbers in a previous life
Photo by Ronald Zinn
If we can find any humour in the aftermath of the big storm and digging out of our ice huts, this is it! Ken Cross and Al Macintyre worked hard to jack up and install new skis on Al's hut in preparation for the last day of ice hut removal. They spent the better part of March 14 preparing for the big moment, but will always be considered as plumbing apprentices, just because of the classic pose.

Digging out after the storm at Petrie Island

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