Archived Home Page for February 27, 2010

Ice off 2010
El Nino, mild temperatures shorten season and kill derby

Just as organizers were arriving to set up for the February 27th PIIFA derby, others were pulling their huts from the ice. The warm weather during the last week of February had melted the ice surface. There was up to 8 centimeters of water on the ice road which some were calling the Petrie Canal. While there was no immediate danger to anyone, many looked at the forecast for the week ahead and decided to pull out. The baitshop ice ramp was closed to visitor traffic to keep it safe for exiting ice huts, leaving the Trim Road ramp open for vehicle traffic. Up to a dozen huts were pulled off on Friday, February 26th with many others pulled of on Saturday and Sunday.

The warm weather also caused cancelation of the second annual PIIFA ice fishing derby which was scheduled for Saturday, February 27. While ice thickness was still very safe at 43 centimeters in the bay, the ice was soft and some areas had up to 8 centimeters of water on top. Organizers of the derby huddled together on the Friday evening before the event and decided that the added visitor traffic could make the ice unsafe. It was at that point that the 2010 derby was cancelled.

"I feel bad for all the kids and first year ice fishermen at Petrie Island, we had plans for a great derby," commented Allan Macintyre, the President of the Petrie Island Ice Fishermen's Association.

Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation

Mr. Macintyre went on to say, "Marc Leclair, Francine Martin and Ron Zinn spent a month getting this thing organized but we had no choice to cancel it because we were just too uncertain if all the vehicle traffic would make the ice unsafe."

Many sponsors and supporters had been set up and it was to be a fundraiser for The Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation. Hopefully, the cancer foundation and our many sponsors and supporters will be on board for next year's derby. A date has already been penciled in for the 2011 derby. It will be held in conjunction with the Ontario Family Fishing Week-end on Saturday, February 12, 2011.

Big Al Mactintyre.
The Big Al Look-A-Like Contest

Big Al Macintyre. You've met the guy on the ice. Maybe he's offered you advice about your hut. Maybe you've swapped stories about a big fish. Maybe you thought he was homeless and offered him food. Maybe you saw him coming and looked the other way. Maybe you just sat and chatted and shared a beer. Whatever the scenario, everyone knows Big Al Macintyre, the big guy on the ice at Petrie Island.

Our PIIFA summer contest this year is The Big Al look-a-like contest. This should be fun. Have you seen someone that reminds you of Big Al? You know... that unique stash and the never ending smile. Maybe someone on the bus? Your neighbor or just someone passing on the street. Grab your camera and get clicking. Take a photo of the person you think looks like Big Al and send it to us.

Can't find anyone that looks like Big Al? Dress up your dog with a fake stash and hat or have your kids colour a picture of Al. All entries will be considered for the final prizes. Contest closes December 31, 2010 and prizes will be awarded in the first week of the 2011 ice fishing season. Send all entries to the PIFFA email using one of the links on every page. Good luck and have a great summer.

Big Al Macintyre.
The 2010 Season Wrap-up

Okay, okay... We have to blame it on someone. Was it Father Nature that made us cancel the derby? Or was it El Nino that chased us off the ice early? Maybe they combined for the big kill, but wasn't it a fun season anyway? Probably the best for me had to be the group photo on the ice on the last Sunday in January. The weather was perfect and we got a gang of fishermen there. It was easy to organize, fun to do and the memory of the 2010 season will last forever with these great photos. We will definitely make this an annual event.

The largest fish we saw was Chris Ghazarian's 15.5 pound muskie caught at the drop-off. There was a rumour that the fish was not a live release but we had news that fish was caught, photographed and released in great shape. Also, at the drop-off, we had news of Juan Carlos Vasquez de Velasco who hooked into a muskie even larger than what Chris caught. Juan Carlos managed to fight the muskie right up to the hole when the hook broke. Witnesses told us the muskie was a minimum of 20 pounds but was probably well over 30. One witness was reported as saying the head was so big, it filled the 10 inch hole. Ahhhh... we love fishing stories...

Our website continues to expand. This season we introduced Petrie Island 360 which is a panoramic view of the ice fishing village of Baitshop Bay. The page will be updated several times during each ice fishing season with the latest panoramic view. Petrie Island 360 will probably replace our webcam which was just too hard to keep going. The first season of the webcam was perfect; it even made it on the local news and the Weather Network! The 2009 webcam was plagued by transmission problems for most of the season. And this year... more of the same. Ironically, now that the season is over, the webcam seems to be working just fine, so we are leaving it on until it dies! Go ahead and check it out! Maybe you'll see someone working on their hut or maybe you'll some critters walking by, or maybe you'll witness someone stealing something. We'll leave it going for as long as it lasts but we expect this to be the last for the webcam unless someone can offer us a 3G or some other solution.

Did you know that everything published on the PIIFA website gets archived? Yes, just click on the site map link at the bottom of any page to check out past front pages, features, photos and everything else.

We receive hundreds of emails every ice fishing season. Most are from fisherman at Petrie Island submitting photos and ideas for the website. Other emails are from people looking for information on ice fishing at Petrie Island or Petrie Island in general. Then occasionally we get an email that leaves us scratching our head, wondering what we just read. We have saved a few of the oddest and funniest emails for your summer reading pleasure.

Have a great summer and c'mon back when our website resumes updates in early December. -- Big Al

A Friendly Reminder

While working on your huts during the summer months, keep your area clean. This means picking up after yourself every day. Do not leave litter, construction material and debris laying around. Not only is it unsightly but could be dangerous. Please make use of the refuse container provided by the baitshop. If there is no container available, take your garbage home with you and discard it on garbage day.

Also, due to the serious hut storage area fire of last November, Oziles is no longer permitting fires or any kind in the hut storage area. Yes, even in your wood stove! Absolutely no fires.



The Photo of the Week

Okay? So What Do We Do Now? (Photo by Ronald Zinn)

Waiting for their ice hut to be pulled off the ice on the last day of the 2010 ice fishing season, you can almost read the minds of Bean and Marc, "Okay, the ice fishing season is over, so what do we do now?"

More Photos of the week