Water level still high, bridge to island still closed

Petrie Island ice fishermen are still in a holding pattern. Although the ice conditions and thickness in Baitshop Bay are getting better by the day, the water level remains high causing ice along the shoreline to remain thin or non-existent. The bridge to Petrie Island is still closed.

Water level on January 18, 2016

Flooding like this in winter is something long time ice fishermen in the area have never witnessed. The chart shows how the water level has increased by more than 3 feet over the past week to where the water is hugging Trim Road. Click to enlarge.

With these bizarre conditions, all access to Baitshop Bay and other areas around Petrie Island is still restricted. Even with the cold weather building ice thickness, danger still exists. When the water level begins to recede, there will still be danger due ice pockets under the ice. In other words, when the water level begins to recede, it will create two layers of ice which will be okay to walk on but not good for vehicle traffic.

To make matters worse for the current situation, meteorologists are predicting a significant warm up at the beginning of February, followed by extreme fluctuations in the temperature throughout the month. By this time last year, the temperature was well below normal and we had been on the ice for several weeks.

We have our first photos for our 2016 Anglers Gallery, mostly by people in and around Baitshop Bay. Check out our Facebook page for some great photos that people have posted there.

(Chart provided by Yves Grandmaitre)

Unsafe ice, bridge to island closed due to flooding

It may look enticing but the ice in and around Petrie Island is still not safe. The warm up and the hard rain last week-end caused the water level to rise up to three feet in some areas. The ice in thickness in Baitshop Bay is a scant five inches but ice along the shoreline is very thin or non-existent because of the flooding.

High water at Petrie

Because of the increased water level, the shoreline at the visitor entrance to Baitshop Bay has risen to almost the level of the road. To make it even worse, Oziles closed the road at the bridge because of flooding so there is no access to Crappie bay.

Yves Grandmaitre from the Oziles Marina and Bait shop tells us, "Due to a ice dam near Plantagenet, the river has come up about 3.5 feet since Sunday. Most of this happened since yesterday. The water level is still coming up. The road after the bridge is presently flooded and is now closed until further notice. The shoreline will be an issue as not only has it moved with the water coming inland, it is hidden under the snow received yesterday. Once the ice dam is cleared we are told water levels will go down about 6" per day. There is a big risk that water levels will go down and the ice surface particularly along the shore might not follow leaving an air gap between the two. This creates a very dangerous set of parameters so please be very careful when out there."

This delays the ice fishing season even more but we are expecting colder weather beginning Saturday. Some huts could be on the ice the end of next week but that's not a gimme because of the water situation.

(Photo from Mario Croft)

Family Fishing Week-end

This year's Ontario Family Fishing week-end is set for the week-end of February 13 to 15. The winter version of Ontario Family Fishing week-end coincides with the Ontario Family Day Week-end. It is a time where the Ontario government and MNR designates several days during which Canadian residents can fish license-free in any body of water in Ontario where fishing is allowed.

2016 Family Fishing Week-end

The week-end is a great chance for people to experience the fun of ice fishing in Ontario without having to purchase an Ontario Outdoors Card and Fishing license. If you have been checking out our website and thinking, Gee, I'd like to try ice fishing", this is your big chance! To reserve an ice hut at Petrie Island for a day or the entire week-end, contact the Oziles Baitshop for more information. They have a minimum of 6 ice huts for rent during the season. Go to the Ontario Family Fishing Week-end website for more info on this special week-end.

Now it's just a matter of time

Winter has finally arrived in the Ottawa area and now it's just a matter of time before we can get on the ice. With still a few weeks to go before we get the ice we need, it will be a very short ice fishing season. With that, we will have to make the best of the time we will have.

The 2016 PIIFA ice fishing derby - Ottawa

To get things going, we are announcing that the fifth annual PIIFA Ice Fishing derby will take place on Saturday, February 13, 2016 in Baitshop Bay at Petrie Island. The derby coincides with the winter version of Ontario's Family Fishing Week-end. This is a great time to fish in Ontario without having to buy a fishing permit.

Our derby has proven to be popular in past years with tons of fun and prizes. Again this year, all profits raised in the derby will be given to CHEO at their annual spring telethon. Derby plans are still in the works and we will announce details and sponsors as they become available.

With all derbies organized on the ice at Petrie Island, Big Al is collecting Canadian Tire money to give as one of our many door prizes. Stop by his hut and give him what you got!

With every PIIFA derby, we like to be creative and have a little fun when designing our poster and this year's is no different. If you are close to action on Baitshop Bay and know some of the people, take a good look at this year's derby poster... just for a laugh.

>>> A look back at past PIIFA Derby posters
>>> Print full size version of the derby poster
Ice Fishing Photo of the Week

Big Louis: The Beer Thief
Photos by Francine Martin

Throwback to the 2011 Derby: Beer Thief Caught!

During the flurry of activity of the prize presentations after the 2011 PIIFA derby, we caught a beer thief red-handed! Check the carefull execution of this perfectly planned heist.

Photo #1: Big Louis spots the box of beer in front of Big Al's hut and decides he wants some. He stands back and waits patiently for the perfect moment. When Big Al turns to get more derby door prizes to give out, Louis goes in for the grab and starts filling his pockets with the Coors Lite.

Photo #2: Shows Big Louis doing his best to distract Big Al from anything beer related but the photo clearly shows the eveidence in his pocket. Click on the photo to enlarge for a better view.