By Wayne Doyle
For some, it’s all about the fish.
For others, it’s all about tranquility.
For others still, it’s the ability to escape.
And for some, it’s all about the experience.
Regardless of why someone would decide to gather up their rod and their bait to head out onto a frozen lake in the early hours of a -20 degree Celsius February day, folks like Mike McCue are there to help make it as enjoyable as possible.
Mike is a 30-year veteran of the ice fish hut business, the last dozen years or so with First Nations owned and operated Snake Island Fish Huts in Keswick. He’s seen quite a bit over those three decades but the one that never changes, he said, is the anticipation for that first cast of the new season.
“Being weather dependent, our season can begin almost anytime and end almost anytime,” he said. “Once it starts to get cold – winter cold – you can see the sport fishermen getting ready. They’re checking ice thickness almost daily. Mother Nature determines everything but once we get at least seven inches of ice, we’re ready to go.”Before you hit the frozen waters though, there are a few things you should consider.
Snake Island Fish Huts, like most other rental outlets, requires a reservation before you venture out. They offer two-, four- and six-person huts and, for $60 per person (half price for children 12 and under), take care of everything except landing the fish.
“For the majority of the folks who come out, all they need is their angling gear and their tackle,” Mike said. “The huts come with a small two burner cook stove so you can have a grilled cheese or something else along those lines and there’s even a port-a-potty for nature’s call.”
While the vast majority of the clientele is repeat – “we see some pretty familiar faces year-after-year’ – he has noticed an increasingly large number of new customers over the past couple of years.
“I think for a lot of newcomers, the initial attraction is it’s something different to do,” he said. “But once they get out and discover the sport of fishing or just the enjoyment of going out and doing something with friends, they get hooked on it.”
Local Ice Fishing Hut Rentals
Snake Island Fish Huts
967 Lake Drive North, Georgina
Ice Kings Fishing Adventures LTD.
233 the Queensway South, Georgina
Sutton’s Fish Hut Rentals
Bonnie Blvd, Georgina
Hank Heyink Fish Huts
20 Bonnie Blvd, Jacksons Point
Ice Fishing Outfitters
15 Hadden Rd, Sutton
Sibbald’s Point Fish Hut Rentals
26760 Park Rd, Sutton
Pefferlaw Fish Huts
202 HOLMES RD PT, Pefferlaw
Ice Hut Guidelines:
Ice hut operating businesses are allowed to conduct business with some restrictions from the province in place.
- Fish huts may only be rented as day use only.
- Only members from the same household will be permitted in each hut.
- Only members in the same household will be transported to and from the hut.
- No congregating of more than 5 people outside the hut.
- Face coverings or masks are required while being transported and outside the hut when physical distancing can’t be maintained.
- Huts and transport boxes will be sanitized before and after each party.
- We are asking that at the time of booking you provide the name and phone number of each individual to allow the region contact tracing information. (Not required by the province)
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Wayne Doyle is the manager of marketing and communications for the York Region Arts Council. A former journalist, Wayne is always looking for great stories to share with readers of experienceyorkregion.com. If you’ve got a York Region story to tell, contact Wayne: firstname.lastname@example.org