One-Tank Trip for April 8/17
(c) By Jim Fox
Orillia’s the place where they’ve even melted the ice at the great fishing spot, the Narrows connecting Lake Simcoe and Lake Couchiching.
The perch are waiting as the waters warm and they’ll be quick to take the bait.
If the fishers are lucky, they’ll pull in one of 70 tagged perch worth $500 each during the Orillia Perch Festival from April 22 to May 13.
|Boats and anglers jam the Narrows for the Orillia Perch Festival.|
There are also thousands of dollars in daily, weekly and grand prize draws including five tagged fish worth $1,000 each, three of them a Bonus Jackpot perch from Casino Rama, in this live-release program.
The Fishermen’s Dream Grand Prize is a Lund fishing boat with 50-horsepower Mercury motor and trailer sponsored by Gordon Bay Marine.
Children’s Grand Prizes include $1,000, $700 and $300 shopping sprees.
This is one of Canada’s largest registered fishing derbies and marks its 37th year.
“The Orillia Perch Festival attracts anglers of all ages,” said director Doug Bunker.
Those kicking off the fishing season at the festival are in for a good time.
|Kerri-Anne Jeffels of Orillia holds her tagged perch worth $500 from the Bayside Restaurant.|
“Yellow perch are very aggressive and offer a good fight when caught. This makes for good fishing and the stories that go with the sport,” Bunker said.
Every year the departure of the ice starts the spring progression of different fish species coming to area streams and shorelines.
Minnows and smelt are quickly followed by perch feeding on them only to be followed by pike and walleye that do the same to the perch, he explains.
|Fishing at the Narrows|
“It’s all about water temperature and oxygen levels at the beginning, with ideal weather having a bit of wind with warm nights.”
Good weather means the festival, hosted by the Orillia District Chamber of Commerce, will attract about 4,000 anglers, 20 per cent of them children.
“Fishing is a great sport as one can do it at any age with anybody any age,” Bunker said.
|The catch of the day for Nicole and Natalie at the festival.|
Among those catching earlier tagged perch were three-year-olds up to an 87-year-old grandma.
It’s become a multi-generational event for many families and friends, and even attracts participants from as far away as Japan, England and the United States.
Drop us a line
Opening day is April 22, with the closing on May 13 at 4 p.m.
Headquarters is Tudhope Park on Atherley Road and Highway 12 near the Narrows.
A popular special event is the OPP Kid’s Day on May 6 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. with casting and other accuracy sports at the park.
|Clowning around at the Orillia Perch Festival.|
The fishing registration fee is $20, $5 for children to age 16. orillia.com/perchfestival; 1-888-326-4424. To plan a getaway to Orillia or area: ontarioslakecountry.com
Other fishing fests
- Black Crappie Fishing Tournament, on Stoco Lake in Tweed, is on April 29; Ontario Kayak Fishing Series-Catfish, on the Grand River at Dunnville, May 6; Kiwanis Walleye World Fishing Derby, Bay of Quinte, Trenton, May 5 to 7; and the Fish Kincardine Derby, May 19 to 28.
|A big catch in Orillia worth $500 landed by long-time festival angler|
- There’s the Lake Muskoka Pike Open, Gravenhurst, May 20; Barrie Bassmasters, Sparrow Lake, June 3; and the Huntsville Pike Challenge, June 4.
Ontario Parks await
Don’t wait until there’s a no vacancy sign for a summer campsite at Ontario Parks: book now.
The provincial parks take reservations up to five months in advance, with most parks open from May or June to Labour Day or Thanksgiving weekend.
Popular parks such as Algonquin, Killbear, Pinery and Sandbanks fill up quickly.
More roofed accommodations are being added this year including Lake Huron’s Inverhuron with four new cabins.
Grundy Lake, Neys, Kettle Lakes, Silent Lake and Windy Lake parks have new cabins while Bon Echo has added prospector tents to its cabin and yurt rentals.
Oastler, Chutes and Charleston Lake parks have new electrical sites and Ivanhoe Lake has rebuilt the bridge to the popular picnic island. ontarioparks.com
Jim Fox can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
For more One-Tank Trips: http://1tanktrips.blogspot.ca