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Ice fishing is still on thin ice

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One way to make winter more enjoyable is to get outside and take advantage of the many fishing opportunities in our region.

But the inconsistent weather is not only making that difficult, it's also affecting tourism and the bottom line.

"I can't wait. I can't wait – just out checking today to see where everything is," said one fisher.

While people are still waiting to head out on some parts of Lake Simcoe, many have been out for weeks in certain areas.

"This is a white fish. It's about a pound and a half – just caught it out in Kempenfelt Bay," said a second fisher.

Cook's Bay is usually one of the first sections to freeze over because of the shallow water. On Monday, it was busy with people looking for the big catch.

Mike Fava operates with Rippin Lips outdoors in Lefroy. His huts are still on shore. Last year he was out in the lake by January 18h.

"Right now what we're finding is it's pretty inconsistent – still some spots are three inches, other spots are four to five inches, so it's been pretty difficult at the moment," said Mike Fava, who operators Rippin Lips Outdoors.

Fava said he hopes to be out this weekend with his huts.

Up in Big Bay Point, Don Luchkiw is clearing a path to the lake in anticipation of getting his huts out there. It's a little later than normal, but only by about a week or two. Luchkiw expects things to get going quickly, especially with American visitors.

"About a quarter of our business are guys that come up from the states Michigan, PA, you know, just that side of the border. They want to come down for a day and smash some lakers and whiteys. We've got them covered. Yes, (we're getting) lots of calls, especially for our overnight sleeper huts," said Don Luchkiw of Bear Point Fish Hut Rentals.

This is plenty of action over Lake Couchiching too.

Debbie Martin at Cumberland Beach today said they have up to 11 inches in some areas.

However, people are being reminded that the ice is still very inconsistent in many areas and are encouraged to always have the proper gear and check with your nearest ice hut operator first.

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