Ice Fishing for Beginners

By: Calvin Joseph

 Ice fishing is one of many ways to enjoy the great outdoors during the winter months.  Let’s face it, winter is and will always be part of our life for five months out of the year.  In years past, we’ve enjoyed mild winters and have also had to contend with this thing they call the Polar Vortex – Yigh!

One of many ways I like to enjoy the outdoors is to go ice fishing on the many lakes that are within our area.  There are so many ways to do this and still enjoy it to the fullest. Whether it is renting an ice shack for the day or using a portable ice hut, we can still enjoy the outdoors with the comforts of heat, especially during those cold days on the lake.

 There are so many products on the market today that can make the day that much more enjoyable.  Sometimes it can be overwhelming on shopping for such items, especially with all that they have on the market.  For the beginner ice fishermen, there are certain tools and supplies that you will need to get started. Here are some of the essentials that you will most likely need:

 

  1. Ice Fishing Rod/Reel Combo – A spinning outfit is probably the way to go, a medium 26 – 28” rod spooled with 8lb. test fishing line.  This set up is ideal because it is versatile in a sense that you can catch the smallest Crappie to catching Walleyes and the fair sized Lake Trout that are abundant on the beautiful Lake of the Woods.

 

  1.      Manual Auger – I started out with a Bologna powered Auger, which is fine nowadays.  They make them so well and so sharp without having to dish out loads of money for a gas powered or even electric powered auger.  A manual auger is an inexpensive item that is essential to this sport. A 6” to 8“ auger is ideal because it is a practical size for pulling pan sized fish to trophy sized fish through the hole.  You can find these at the local sporting goods store anywhere from $40 – $100.

 

  1.      Tackle – There are so many options out there that it becomes overwhelming in making the right purchase.  I will break it down based on the three main sought after fish that can be caught on this lake:

Walleye – ¼ oz. Jig with any type of colour choice tipped with a live minnow; good for  shallow or deep water fishing.  A bright coloured Jigging Spoon ¼ oz. to 3/8 oz. tipped with a Minnow Head based on preference and water depth.   You will mostly find these fish in 20 to 40 feet of water. Straight to the bottom is the way to go.

Crappie – 1/16 oz. Coloured Jig tipped with a live minnow or a micro tungsten coloured jig tipped with a live or plastic 2” mimic minnow.  You can also use smaller jigging spoons as well. These fish can be found in back bays finding the deepest bowl of the bay in 10 – 30 feet of water.

Trout – A silver or gold coloured Spoon sized ¼ oz to 3/8 oz. is ideal, these fish are found in deeper water so it is a must to fish heavier type tackle.  A white or pearl coloured plastic tube bait with a ¼ oz. to ½ oz. jig is an absolute must in trying to catch a Lake Trout, these fish are often fooled by this particular hook because of its erratic movement in the water column.  These fish can be found in 20 to 100 feet of water, they suspend so they can be caught throughout all depths of the water column.

    

  1. Ice Hut – This is optional, of course!  If you plan on enjoying the heat of a portable heater or bringing kids to this adventure, then it is always good to have a portable ice hut.  Whether it is a place to warm up or fish stationary, the luxury of heat on those particular days makes the day much more enjoyable for you, the wife and the kids.  Try to go as big as your budget can go. A 3-4 person ice hut is size enough for your gear and visitors.

 

  1.      Be Safe – Always let others know where you’ll be fishing and what time you’ll be back.  There are areas out there that are unsafe for fishing. Tag along with someone who knows the lake and you’ll find out right quick the knowledge to understand the importance of being safe on the ice.  Don’t hesitate to ask questions about the lake, they have apps that you can purchase on the smartphone – Navionics and Lakemaster are the ones primarily used in our area that will show the contours and depths of our lake and where you can locate some of the target species.

 

February 18, 2019 is Family Day, the community will often host a family Fish Derby during this day; they usually have awesome prizes and categories to the winners so be on the lookout for posters as this is a family affair. Try your luck and I’ll guarantee you will have fun doing so.  Good luck, be safe and good fishing.

Calvin Joseph is currently the guidance counsellor at Baibombeh Anishinaabe School.

Recognized animal caregiver: Local resident caring for all living creatures

By: Donna Namaypoke

On Saturday December 8, 2018, just before 11:00 am, my mother phoned me to tell

photo video credit melissa
Jyles Copenace prepares to capture the snowy owl (Photo credit: Isaac Kavanaugh)

me that she’s over by the garbage can in the west end so naturally my reply is “oh”.  She then proceeded to tell me that she was driving and Brian Copenace, who was sanding our roads at the time, stopped her and pointed towards the garbage can and that’s when my mother saw a beautiful snowy owl sitting in the middle of the road.

“I think it’s injured and there are a couple of ravens bothering it,” she said, asking what could be done. So I messaged Jyles Copenace to see if he was in the community and could go and check on it.

She said she would stay there and wait. I immediately messaged Jyles, who was pretty quick to respond and say he would be right over.

About an hour and a half  later, Jyles messaged me and told me he got the owl and that it was  malnourished but should be fine. He thanked me for calling on him and asking for his assistance. Meanwhile I’m thinking, “Who else would I call” but replied with, “No problem”.

You see, this past summer my mother-in-law called and said there is an injured eagle over by her place. After exchanging a conversation regarding the eagle, we hung up and I continued on with my day at home. About two hours later, she called again and said that eagle had moved.

Sure enough there was this beautiful golden eagle sitting in the tall grass. I tried to go close to it just to see if I could force it to fly away, but it didn’t. Instead it flapped its wings and hopped further way.

Not wanting to stress it out, I backed away. I decided to call the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF). The man on the phone  replied that at the moment they didn’t have the manpower to deal with injured animals and that there were many wildfires in the region. He did give me the name of a woman and a phone number, which I called and left a voicemail.

After waiting and hoping that the lady would call, I decided to call the MNRF again. This time a man asked me where in Ontario.  “Whitefish Bay right by Sioux Narrows,” I said.

“Isn’t there a guy there that helps out injured birds?” he said.  I asked him if he was referring to Jyles Copenance and he agreed.  

I said I would see if he was in the community as it was pow wow season, and usually he and his family are traveling, but luckily he wasn’t. Jyles said he would be over as soon as they are done eating. I told him that we would  wait there with the eagle until he arrived.

He and his family arrived within a half hour and right away he said that it was not a golden eagle, but a young bald eagle! He explained to us that the birds look like golden eagles when they are young and that the feathers change.I had no idea that he knew so much about them.

Jyles and his son decided that his son would walk to the left of the eagle while Jyles went to the right and whichever way the owl would move, then the closest one would throw a blanket on him.

It was all very interesting to watch, especially how efficient they were, like it was an everyday thing.  I asked him a week later how the eagle was doing and he said he had it at his house for a couple days and released it at my mother-in-law’s. It flew away without any issues.

As of this morning, December 10, 2018, the snowy owl was released in good health. Thank you Jyles!

The Responsibility of all to Our Environment

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Xavier interviewing professor John Iacozza (Photo credit: Brooke Swoffer)

By: Xavier Ranville

Recently, I went to a two-day Youth Summit on Climate Change in Kenora with a few other high school students and teachers from across Treaty 3. It was interesting to learn about how climate change will affect the future. Speakers explained in what ways we will notice more climate change as time goes on.

I can already see what it’s doing to the planet and everything that lives on it. When I was a kid, there was a lot of snow, and we could build snowmen and go sliding, but now, sometimes the snow isn’t deep enough to slide and it isn’t that much fun and it’s also dangerous.

I’ve learned from the conference that we can prevent further damage from happening to our planet. This includes being aware of one’s own responsibility to stop putting pollutants into the atmosphere with their unhealthy daily routines.

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Allan and Ryan White of Naotkamegwanning First Nation (Photo Credit: Xavier Ranville)

An example where climate change is being affected the most is in the Canadian Arctic. This was explained by one of the speakers, Dr. John Iacozza, a professor at the University of Manitoba, who has spent over two decades of living and researching in the Arctic.

Iacozza explained in an interview that it is in our lifetime that the effects of warming, on animals and people, will be irreversible.

He said that more recently, people are speaking about the lack of action on climate change and that more of his research and expertise is being called upon internationally.  

“More and more, it is understood especially in the Canadian government, climate change is happening and is a major problem in the north as well as the south,” he said. “There are steps being taken, especially with the engagement of the Inuit and the other communities in the north, to deal with climate change.

“To work with economic development in a more sustainable way, we can have both, we just have to do it in a better way that we have in the past,” he said.

Iacozza provided steps youth (and adults) can take in helping to reduce the impact of climate change in the north:

1) Appreciate that climate change is happening and understand that it’s happening and it’s not something that people have made up or things like that.

2) To understand that what we do down in the south effects what happens in the north.

3)  Start working with other communities in the north to better understand the impacts of climate change, and that economic development needs to happen in a sustainable way

On the second day, during our lunch break, the organizers handed us a set of questions to answer and hand in for marking. Near the end of the conference, they added up the marks to who answered the most questions correctly.

When they said that the winner was from our school, I wondered who it could be. Then they said my name! I walked up to the front table to receive a MacBook, then later took pictures with it and was congratulated.DSC_0266

The conference was hosted by Grand Council Treaty #3 and was held at Seven Generations Education Institute. Baibombeh Anishinaabe School student attendees were Isaac Kavenaugh, Ireland Bird, Danton Monias, Drayston White, Dorian Fair, Corban Crow, Carmen Loon, Mackenzie Blackhawk, Lucey Oshie and Xavier Ranville.