So, who says there’s nothing to do in our area during the winter – with the opening of the Highland’s Sno Park and now Sitzmark Ski Area (see page A9), those that like to shush through the snow on skis or boards have a perfect opportunity close by.
For the angler, or those that just like to watch, the Northwest Ice Fishing Festival is this Saturday and I hope everyone gets a chance to participate, whether out on the ice at Sidley Lake or inside the Molson Grange Hall. There is a little bit of everything from fishing to food, arts and crafts and music and is always an enjoyable time.
While I haven’t ice fished for several years I enjoy walking around on the lake and talking with the anglers, learning what special techniques they’re trying to tempt the fish onto their line and perhaps partaking in a beverage to keep me warm. It was particularly fun last year when the date was moved up from February for the first time as several fish were caught and it became a real contest to see who would win.
This year the ice is thick and there have already been quite a few who are having pre-fest success out on the lake, reports Marcus Alden, who is working with the Oroville Chamber of Commerce to promote the event. He told the Oroville City Council and the Chamber of Commerce that participation is expected to be larger than normal. After a trip to Osoyoos he said a Canadian film crew might be on hand as those north of us would like to promote their area as a place to come and ice fish in the winter.
Alden also said that there are a lot of vendors who will be on hand in the Grange Hall. All the tables had been filled except two, according to Alden.
The Pine Wood Derby races will also be back, this time participants can be of any age. It’s a good time to brush off that old derby car and see if it still has what it takes to compete.
It’s unfortunate, but the dog sledding demonstration won’t happen this year – it’s a lot of fun to go for a ride with Rev. Gary Forgey, but circumstances won’t allow him to participate this year.
I used to ice fish with my friend Greg out on Lake Osoyoos, but when the wind started to blow and it got cold I headed back to shore. I guess you’d say I’m a fair weather ice fisher. However, one year we made a portable ice hut out of three sheets of plywood, some hinges, a large dowel, a blue tarp and an old pair of skis. We’d pull it out on the lake, jam the dowel between the two plywood walls and fish through a couple of holes cut through the plywood floor. We had a two five gallon plastic buckets to sit on and even an old Coleman stove to keep us warm. That’s my idea of ice fishing.
The fishing festival is more than just a good time, money raised each year helps to keep Oroville’s Visitor Information Center going. The festival was th idea of Robin Stice from Eden Valley Ranch. She felt it would be a good fundraiser back when the chamber ran the VIC. Now that the Borderlands Historical Society has taken over operation of the center, the chamber still sponsors the festival as a way of supporting this important link between the community and visitors to our area.
Come on out and register to fish at 7 a.m. Saturday morning or come out for breakfast and to cheer on the anglers.