Ice Fishing Event welcomes all to the Bridgenorth Winter Panfish Festival

The Kawarthas Lakes have long been known for great fishing opportunities.

Since January, the area has also become home to year round fishing. In celebration of the new winter fishing season in the Kawartha Lakes region, the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters’ (O.F.A.H.) TackleShare program has partnered with Clear View Organizing, the Ministry of Natural Resources and other businesses and organizations to host the Bridgenorth Winter Panfish Festival (BWPF). The event will take place on Saturday, February 13, during Ontario Family Fishing Weekend, which runs from Saturday February 13 through to Monday, February 15, the provincial Family Day holiday.

“Ice fishing is a favorite Canadian pastime. We’re looking forward to taking part in the Bridgenorth Winter Panfish Festival, and to enjoying many years of great winter fishing here in the Kawarthas,” said Mike Reader, O.F.A.H. Executive Director.

The public is encouraged to dress warmly and come out to the James A. Gifford Causeway on Chemong Lake for a full day of outdoor fun. Admission is free, fishing gear will be on loan for novices, and a bus will shuttle participants between the lake and designated parking lots. Peterborough MP Dean Del Mastro and MPP Jeff Leal, and Smith-Ennismore-Lakefield Reeve Ron Millen are planning to attend, and will bring greetings at noon. There will be prizes for the kids, a raffle for the adults, and hot food and drinks will be available. Cam Brownson, host of Angler and Hunter Television will be on hand to document the event for an upcoming episode.

“This is the first winter fishing season in the Kawarthas in more than 80 years, so we wanted to celebrate by inviting the entire community to come out and try winter fishing,” said event spokesperson, Mike Brown. “We are delighted to have the O.F.A.H. TackleShare program as our festival sponsor and we’re thankful for the tremendous support we’ve received from both the fishing industry and local businesses.”

Fast Facts:

  • The BWPF runs 10am – 4pm at the Causeway in Bridgenorth/Ennismore. Admission is free, but any donations will go to the Peterborough & District United Way.
  • Safety first. Check conditions before you head out on the ice and frequently while out. Clear ice should be at least 10 cm (4 inches) for walking. Anything less is not safe. Carry rescue equipment and a whistle or cell phone.
  • O.F.A.H. TackleShare is a charitable program that loans rods and reels to first time anglers in much the same way as libraries loan books. There are over 100 lending sites in Ontario, including many Ontario parks and community libraries. Visit www.tackleshare.com to learn more.
  • Major BWPF sponsors include the O.F.A.H., Clear View Organizing, the MNR, Shimano, CHEX TV, STC, Bridgenorth Marine and Bob Izumi’s Kids, Cops and Canadian Tire. Locally, support was provided by Lucky Strike Baitworks, the Kawartha Lakes Chapter of Muskies Canada, Country Blessings B & B, Currie Tire, Chris Giles Outdoors, John McGoey Fishing and Lures and Tours.
  • Ontario Family Fishing Weekend is an initiative of the Ministry of Natural Resources. The program includes a winter weekend and a summer event in July, which runs concurrent with National Fishing Week. The OFFW Steering Committee is comprised of the O.F.A.H., MNR, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, and the Canadian Sportfishing Industry Association.
  • The Kawartha Lakes are part of Fisheries Management Zone (FMZ) 17, a designation that includes parts of Durham Region and Northumberland County. There are 20 FMZ’s in Ontario.

With 100,000 members, subscribers and supporters, and 660 member clubs, the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters is the leading nonprofit fishing, hunting and conservation-based organization in Ontario. To learn more, visit www.ofah.org.