• Colpoy Bay Adventure

    It’s been several years since we had proper ice on Colpoy Bay, good solid blue ice which cracks and groans as it stretches under winter’s thumb. Hopefully it will be cold enough this year for that big bay to freeze over again, trapping the deep water under a clear, almost invisible shield. Like me, lots of area anglers have collapsible ice huts in their garages, barns or sheds, stuck into corners and waiting for a cold winter to arrive. Whenever the bay does freeze, the dusty old huts are pulled out of storage and readied for jigging whitefish.

    A couple of years ago when ice formed early on Colpoy, I invited a friend from the city to join me on the bay. The ice was a good six inches thick that winter but so clear in spots it looked like it was still open water. Patches of snow were scattered across the surface, dotting the blue ice like clouds in a summer sky. As we trekked across the wind polished surface at dawn, my companion hesitated to cross the clear sections because they didn't appear to be frozen at all. Finally, shivering from that bone-chilling Georgian Bay wind that makes warm clothing essential on open ice, we reached my hut and dug the drifts away. Within minutes the ice holes were cleared, my propane heater was singing away and our heavy coats were cast aside. I set up my portable fish locator, dropped down some bait with my chumming can and we got ready for an action-filed day.

    Our rods were poised above the holes as 100 feet below, the first wave of whitefish moved in to feed. It was a perfect day, the fish were hungry, we had some great snacks to munch when the action eased off and we were toasty warm even though the wind shrieked and howled outside and shook the canvas walls of my hut.

    It was really exciting as we huddled in the dark over our ice holes waiting for a bite. Every few minutes one of us would get a slight twitch of our rod tips, there would be a solid pull when we lifted our rods and then gleaming silver shapes could be seen twisting and turning in the shadows down below. We had a wonderful time catching big Georgian Bay whities but too soon the day was done and it was time to leave.

    The wind died as the sun was setting and while we packed our gear, full darkness fell. Under a sky full of stars, we pulled our sled across the ice with just a few house lights shining through trees along the distant shore. As we trudged back to shore, I thought it would be fun to show my companion an illusion I discovered another winter night. Pulling a big emergency light from the sled, I pointed it below our feet making the light’s beam shine through the ice and far into the depths of that clear water below us. Suddenly it seemed as if we were suspended in the sky among the stars, looking down from a great height. The illusion made us both step back as if from a cliff’s edge and my companion's protest made me turn the light away. It took minutes before we overcame the sensation of vertigo and could continue our travel across the ice.

    It was a trip to remember, ice fishing and travelling on frozen Colpoy Bay, enjoying an angler’s dream. When we were safe back on shore my friend described the adventure in these words: “What an experience, who would believe it? Walking in the sky and fishing in the clouds.”

    Grant Ferris
    Grey/Bruce Outdoors
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