By The Canadian Press on December 25, 2023.
SAINTE-ANNE-DE-LA-PÃ‰RADE, Que. – Mild weather is delaying the start of the ice fishing season at a popular spot for winter anglers southwest of Quebec City.
For 85 years, ice fishing enthusiasts have gathered in the town of Sainte-Anne-de-la-Pérade and set up camp on the Sainte-Anne River, a St-Lawrence River tributary and winter breeding ground for the migratory Atlantic tomcod.
The fishing season traditionally begins around Christmas, but temperatures this year have prevented the formation of ice thick enough to safely support the hundreds of fishing cottages that usually dot the waterway. Officials have been watering the river surface for weeks, but on Christmas Day it was still short of the 10-inch ice depth target.
“This festive season, we were so excited to bring you a wonderful announcement as a Christmas gift: the imminent opening of our 86th ice fishing season,” the organization that manages local fishing activities, the Association des pourvoyeurs de la riviÃ¨re Sainte-Anne, wrote on social media Monday morning. “But, as you know, we’ll all have to be a little more patient… Nature has her own plans.”
Though evidence of sustainable ice formation led the association to aim for a Dec. 26 ice fishing start earlier this month, rain and temperatures of up to 9 C dashed those hopes.
More rain and positive temperatures are in the forecast for the area this week, according to Environment Canada. In the nearby city of Trois-RiviÃ¨res, temperatures aren’t expected to plunge several degrees below freezing until Friday, but could remain consistently frigid through the weekend.
Environment Canada historical weather data shows the average daily December temperature for Sainte-Anne-de-la-Pérade was -7.9 C between 1981 and 2010.
Mild weather postponed the beginning of ice fishing on the Sainte-Anne river last year, too, but the spot still drew as many as 75,000 visitors over the course of the 2023 season, the Association des pourvoyeurs de la riviÃ¨re Sainte-Ann reported in February.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 25, 2023.