My job as a bass tournament angler brings me all over North America and I get to meet a lot of people from the southern United States, where the majority of our events happen. I see many of my southern friends posting on social media when they see a snowflake or when the temperature drops slightly below freezing, declaring winter has set in. It makes me laugh.
Some of these same folks see my posts about ice fishing and they often ask me “you actually drill a hole in the ice and go fishing? What is wrong with you?” I love ice fishing but this weather that we’ve been getting over the past couple of weeks has made me wonder a few times, why in fact do we live here in NW Ontario?
When I’m talking on the phone to some of my southern buddies and they ask about our winter temperatures and conditions I often describe our situation by telling them that we get “real winter”. We get lots of snow, extended periods of cold temperatures and we can drive our trucks around on the lake for three months of the year. When I tell them it’s -38 today with the wind chill, they ask me what that actually feels like. I just tell them it’s not very pleasant. I’ve been in the south during the summer months and experienced +38 degrees with high humidity, where you’re sweating in the morning before the sun even rises and that’s not very pleasant either.
Speaking of ice fishing and driving trucks on the lake, a lot of my southern friends seem like they would be more scared of going on the ice in a vehicle than they would be to be locked in the same vehicle with a deadly snake, which they live with in the south. They would probably change their mind if they spent a week with us here in January.
The reality is that winter is harsh in our part of the World. It’s amazing that the animals can live through the stretches of cold that we have. After a couple of easy winters with minimal snow, we’ve received significant snow fall this winter. It’s beautiful, the forest could use the hydration in the spring and our lakes could certainly use a little fill up but I feel bad for the deer and other animals that have to gut it out for a few more months, working hard for every bite of food that they have to dig down and get.
Most folks in NW Ontario embrace winter and make the most of it. It provides a reset on our outdoor environment and allows us to mix up our activities throughout the year. When it comes to ice fishing, we have some of the best opportunities in the World outside our door on some amazing bodies of water. We do it for the adventure, to have fun and to catch dinner.
In a few weeks I’m headed south to start a new fishing season in Florida and when I get down there, it’s easy to enjoy the sun and warm temperatures. I do often wonder why people would put themselves through the tough winters that we get because it’s certainly a lot more work to live and be outside.
Thankfully, our summers are beautiful with near perfect temperatures. It’s for that reason, along with the great fishing we have, that I have no interest in living anywhere else. I enjoy having four seasons but I can tell you that this cold snap we’ve received over the past couple of weeks has made me think about heading south sooner rather than later.