Thunder Bay area tourism pinched by unpredictable weather
Opening of walleye season finds ice still on northern lakes
Wilderness outfitters fear climate change is cutting into their business as the spring thaw is so late many lakes in northwestern Ontario still have ice on them.
For instance, there will be no boats on Kashabowie Lake, northwest of Thunder Bay, for the opening of walleye season this coming weekend.
Kashabowie Lodge owner Leo Hockenhull said there is still ice on the lake.
"You couldn't walk on it. It's pretty rotten. But it's still a sheet of ice," Hockenhull said.
We're roughly two weeks behind the usual start to the fishing season, said Alan Cheeseman, president of Wilderness North.
He said with word spreading about ice clogging lakes up north, reservations by anglers are down.
"They're not just booking right now. So we hope in the next two or three weeks we're going to pick up the people that are not, who are just waiting for the weather to change," Cheeseman said.
"The changes are the extremities we're seeing, extreme temperature and climate changes we're seeing each year. You know, we don't want to lose these shoulder seasons, the beginning or the end of any of our seasonal business."
He said it's tough to continue a seasonal business with unpredictable weather.
In Thunder Bay, tourism manager Paul Pepe said he feels the spring tourist season isn't completely lost.
"There's been a trend the last couple of years toward last-minute bookings, where people will get up and look at the five-day forecast, and make a decision on fairly short order to make a trip up to Thunder Bay," he said.
Pepe said a good weather forecast can make the difference between an empty resort and a full one.