New winter fishery presents fun challenge for P.E.I. anglers

Anglers on P.E.I. are being given a chance to fish for perch through the ice this year, in an experiment to see if a regular fishery is viable.

‘The perch were not where we thought they’d be’

The catch from this year's fishery is being tracked to see if a regular fishery is viable. (Richards Bait and Tackle/Facebook)

Anglers on P.E.I. are being given a chance to fish for perch through the ice this year, in an experiment to see if a regular fishery is viable.

The licence is free, but you have to apply and report all you catch. Because the perch are coastal, the province is partnering with Fisheries and Oceans Canada on the project.

David Richards, owner of Richards Bait and Tackle in Alberton, is one of the Islanders who has one of the new licences.

"It's a little struggle to find them because we've never had a nice winter fishery up here for perch before," Richards told Island Morning host Mitch Cormier.

He and his sons got organized in advance of the fishery, heading out on the ice, drilling some holes and scouting with a GoPro camera to see where the fish were. He said it was pretty exciting to spot some, but the fish turned out to be smarter than they thought.

David Richards says his family is spoiled, but you actually only need a minimal amount of gear. (Experience P.E.I./Facebook)

"Lo and behold the perch were not where we thought they'd be. They swim," he said.

But Richards said he and his family, three generations worth, are still having a good time out on the ice. It doesn't take much in the way of gear, he said, just an ice auger and an ice-fishing pole.

He said his own family is spoiled, with a gas-powered auger, an ice-fishing tent and propane heaters.

"You don't need all that stuff. You can just get there with your bucket and your auger, a little bit of bait. It's a little cooler but it's still nice to enjoy the great outdoors," said Richards.

Finding another reason to get his grandchildren outside has been particularly nice during the pandemic, when kids have been even more tempted than usual to sit at home in front of a screen.

More from CBC P.E.I.

With files from Island Morning


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