Fire and Ice: Newcomer ice fishing on Lake Winnipeg

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Project: Food Skills & Nutrition

On the chilly morning of February 25th, Food Matters Manitoba partnered with Jesse and Richard, two local fishers from Grand Marais Manitoba to host an ice fishing event for newcomers on the icy shores of Lake Winnipeg.

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Admiring the vastness of Lake Winnipeg

Lake Winnipeg is often admired for its sheer size. At almost 25,000 square kilometers, it is the 10th largest lake in the world. In the extreme Manitoba winter temperatures, over 3 feet of ice can form, to create a solid platform for winter recreational activities including snowmobiling, cross country skiing, and even fishing.

Despite the months of freezing temperatures, fish still dwell beneath the surface, and offer an exciting opportunity for newcomers to Canada to experience a popular Canadian past time.The event welcomed over 40 participants from Karen and Syrian backgrounds who, despite language barriers, worked together to prepare rods, clip barbs, and partake in an afternoon of fishing.

The catch of the day!

The catch of the day!

“There was this really incredible moment as the bus peaked the bank overlooking the lake, and the participants got their first look at the vastness of the ice,” remarked Daniel Gladu Kanu, Program Coordinator at Food Matters Manitoba. “The whole bus went silent in a moment of awe, then the excitement took over.”

There was hardly a moment of rest as the participants prepared their rods and headed towards the lake, finding the perfect hole and settling down. Participants brought tea to share, and a bonfire was built for warmth. Although only one fish was caught throughout the entire afternoon, the sharing of knowledge, warmth and experience is really what was taken away.

The afternoon ended as a cold wind set onto the lake, and everyone cleaned up their spots and headed back to the bus. The guides took the time to answer questions, with the support of translators, and then they began the long ride back to Winnipeg.

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