Back when he lived in La Tabatiere in Quebec’s lower north shore, Rick Cormier enjoyed ice fishing.

He didn’t think he’d get the chance to go again when he moved to Gatineau last month.

But yesterday, the 10-year-old got a pleasant surprise when he and his family went to Winterlude at Jacques Cartier Park.

The third annual Ice Fishing in Outaouais event introduces people from both sides of the Ottawa River to the quintessential Canadian pastime.

While Cormier didn’t need any advice, he was in the minority, said event co-ordinator Jean Provost.
This is the first time ice fishing for almost all the participants, said Provost, a biologist with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Wildlife in Quebec.

This weekend, and over the next two weekends, an estimated 1,500 people will try their hand at ice fishing.

Through a free course, children learn about fish biology, fishing regulations, techniques and a pastime practiced by many in the region, Provost said.

Organizers stocked 1,500 rainbow trout in a seven-by-20-metre cage below the ice for participants to catch —and keep.

While ice fishing experienced a decline in popularity over the last 10 years, it’s seen a resurgence in the last year, said Provost.

Although the program might be one reason, Provost said many people realized how conducive the area is to the activity.

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