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Ice-fishing trailblazers

Paul Bickford
Northern News Services

Yellowknife (Mar 14/05) - This year, two ice-fishing shacks sit at the mouth of the Hay River. And the two ice-fishing enthusiasts in the shacks feel it is a sport that could become popular in Hay River.

"I think it might start catching on," says Tammy Caudron, noting many people drop in to see what it's all about. "There seems to be a lot of interest."

Tammy Caudron ouside her ice-fishing shack at the mouth of the Hay River. - Paul Bickford/NNSL photo

Caudron notes recreational ice fishing is not as popular in Hay River as it is in Yellowknife and Alberta.

However, she says it's an awesome winter activity.

"Sometimes it's not about catching a fish," she explains, adding it's more about chatting with friends. "It's relaxing."

While sitting and chatting, fishers might also catch a jackfish or pickerel.

This is the third year Caudron has had a shack on the river, and for the first two years she was alone on what she has named Jackfish Drive - a branch off the ice road to the Hay River Reserve's Old Village.

A stone's throw from Caudron's shack is one owned by Fraser Pike, who says he has always loved ice fishing.

This is the first year Pike has had a shack on the river.

Pike agrees ice-fishing is not as popular in Hay River as in some other places. "I don't know why it hasn't been, because it's lots of fun."

Pike says ice-fishing offers fresh air, a break from the telephone and good company with friends, noting his shack can comfortably hold six people.

"You're in town and you're out of town," he explains.

Caudron's first shack was a small one just to try out the river.

This winter she built a larger eight-by-eight-foot shack for about $200. The tarp-covered structure features a wood floor, battery-powered lighting, tables and chairs, a propane stove, and a fishing hole in each corner.

"I'm going to make a bigger one next year with a wood stove in the middle," Caudron says, adding she would also like to add glass windows on top to view the northern lights.

She would still keep her current shack. "This would be my spare one for visitors."