Family fishing expedition

Dad Ted Hart keeps an eye on his son Connor, while daughter Alexis gets a helping hand from grandpa Tim Cogghe. Sunny skies over Mitchell’s Bay on Family Day provided the perfect opportunity for the little ones to make their ice fishing debut. Pam Wright, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

By Pam Wright, The Chatham Voice Local Journalism Initiative Reporter


Connor Hart was pretty proud of his first ice-fishing catch.

The Wallaceburg youngster was one of dozens who hit the ice on Family Day, enjoying the sport beneath brilliant blue skies on Mitchell’s Bay.

The five-year-old didn’t have much to say about the experience but he was excited about showing a reporter the lone rock bass he caught through the ice.

His sister Alexis, 8, was more interested in examining the silvery bait minnows than she was in watching her fishing line in the augured hole.

Dad Ted Hart and grandpa Tim Cogghe, who did all of the heavy lifting, both said it was a “perfect day” to bring the kids out for their first ice-fishing experience.

Ice fishing on Lake St. Clair was almost a non-starter this winter with no cover in the lake until an Arctic blast settled over the region in mid-January.

The numbing temperatures did the job. Now the ice on Lake St. Clair ice at Mitchell’s Bay is more than a foot thick. It’s classified as “fast ice” by meteorological services, meaning it’s connected to the shore.

Although it came late, the ice was enthusiastically received by anglers and those who supply them.

Cathy Shaw, co-owner of Bass Haven in Mitchell’s Bay, said the ice is “definitely welcome for our business.

“It’s the longest season we’ve had in a few years,” Shaw said. “We just never know.”

The tackle shop, which offers a range of services for fishing and boating in all seasons, has been serving the public for 40 years.

Shaw said business has been steady, noting that warm weather on Family Day was ideal for ice fishing.

“It’s was such a nice day,” Shaw said. “Everybody got a chance to get outside and people and families really enjoyed it.”