Documentary and Street Photographer Nicolas St-Pierre is the Edge of Humanity Magazine contributor of this documentary photography.  From the project ‘The Ice Fishermen of Petrie Island’.  To see Nicolas’ body of work, click on any image.

 

The waters of the Ottawa River teem with crappies (shown here), perches, pikes and walleyes.

 

Deryk Price, also known as “Tin Man”, and his dog Rigaud. Price has fitted out his hut as a small cottage. “We’re just like kids building forts!”, he explains, speaking of the fishermen who set up their ice huts at Petrie Island year after year.

 

Jonathan Lalonde (left) and his friend Alexandre Jolin-Rodrigue (right) are about to take Jonathan’s “Redneck Rollercoaster” car for a ride around Petrie Island’s ice fishing “village” on a Sunday afternoon.

 

 Located on the traditional territory of the Algonquin Anishinaabe Nation 20 kilometers northeast of Ottawa, Canada, the Petrie Islands archipelago and its surrounding waters have been used by native Americans who hunted and fished there since ancient times. 

 

Yves Pilote poses before his ice hut at Petrie Island.

 

Zhong Xueliang immigrated to Saskatchewan, Canada, from China in the mid-2010s. He took up ice fishing two seasons ago after having moved to Ottawa.

 

Nowadays, the archipelago is a popular fishing spot for the residents of Canada’s National Capital Region who, each year in December, set up their tents and ice huts on the Ottawa River in the hope of catching some of the crappies, perches, pikes and walleyes teeming in the waters underneath. 

 

Réjean Cleroux, 63, has been fishing since his childhood. “I learned fishing before going to school!”, he recalls with a smile. During winter months, Cleroux spends his days at Petrie Island, where he noticed a significant increase in the number of people, including new Canadians, practicing ice fishing in recent years.

 

Benefitting from its affordability and the restrictions imposed on indoor activities as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, ice fishing has steadily gained popularity in recent years. Once mostly practiced by white middle-aged men, this quintessentially Canadian winter activity is now attracting a wider range of enthusiasts, including youths and immigrants. 

 

Allan MacIntyre, President of the Petrie Island Ice Fishermen Association (PIIFA). The Facebook group of PIIFA boasts more than 1,100 active members, a number that nearly doubled since 2020.

 

Ice fishing has steadily gained popularity in recent years. With approximately 120 ice huts, Petrie Island’s ice fishing “village” is the largest of its kind in Eastern Ontario.

 

Mooneye fish are a rare catch at Petrie Island.

 

 In 2022, The Ice Fishermen of Petrie Island was selected amongst the finalist projects of the URBAN Photo Awards in Trieste, Italy.

All images and text © Nicolas St-Pierre

 

 

 See also:

Out of Love for Large Animals

By  Nicolas St-Pierre

 

 

 

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