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DMCI Anglers hit the ice

Article by Jared Story, photos courtesy of DMCI

Daniel McIntyre Collegiate Institute is bringing new meaning to the phrase “school of fish.”

The McIntyre Anglers program sees DMCI students learning the lure of fishing. Launched in 2015 by English teacher Benjamin Paul, the open water program reeled in 40 students its first year, and is now full to the gills, with approximately 200 participants.

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This winter, for the first time, a group of McIntyre Anglers are hitting the ice, with Paul taking 16 of his fledgling fishers on ice fishing adventures in January, February and March.

“Thanks to our community partners, like Manitoba Fisheries, our students are connecting with nature. They are learning about the world around them. There are so many teachable moments that you wouldn’t even think to teach someone that just happen when you fish,” Paul said.

“With ice fishing, they’re learning that the greenback walleye, starting in late fall, start chasing the emerald shiners into the Red River. There is this great migration of walleye from Lake Winnipeg. I have students asking ‘Why are we catching walleye in the Red River in the winter when in the summer it’s so hard?’ I explain that these fish they have habits. It’s seasonal. It’s this unbelievable mechanism of nature.”

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DMCI angler with a Greenback Walleye.

If McIntyre Anglers participants want to learn about the migration patterns of specific fish species, Paul is happy to oblige. That said, if they just want to drop a hook down a hole and wait, well, that’s fine too.

“Some kids are more interested in the sciencey stuff and some kids just want to have fun,” Paul said.

Students are also finding that fishing is a great way to calm the mind.

“Fishing is such a relaxing activity that offers us the opportunity to relieve from stresses of school while still learning about nature,” said student Czyrene Javier.

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Student holds up a White Sucker fish during a recent DMCI Anglers outing.

Angling is calming, that is, until you hook the big one. Paul said he has a couple new Canadians in his group that are experiencing the thrill of ice fishing for the first time.

“It’s kind of a mind-blowing experience for them to go on the lake, drill a hole through the ice and catch fish underneath their feet. It’s an awesome experience,” he said.

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Our rivers and lakes may appear frozen, but fish like this Perch are thriving under the ice.

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