Why is this Quebec tradition being challenged?

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On the banks of the frozen river, hundreds of colorful walled cabins are set up while cars drive slowly by. This year, the ice fishing season only started on January 15 in Sainte-Anne-de-la-Pérade, 90 kilometers south of Quebec City.

It’s impossible to start without a minimum ice thickness of 30 centimeters. “We’re in the top 5 of the latest seasons,” says Steve Massicotte from the Association of fishing and hunting centers (called “outfitters”) of the Sainte-Anne River.

“There are years when we catch over a thousand fish in a day,” he assures. “There aren’t many solutions because without ice, we can’t set up cabins,” sighs the gray-haired man.

“We can’t fight against nature.” This ice fishing for smelts, also known as “little cod,” usually attracts about 100,000 visitors to Sainte-Anne-de-la-Pérade, mostly Quebecers but also tourists from far away places like China and Russia.

Amateur fisherman Simon Provencher, 36, who came with his family and friends, is delighted: “We catch fish much more easily here than in real fishing. It bites all by itself!”

When the weather allows it.

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