Put-in-Bay renovation project may upset ice fishing business - Toledo News Now, Breaking News, Weather, Sports, Toledo

Put-in-Bay renovation project may upset ice fishing business

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PUT-IN-BAY (Toledo News Now) -

Ice fishing is a big business in Ottawa County when there's ice. Unlike recent years, there's ice this year and that's good news for tourism officials.

"It's a huge impact - easily hundreds of thousands of dollars, maybe in the millions because of the number of people that come here from a wide geographic area," said Larry Fletcher of Lake Erie Shores and Islands.

But a project starting next week on South Bass Island has some fishermen questioning its timing. A tugboat will break up the ice many people fish on between Catawba Island and South Bass.

"It could blow the ice out," said George Smith. "Open up cracks and move the ice around a little bit."

And that's the Miller Ferry Boat route. It will be used to haul equipment and materials to the island to renovate Put-in-Bay's downtown marina.

The concern is that the break-up will affect fishing off the northern tip of Catawba and possibly the western side.

"If it starts blowing out of the northeast it could ruin our water here off Catawba. It will slow down fishing real quick. We'll be off the ice," said Eddie Ehrbar.

Meanwhile, the contractor of the marina renovation says he's not to blame for the timing of all this. The contract was put out in November by island officials.

The project will take four months to complete.

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