|◘ Orillia Perch Festival||◘ Orillia Scottish Festival||◘ Vintage Auto Show|
The Orillia Perch Festival is an annual event, and has been running now for about 30 years, and is one of the largest fishing derbies in Canada. It usually runs from around the Middle of April to the first week or so in May. This year (2011) The Perch Festival began April 16th and runs to May 7th. The dates aren't exactly the same each year, but very close.
You can check out the Perch Festival at the Orillia Chamber of Commerce page for registration costs and locations, and a phone number and mailing address for those out of town.
Opening ceremonies are usually held the the evening before and closing ceremones are held on the day of closing. Registration is required, and is available for adults and children. There is usually a special Kids Day.
Before the fishing derby begins, the Orillia Fish and Game Conservation Club members catch and tag perch, and release them back into the water. Approximately 70 Fish are tagged with prizes, from cash to items like a fishing boat (grand prize), generators, fishing excursions. Each year the prices differ. There are two perch out there in those waters tagged with $3,000 each (sponsored by Casino Rama), and Walmart has a tagged fish with a $3,000 shopping spree. A couple of years ago one of our friends won the grand prize of a boat. motor and trailer.
This year we went out on Easter weekend to have a look at the narrows and see how many fishermen were on the water. I think we saw 3 or 4 boats, which is pretty unusual. There have been many years when the narrows was packed with boats, from side to side. I've also seen years where the water was still frozen near the shore, and the only open spots were in the middle of the narrows where the current is fairly strong. This year the water in the narrows is open right to the shoreline, but at the start of the Perch Festival there were still areas with ice on top.
If you plan to attend the perch festival from out of town, pack wisely. For April, in this area you can expect almost any type of weather - from cold and snow, to warm spring temperatures and rain. Shops in the area that cater to sportsmen and fishermen are well stocked at this time of year, so if you've forgotten something, you can probably find it. Trombly's Tackle Box is a short drive from Tudhope Park along Highway 12 at the corner of West Street and Highway 12. Ellwood Epps (Highway 11 North) is an experience by itself. If you haven't been there and you're a sporting type, you might want to go just for a visit.
Signs from some of the sponsors for the Orillia Perch Festival. These are being displayed along the side the Highway at Tudhop Park, which is considered the home base for the fishing activities. (above and below)