The history of the "poulamon"/tomcod on the Ste Anne river

Every year, for now more than 75 years, about 600 cabins fill the Ste-Anne river. These illuminated cottages create a festive ambiance on and off the ice. From December 26th until mid February, Sainte-Anne de la Pérade becomes the worldwide renowned capital of the tomcod ice-fishing. People of all ages can enjoy this fishing activity in a magical atmosphere.

The beginning

The tomcod was discovered by sheer luck in 1938 when a Péradien ,who was cutting blocks of ice, saw fish under the ice. From then on, private individuals began teasing the tomcod. Little by little, ice-fishing gained in popularity and people from out of town got interested in this now famous fishing activity. Back in the days, people would arrive by train and were welcomed in dog sleds. Nowadays, people can easily get on the ice with their own cars :)

How do we install the cabins ?

Once the weather is cold enough to freeze the river, the outfitters help the latter to thicken. To do so, they either use pumps that sprinkle the water from the river over the ice or they drill holes that allow the water to pass over the ice. These techniques to thicken and secure the ice are done every year before the cabin installation.

Around mid-December, outfitters install power poles and cabins gradually appear on the ice. The cabins are transported, from the land to the frozen river, on sleds pulled by tractors. The first move of the installation is to cut the fishing hole with a chain saw. Once this is done, the removed ice is cut and reused as pillars for the cabin. Of course, the cabin will then be insulated with lots of snow.

Back in the days, the installation task was way longer since the outfitters had to cut the ice with a two-handed saw and cabins were pulled by horses :)

Tomcod « Poulamon » – Identity Card

Scientific name : Poulamon d'Atlantique and Microgadus Tomcod (Walbaum)
Common name : Poulamon, Petit poisson des chenaux, Poisson de Noël, Petite morue, Loche ou Tommy Cod
Length : Male 150 mm • Female 185 mm
Life span : 3 year average • 8 years (maximum)
Fertility : min. 1000 eggs • Average 8600 eggs • Max. 46 000 eggs
Weight : 45 grams (record : 570 grams)