Anglers everywhere rejoice when Ontario’s lakes and waterways freeze over. The ice fishing season has started! Some anglers enjoy the solitude of the sport, while others enjoy the atmosphere of camaraderie that a hut on a frozen lake provides. What are you waiting for if you haven’t tried it yet? To whet your ice fishing appetite, here are tips to be safe and ten iconic Ontario destinations, such as lake Simcoe or lake Nipissing.
Best Ice Fishing Spots In Ontario
The Lakes of Algoma Country – Best Ice Fishing Spots In Ontario
Algoma Country, bordered by Lake Superior and Lake Huron, and dotted with countless inland lakes and rivers, is a year-round playground for hard water anglers.
At Wakomata Lake Cottages on Highway 129, you can get the full experience, from outfitted ice fishing to comfortable lakeside cabins. Dunlop Lake Lodge, located just north of Elliot Lake, will customize a guided trip on Dunlop Lake or one of the 30 surrounding lakes in the area, including everything you’ll need to reel in the big one, including shore lunch.
Lake Erie, Ontario’s southernmost body of water, is also the shallowest of the five Great Lakes and has the mildest temperatures.
As a result, Erie has the most abundant fish populations, accounting for nearly half of all fish in the Great Lakes.
Long Point’s inner bay offers excellent ice fishing for yellow perch and northern pike. Bayside Ice Fishing, based in St Williams, provides heated ice shelters. It will transport you to and from the hut, provide firewood for the wood stoves, live minnows for bait, and begin your fire and drill your fishing holes upon your arrival.
Jimmy Riggin’ Fishing Charters’ wooden ice huts in Port Rowan are heated with propane heaters, and you can warm up your lunch on a propane BBQ/stove. Transportation to and from the hut, live bait, and a parking pass are all included in the rates.
This large, northeast arm of Lake Huron is one of Ontario’s most popular vacation spots due to its sandy to the rugged shoreline, beautiful scenery, and endless outdoor activities.
The fishing is legendary here, and winter is no exception. Hook up with Collingwood Adventure Voyages at Collingwood Harbour on the south shore or Diver’s Nook out of Parry Sound on the northeast side of the bay to catch healthy salmon, sturgeon, and pike.
Lake Simcoe – Popular Ice Fishing Spot In Ontario
In Ontario, we can’t talk about ice fishing without mentioning Lake Simcoe.
It’s one of the province’s most diverse fishing areas, with species like herring, yellow perch, lake trout, whitefish, and northern pike calling it home. Lake Simcoe is a popular winter destination because it completely freezes over. It is frequently referred to as North America’s ice fishing capital.
During the ice fishing season, operators offer half-day, full-day, or evening rentals, making it an incredible, family-friendly add-on adventure to a Briars Resort winter getaway. With First Nations Cultural Tours, based on Georgina Island, you’ll be treated to a ride to and from your hut, all bait and tackle, and an on-call guide.
Tim Hales Fish Huts and Floyd Hales Fish Huts are two more excellent outfitters.
The Woods Lake
This world-class fishery is located in the far northwest corner of Ontario, where the pristine wilderness provides unrivaled outdoor adventure in all seasons. Harris Hill Resort, located just outside of Rainy River on the lake’s south shore, offers ice fishing packages that include cabin accommodations. Muskie Bay Resort, located further north towards Nestor Falls, rents heated ice houses as well as sleds and gas. Alternatively, contact Jeff Gustafson Outdoors for a fully guided day on the ice.
Lake Ontario, named after our province, is the last of the Great Lakes, with an outlet to the Atlantic Ocean via the Saint Lawrence River. Anglers are treated to a walleye world capital just east of Toronto, along the Bay of Quinte and its many inlets. Fish Finder Charters out of Carrying Place or Sunset Cabins in Prince Edward County can also hook you up with tenacious pickerel, perch, and pike.
The Ottawa River
The Ottawa River runs through Canada’s capital and is teeming with crappie, perch, pike, and walleye, making it a popular destination for city dwellers looking for some hard water action.
Begin your morning with a Lumberjack breakfast at Flapjacks in Ottawa. Then, just east of town, join Oziles’ Marina & Tackle Shop for a half or full day of ice fishing around Petrie Island. Finish the day with a Beavertail and a moonlit skate on the Rideau, with the city lights and Parliament buildings in the background.
Further east in Rockland, Ottawa River Fishing offers weekend rental rates for luxury ice bungalows with indoor holes, kitchens, generators, and even satellite TV for up to ten people.
Lake Superior, as its name suggests, is the largest of the Great Lakes and the world’s largest surface freshwater lake.
For centuries, its size and majesty have enticed artists, adventurers, and, of course, anglers. There are numerous excellent fishing spots along Superior’s coast, including the north shore, which stretches from Thunder Bay to Red Rock.
In search of the big perch, join Hamilton Baits and Ice Hunt Rentals on Black Bay. Each shelter has a propane stove for cooking and a wood stove for heating.
Rice Lake, located just east of Toronto, is part of the Trent-Severn Waterway and has more fish per acre than any other Ontario lake.
Bass, pickerel, muskie, and some impressively sized carp are among the species. BJ Marina and Tackle in Bewdley sells fishing supplies such as rods, tackle, and bait.
Golden Beach Resort in Roseneath offers an overnight package in a two-bedroom lakeside condo, heated ice hut rental, bait, lures, poles, and licenses available onsite to make your ice fishing adventure part of a multi-day getaway.
Nipissing Lake – Ontario’s best ice fishing destinations
Lake Nipissing, one of Ontario’s best ice fishing destinations, has a healthy winter fishery of walleye, perch, pike, and whitefish, as well as a lively village of ice fishing huts and bungalow outfitters.
Lake Nipissing Ice Charters in Callander is conveniently located on the south shore, close to OFSC snowmobile trails. Snowfari Adventures in Powassan will accommodate you in two to ten-person overnight bungalows with private heated toilet facilities.
You might even get a signature – owners include former NHL players Greg deVries and Todd White.
Ontario Ice Fishing Rules
- A valid fishing license is required. They’re now relatively easy to obtain online, and you can create an account and buy the Ontario fishing license you’ll need right here. A one-day license will suffice in some cases.
- Take note of the local open and closed seasons, as well as any catching restrictions. The Ontario Fishing Regulations Summary, an annual guide to recreational fishing in Ontario, is a bit of a dense document, but those interested can delve a little deeper.
- You must register your ice hut in Fisheries Management Zones 9-12 and 14-20. That registration number must be displayed on the ice hut’s exterior. You must also agree on a date for the removal of your ice hut. This is done to ensure that it does not remain there indefinitely. You can use the same number on all of your ice huts, and if you already have an ice hut number, you do not need to re-register.
- It is free to register ice huts, but you must first create a profile on the Natural Resources Registry.
Tips To Be Safe On The Ice When Fishing In Ontario
- It is not advisable to go ice fishing alone.
- When you go out, make sure to notify someone of your plans, even if it’s just a quick text to your partner, a family member, or a caring friend.
- Layer your clothing. You can always remove layers as your ice fishing hut warms up, but you can’t add layers that you didn’t bring.
- Consider wearing a flotation suit. They function similarly to a full-body life jacket. Many ice fishermen in Ontario joke that they’re basically life-saving onesies.
- Ice picks should be worn when out on the hard water in case of an emergency. Ice chisels or spud bars are also useful if you’re the one who measures the thickness of the ice. This is something that should be left to professionals or experienced ice fishermen.
- Snowmobiles require at least 8 inches of clear blue ice to drive on, while light passenger vehicles require at least 12 inches.
- Ice near the shore is often safer and thicker than ice further away from the shore, especially early in the season.
- For comparison, clear blue ice is very strong, whereas white ice is much weaker.