Not everyone is willing to wait for spring to go fishing. While some of us might be a little hesitant to head out on the ice, others have made it their lifetime passion. All across Ontario, prime fishing spots are lined with huts as the ice fishing community gathers for another season. Joining the crowd is a great way to get to know the sport, pick up some tips and check out some of the best gear. If you're not sure where to go, check out some of the resorts with special ice fishing packages or hut rentals that are available all over Ontario.
While it is definitely one of the most crowded areas for fishing (winter or summer), this area is easily accessible with most lakes reachable by car. If you're short on time or looking to stay close to home, you will find lots of facilities, marinas, hut rentals and bait vendors which is perfect for that quick vacation or day trip.
If you're in the Guelph area, check out Guelph Lake. This 1700 acre reservoir was formed by the construction of the Guelph Dam on the Speed River. Managed by the Grand River Conservation Authority, a daily fee is charged for entrance and ice huts are available to rent. The area is known for fish species from small and largemouth bass, black crappie, pike and panfish.
Just 60 miles north of Toronto, Lake Simcoe is by far the most popular fishing lake in Ontario. In the winter, this lake is teeming with huts and there are dozens of commercial fishing hut operators. You can have everything taken care of here from heated hut rentals to transportation, food, bait tackle and other facilities. Most common species for ice fishing include lake trout, whitefish, panfish, pike, walleye and ling.
The eastern region of the province is considered by many to be the walleye capital. Here you can also fish the lakes for lake trout, crappy, bluegill and perch. Especially noted for walleye angling is the Bay of Quinte. If you head towards Barry's Bay (30 minutes from Algonquin Park) you can enjoy spectacular ice fishing opportunities on Bark Lake. A visit to Sunny Hill Resort will outfit you with heated huts and crown land surrounded by excellent lake trout fishing. At the end of the day, soak out the cold in their indoor saltwater pool and hot tub. The resort also features a fishing pier and cleaning station.
The area surrounding Algonquin Provincial Park encompasses the Haliburton Highlands, Muskoka and Ottawa Valley and includes the picturesque 30,000 islands in Georgian Bay. At Buttermilk Falls Resort on Boshkung Lake you can fish for lake trout and white fish. This cottage resort features heated ice fishing huts that fit anywhere from 2 to 4 people. Just down the road, Little Hawk Lake Resort is a full service waterfront resort and marina with licensed restaurant. You can rent a cottage or stay in one of their lodge suits. Their fishing trips can be combined with snowmobiling adventures and several ice fishing huts are available on site.
Extending from Lake Superior to the Ottawa River, the waters in this region include the famous Lake Temagami, Lake Nippissing and French River. Ravenscroft Lodge, located on Jumping Caribou Lake, offers cottage rentals and services from propane heated ice huts, transportation to and from the ice hut, lunches served right at your hut, bait and tip-ups. If you're looking for that prize catch, head up to Lake Abitibi. The 4th largest lake in Ontario, this lake is notoriously underfished because of its difficult location. In the region of Cochrane, Lake Abitibi has produced a number of trophy walleye and pike. Abitibi Ice Bungalows offers the opportunity to fish from an upgraded ice bungalow that includes stove, heater, bbq, outhouse, table and chairs, pots and pans, minnow storage, pre-drilled holes and the use of a jiffy power auger. Equipped with a generator and fuel, these bungalows sleep six and are fully insulated. A top of the line ice fishing experience, you can drop a line right from the dinner table!
Extending from Lake Superior, this area has an abundance of marinas and vait vendors. Northern Sunrise Outfitters can take you on a 20 minute snow machine ride to their secluded outpost camp which is nestled on the English River system. Here you can stay in fully winterized cabins and take your pick of lake trout, whitefish, walleye and pike.
If you're looking for a little ice fishing down south, check out the Valens Reservoir which is part of the Valens Conservation Area. Known for monster pike, you can also fish for crappie and blue gill. Bait is available for sale on site and heated four man huts are rented per person by the day.