It’s quickly becoming ice-fishing season in Ontario — and while you may have thought all there is to catch is a cold, we’re here to change your mind!
Ice fishing is truly one of Canada’s great winter traditions. The varieties of local fish you can catch while ice fishing include walleye, perch, northern pike, muskie, sturgeon, whitefish and lake trout.
Does it sound intimidating? Scooting out onto a frozen lake in the dead of winter, drilling holes in the ice and sitting in a cabin for hours? It shouldn’t be! This time honoured Ontario tradition is best enjoyed with a thermos of hot tea (or “cold tea” if that’s more your style!) and some good friends. You don’t need to be an expert to ice fish! Follow these safety tips –
- Clear blue ice is the strongest. White opaque or snow ice is half as strong as blue ice. Grey ice is unsafe. If ice has a “honeycomb” look, avoid going on it.
- Ice must be 20cm thick for a group to walk on.
- Check the conditions with the locals at bait shops. They know the lakes as well as the area and offer equipment and hut rentals.
- Never go on the ice alone. Always ice-fish with at least one other person.
Ice fishing spots are closely guarded secrets, kind of like foraging spots. That being said, Petrie Island, on the Ottawa River, Lake Scugog and the inner bays of both Owen Sound and Wiarton are all great spots for beginners.
You’ll need a license on any given day, but except when Ontario celebrates ‘Free Family Ice Fishing Weekend. This year, it’s February 12 – 15; on the Family Day Long Weekend. You can enjoy the fun of fishing in Ontario without a licence on Ontario lakes in resort destinations.
If planning an ice fishing adventure from start to finish just sounds like too much, let the Culinary Adventure Company do it for you!
They’ll take you up to beautiful Georgina on Lake Simcoe, keep you warm by their wood stove, and even provide all the gear and wigglies. In true Culinary Adventure Co. style, they’ll also be cooking up a traditional Canadian Shore Lunch with Fried Potatoes, Baked Beans, Fresh Fish, Home-made Bread, and more!