Ice fishing destinations in Ontario can be found surprisingly close to Toronto, though the options increase considerably as you enter traditional cottage areas like Lake Simcoe and Muskoka. The sport is currently witnessing renewed interest, so if you're game to bundle up this winter to catch some fish, then now might be the time to take the plunge.
Here are my picks for the top ice fishing destinations in Ontario.
Salmon, sturgeon and pike are just some of the fish caught in Georgian Bay. Collingwood Adventure Voyages offers fishing packages with heated ice hut rentals. For big groups, Ride on Rentals offers a deal for eight people that includes a heated ice hut, fishing poles and pre-drilled fishing holes.
This is one of the most popular spots for ice fishing in the province. One notable spot in the area is Casey's Fish Huts. With an inn at which to stay, a bait and tackle shop, and a daily rate of $50 to rent an ice hut, they've got everything covered. Blue Hut Rentals, on the other hand, provides a slightly higher end experience with hut rentals and operators to help with tips on how to catch perch.
Muskoka Recreation offers half day ice fishing excursions on Lake Rousseau and Lake Joseph with a guide, equipment, chairs and a warming hut. Another good bet is Muskoka Stay and Play Tours, which offers a two-day ice fishing package with accommodation that includes a snowmobile ride, all your gear, and a cooking session for your freshly caught fish for lunch on the ice.
Prince Edward County
On the Bay of Quinte in Prince Edward County, ice fishing is super popular. Chasin' Eyes provides fishing and safety equipment and transportation out on the ice as long as you bring a fishing licence and warm clothes. You can also add ice fishing to the Drake Devonshire's winter packages. Accommodation is included, while some packages include snowshoeing, spa services or mulled wine.
Golden Beach Resort on Rice Lake has an ice fishing package for $140 per person for one night and two days that includes ice hut rental, accommodation and poles and bait. If you're feeling more adventurous, Lake Scugog Ice Hut Rentals has sleeper huts available that are heated with propane stoves for cooking your catch of the day. Viamede Resort also offers ice fishing for winter stays.
The ice fishing scene in the Haliburton area is all about resorts that have a bunch of winter activities. Buttermilk Falls Resort rents out heated ice fishing huts right on the resort property along with snowshoeing and skating. Loralea Country Inn Resort on Halls Lake has huts available for catching Trout and small-mouth Bass, winter hiking trails and toboggan hills.
The ice fishing scene at Hamilton Harbour is growing in popularity. Stocking measures from the Ministry of Natural Resources have helped bring back the Walleye population. You'll have to DIY it when it comes to setting up on the harbour, but it's one of the closest options to Toronto. For now, catch and release is likely the wise move, though the Ministry says the fish are safe to eat.
Did I miss a great ice fishing spot? Add your suggestions in the comments.
Photo by @wospaces via Instagram.
by Mallory Warren via blogTO