The Ice fishing Canada prides itself on is the stuff of legend thanks to the countless bodies of water harboring trophy catches. With possibly 2 million lakes in its territory, there are more lakes in Canada than in the rest of the world combined. Virtually all of them boast premier winter fishing, which lures in anglers from the four corners of the world.
Whether you’d like to cast your line in the remote fly-in areas with pristine waters or fish on one of the more popular lakes close to big cities, Canada won’t disappoint. Whatever expectations you have about ice fishing in Canada, they’re sure to be exceeded as soon as you step on the ice.
What to Fish
Your greatest quarry wherever you go fishing will be freshwater game fish. Colossal Walleye, and its cousin, Greenback, copious amounts of huge Lake and Brown Trout, and an abundance of Northern Pike, Yellow Perch, Whitefish, and Burbot – all the members of the freshwater royal family are there for the taking.
Where to Fish
With thousands of lakes in every province, finding a good ice fishing spot can be just a matter of closing your eyes and pointing anywhere on the map. These are the provinces that offer superb fishing opportunities and a chance to land that catch of a lifetime.
Named after the smallest of the Great Lakes, Ontario province is one of Canada’s ice fishing epicenters. During winter months, fishermen from all over the world come to Ontario to wet their lines. Lake Simcoe is probably the most popular destination thanks to its huge population of Whitefish, Lake and Brown Trout, Northern Pike, and Yellow Perch. Seeing as the Canadian Ice Fishing Championship takes place here, you can’t go wrong with fishing Lake Simcoe.
The Bay of Quinte is another piece of ice fishing heaven, especially for Walleye lovers. From December to late February, the bay offers stupendous Walleye fishing and you can easily reel in 15 lb lunkers. If the likes of Sheepshead, Northern Pike, and Yellow Perch are on your mind, then the Bay of Quinte is a great place to start. Dropping your line on the Lake of the Woods is an excellent opportunity to hook Walleye, Muskellunge, Northern Pike, Crappie, and more.
If there’s one province where ice fishing is all the craze, it’s Alberta
. There’s no limit to what you can catch in the domain of freshwater superstars, and there’s no shortage of places to pursue your prey. One of the most productive lakes is Pigeon Lake, where Walleye are so numerous, you can hook one every time you drop the line. Lesser Slave Lake is also a popular treasure trove with healthy-sized Pike, Walleye, and Yellow Perch. Wabamun Lake doesn’t fall behind at all, especially because it’s so close to Edmonton, and you can pull in anything from Walleye to Northern Pike.
Even though you can find exceptional ice fishing options throughout Saskatchewan, Tobin Lake definitely takes the spotlight. It could easily be the province’s top ice fishing spot, thanks to its population of mammoth Walleye and Northern Pike. You can come to this lake anywhere from December to April, but March seems to be the peak of the season. The bite is equally hot on Last Mountain Lake, where sizeable Whitefish, Yellow Perch, Northern Pike, and Walleye reign supreme. The shores of these lakes are dotted with cozy fishing cabins, which is a significant advantage if you want to fish in full comfort.
Lake Winnipeg is the sacred ice fishing ground of Manitoba
because it’s vast, chock-full with big fish, and has some of the best ice fishing in Canada. This is the home of the Greenback Walleye, which happens to be the most prized catch on the lake. Named after the nearby capital of the province, Lake Winnipeg is a dream-come-true for every urban angler. Kississing Lake is a prime Trout fishery, where you can find a monster Brown at the end of your line. One of the most beloved local fishing holes is Clearwater Lake, where you can hook Whitefish, Northern Pike, and colossal Lake Trout. And this is just to get you started, seeing as there are over 100,000 lakes in Manitoba and virtually any of them can treat you to some first-class ice fishing action.
How to Fish
When you’re going after Walleye, Lake Trout, or Northern Pike, having a razor-sharp hook is a must to keep them on the line, so always carry a small pen-file with you.
In case you’re new to the ice fishing world, the best setup to use is a small lead-headed jig paired with live minnows. These bad boys will land you anything from Yellow Perch to Crappie.
Going after Walleye will be most successful during sunrise or sunset, especially if you’re using jigs and a soft-plastic minnow bait. Drop it close to the lake bottom and watch as the Walleye attacks.
Jigging spoons work like a charm when you’re targeting supersized Lake Trout.
When to Fish
It doesn’t get much better than the ice fishing Canada has to offer, and what makes it even more exciting are long ice fishing seasons. The fun starts in late December and lasts until ice out, which usually happens in March or early April. Seasons vary depending on the province, so make sure you’re well informed before you set out to hunt down your next trophy.
If you love ice fishing, going to Canada will be an amazing experience. It doesn’t matter if you’re just testing the ice or if you’re a pro angler, exploring the ample ice fishing opportunities in Canada will open a whole new world for you.