If the forecast is accurate, this winter is going to be another long one. But, as any hard-core ice angler knows, long is a relative term. If it doesn’t provide us with enough time to enjoy a productive ice fishing season, winter will hardly be long enough.
Sue Villani, owner of Love to Fish Ice Hut Rentals on Lake Simcoe’s Cook’s Bay, is one of many operators who is keeping her fingers crossed for a replay of last winter.
“Last year, we had a nice, early start to the season, with consistently cold weather. We got on the ice before New Year, which is rare, and conditions were great throughout the season. Most anglers did well too. Not only did they get more fish; they also got bigger ones.”
Fishing was generally good on Lake Nipissing, too. Ice hut operators there agree that last year was fantastic. They report anglers caught lots of walleye, many bringing in more than the normal number of 10- and 11-pounders.
On Lake Temagami, at Blue Haven Lodge, owner Mackie Van Zyl says all signs point to an early start to the season. “Our water is already 7 degrees colder than it should be this time of year. I think if the winds die down, we just might have good fishing before the New Year.”
All this is to say it won’t be long before Ontario’s anglers can head to this province’s ice fishing waters: classic and little-known, in search of everything from panfish to lake trout, walleye, and pike.
Regardless of when winter fishing conditions arrive, it’s not too soon to get out the cleats, sharpen the augers and re-spool those reels. And re-stock that tackle box while you’re at it. Ice fishing season is just around the corner. And for those who love pulling fish through the hard water, winter can never be long enough.
For a rundown of the province’s great ice-hut operators, go to our online classified listings.