Ice fishing. There are fewer winter experiences that are more quintessentially Canadian than gathering your friends around a frozen hole in the dead of winter, waiting for the tell-tale tug of a fishing line.
Around these parts, the ice fishing season typically starts in mid to late January and closes March 15 (the date all huts must be off the ice).
Whether you’re an avid fisherman or just curious about ice fishing, there are plenty of ice hut operators in York Durham Headwaters who can supply you with everything you need to get out on the ice this winter.
Ice Fishing Operators in YDH
Ice Fishing in Georgina
The community of Georgina, on the southern shores of beautiful Lake Simcoe, world-renowned as an ice fishing destination, has a long history of ice fishing. Today, the landscape is white-on-white and it feels more like being in northern Canada than a little more than an hour away from downtown Toronto.
Ice Fishing on Lake Simcoe
Lake Simcoe is one of the most popular locations in York Durham Headwaters for ice fishing and, in fact, is one of the most popular locations for ice fishing in the entire province. Lake Simcoe is renowned for its abundance of Perch, a small fish that is known to be delicious with a mild and sweet meat that is firm yet flaky in texture. Avid fishers will be pleased to know that Lake Simcoe also offers fishing opportunities that include Lake Trout, Whitefish, and Herring.
Ice Fishing at Island Lake Conservation Area
Island Lake Conservation Area is also a great place to try your hand at ice fishing. Located near Orangeville you will find the friendly staff at the park ready to assist you with anything you need.
2019 Ice Fishing Derbies
Once you catch a taste for ice fishing, you might want to consider taking part in an ice fishing derby.
February 9-18, 2019
Island Lake Conservation Area Ice Fishing Derby
February 17, 2019
Lake Simcoe Championship Ice Fishing Derby
Ice Safety Tips
- Ice doesn’t freeze at uniform thickness.
- Ice is often much thicker and safer near the shore than the ice that is farther out, especially at the start of winter season
- As you move further out on to the ice, regularly check the thickness with a spud bar or an auger.
- Ice that forms over moving water, like a natural spring or near the mouth of a river or stream can be weaker than the surrounding ice.
- Ice that has formed over old ice holes may be weak.
- Keep your eye out for pressure cracks, this may indicate that the ice is weak.
- The colour of the ice will give you a clue as to its integrity. Clear blue ice is strong, where as white or opaque ice is much weaker.
- Beware of ice that looks honeycombed. This indicates that the ice may be thawing.
- Driving on ice requires extreme caution, it is important to know the thickness of the ice before venturing out. Here are the recommended minimum thickness levels for safety:
- Snowmobiles: at least 20 centimetres (8 inches) of clear blue ice
- Light vehicles: at least 30 centimetres (12 inches) or more
- Double the recommended thickness if the ice is white or opaque.
- CAUTION: Heavy snow on a frozen lake or river slows down the freezing process.
These tips are provided by the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources. You can learn more about ice fishing by visiting their ice fishing resource page.
Before You Go Ice Fishing
Ice conditions can shift quickly. If you are an inexperienced ice fisher we strongly recommended that you check in with one of our seasoned ice hut operators for ice conditions before you venture out onto the lake.
Implement a safety plan by letting others know where you’re planning to fish and when you plan on returning.
Wear appropriate clothing and equipment both for safety and to ensure that you have the most comfortable and pleasurable ice fishing experience possible. We recommend warm layers of clothing, water resistant gloves and insulated boots—it can get cold out there and snow can get deep around the huts. Don’t forget your hat!