Winter is for Ice Fishing

It has been a strangely warm winter here in southern Canada, many doubted if the lake would freeze enough for fishing, but the bay is finally frozen indeed. It was time for us to take another walk on the ice. Today we wanted to check out the fish huts.

The access to the lake is easy, just walk down the boat launch.

There was a lot of action on the lake, it was as if we all had to make up for lost time. Everyone was enjoying the day in their own way.

Trucks and snowmobiles flew across the ice.

Some were cross-country skiing with their very large dogs

I live on Lake Simcoe, which claims the title of “Ice-fishing Capital of Canada” some say “of the world”. I approached a hut.

Is anyone home?... I knocked on the door... no answer. I tried the door... it opened.

I opened the trap door to look into the fishing hole. There is a small stove for warmth, Sitting in the small hut patiently fishing can get pretty cold.

"what are you doing trespassing?" my husband asks.

I knocked on another door and these fisherpeople (politically correct) invited me in to watch as they fished. I waited a while but, no fish were biting. There are smart fish in Lake Simcoe.

Some people were enjoying the day by Ice-sailing. They have a parachute that takes them zooming on skis across the ice

It looks like so much fun... I think I want to try this out one day.

We walked back to shore. You can see how far out the huts are..

additional info added Feb 28:

The thickness of ice is always a concern. Every year, we lose vehicles and sadly some lives are lost as well because the ice is not always safe. The  DNR (Department of Natural Resources) measures the depth of the ice on a regular basis. There are regulations for the fish huts too. Each hut on the ice is numbered and must be removed by a certain date each year.

There is a thickness recommended for various activities:

*Less than 4 inches* � STAY OFF! There is no reason to test the newly formed ice at this time.

*4-6 Inches* � Ice fishing, foot travel in single-file lines, and small spaced seating on the ice should be safe, presuming the ice is clear and clean.

*6-10 Inches* � Snowmobiles and ATV�s can travel safely on good ice that is over inches thick.

*10-16 Inches* � Small cars and pick-ups can begin to venture on to the ice. However, the DNR states that it is best to avoid driving on the ice whenever possible.

*16+ Inches* � A medium-sized car or mid-size pickup can drive on good clear solid ice.

I hope you enjoyed a tour of Lake Simcoe in winter.

101 responses to “Winter is for Ice Fishing

  1. I am no fisher woman but I would love to try ice fishing one day! Loved the pics…Jaz

  2. Many thanks for the ‘Like’ on my blog Maggie. This is a great post! I lived in a number of places in Canada during my 15 year stay. Mostly B.C. It has a big piece of my heart.

  3. love your pics! i’m from Ontario too…looks like so much fun!

  4. Always wanted to try this. In Miami, Florida there is no beach area left for surf fishing and many in the lakes and canals have been invaded by non native species destroying the natural fish population. People dump their exotic pet fish. Boas and pythons destroying food chain in Everglades. Thanks visit my blog.

  5. wow! Wonderful fishing. It’s not easy to stay and fishing in this type of weather but it’s really interesting too. Thanks to the photographer for the beautiful pics.

  6. Nice captures! The first pic is my favorite.
    Great post.

  7. Great pictures! That ice-sailing looks like fun. It has been oddly warm this winter, but no complaints from me. 😉

  8. The first pic is just incredible

  9. This was incredibly beautiful. The pictures are amazing. I would love to try this in real life once… 🙂 Your post made me dream of it!

  10. It’s been more than 30 years since I was out ice fishing on Lake Simcoe. I moved to the east coast, New Brunswick and didn’t do any more ice fishing, until this year. It brought back lots of great memories.

  11. Pingback: Winter is for Ice Fishing | Infos Press

  12. Pingback: Fishing in Canada | OutDoor Journey

  13. tremendous job, photo’s look great, and fishing in that hut looks fun! fab post!

  14. Interesting article. Thank you for sharing.

    Emmly Jane

  15. I love your photos Maggie…and I can almost hear your husband saying “why are you tresspassing?” LOL.
    Seeing all these snow made me shiver! It is already summer and sinfully hot and humid here in Manila. So I am going to be looking at all your snow pictures for some time and longing for some “coldness” here at my part of the world.

    Have a great week!


  16. Northern Narratives

    Great post on ice fishing. Congratulations on being Freshly Pressed.

  17. That ice fishing thing is really odd if you haven’t seen it before.

  18. Very nice post. Congratulations on being Freshly Pressed! Living in Maine, we ice-fish too, but on lakes with no shacks. We do use them for smelt-fishing on rivers, and whole villages can spring up on the ice. It’s great fun when the smelts are running…and even when they aren’t!

  19. Very, very cool! (No pun intended.)

  20. Wow. It must be nice. 😀

  21. maryfollowsthelamb

    I live in Wisconsin not far from a large body of water. I like to go out and watch the ice fishing. So many have gone through the ice this year. I have to ask myself why anyone would risk their life to sit and freeze and maybe, just maybe, catch a fish? How crazy are they? And then I have to laugh at myself. I’m out there watching them!

  22. I enjoyed your post. I love nature, but hate being cold. I would definitely need a hut with a stove! Maybe the ice sailing would be better. Staying in one place makes me even colder. I learned a lot from your writing though, and just thought I would say I enjoyed it. Maybe you’ll check out my blog
    Diane Tucker
    Hill-Stead Museum
    Farmington, CT

  23. ice sailing, need to try before I die

    • I want to try it too, when the ice is smooth, that helps, sometimes it can be quite lumpy and rutted from the snowmobiles running on the slushy top layer then it gets cold and freezes the ruts.

  24. Have always heard of people ice fishing, but never have seen it in person or read a blog about it. Find it fascinating and really enjoyed your experience; you’ve left me wanting to actually go out in search of ice fishing. Or perhaps just surf the web for a bit more for now. Congrats on being Freshly Pressed!

  25. Wow. Didn’t know anything about ice fishing in Canada until viewig your lovely photos.

  26. I would love to try this some day!

  27. Malcolm Pemberton

    This is, in some ways, so like Vaasa in Finland where I live. We also waited anxiously for the bay to freeze, and then a little longer to see who was going to be first to test the ice. Now we are all sure, and practice much the same activities as ice-fishing, dog-walking, skiing, snowmobile driving etc. However, the comfy, heated fishing huts on the ice are missing here 😉
    Please visit my album site for hundreds of winter and summer pics of Vaasa at my main website:

  28. Wish I could visit those places one day!!!

  29. I always wanted to try ice fishing. Which airport is near you? Also, how do I research on how to find places to ice fish, requirements, fees?, etc..

  30. That brings back good ole memories. Thanks for the post and pics


  31. If you love ice fishing but are nervous about the ice thickness, then you need to check out the Wilcraft. It’s an amphibious, self-extracting motorized ice house that let’s you get out on the ice early and late in the season. I saw this down here in Minnesota at the State Fair and it is awesome!

  32. I grew up in Northern Minnesota…nice to see a post about ice fishing!

  33. Oh my my! These are fabulous pictures! And I had no idea you could do so much on snow other than skiing.

  34. Now that just looks like a lot of fun! Who says you have to stay inside all day and drink hot chocolate? Why not fish as well! Thanks for sharing and congrats on being freshly pressed!

  35. Wow! Even with a house on the ice! That’s so cool idea actually! In Latvia, they just make hole in the ice and sits on the fish box! 😀 lol
    Great photos, thanks! 🙂

  36. Just a few days ago I was with my grandmother on the phone – she lives in Toronto and she was trying to explain the whole process of ice fishing. We got onto that topic because she had remarked that there wasn’t much ice on Lake Simcoe. Being from subtropical Hong Kong, I asked her, “but doesn’t it get boring, just looking down a hole and waiting for a fish?”

    Thanks for sharing Maggie, with your pictures I think I now understand. Congratulations on being Freshly Pressed!

  37. This blog makes me already miss winter! I havn’t been ice fishing in years, and maybe one day in the future I’ll get that chance again! No iceing fishing in Germany, at least not easy too :(! God bless and thanks for sharing!

  38. Pingback: Winter is for Ice Fishing | Living Life in Glorious Colour «

  39. Absolutely beautiful. Mind you I’ve never understood wanting to be so uncomfortable. Couldn’t you just buy the fish?:)P

  40. Hey this is the awesome blog post….thanks for sharing such a nice photos…Good work…keep it up…

  41. Nice i love winter, great photos

  42. wow, i’ve never feel the winter, coz i live in Indonesia

  43. This must be fun. How long does it take to actually catch anything?

  44. Lovely place… i just love snow!!

  45. Hey Maggie, Its really cool that you have enjoyed a lot over there during Ice fishing. And really nice blog you have posted here. And the most i love is the information you have given about the Ice Thickness here in last. Thanks buddy for such a great post.

  46. Pingback: Lansete » Blog Archive » Winter is for Ice Fishing | Living Life in Glorious Colour

  47. Pingback: Ice Fishing Contest…Blue Gill Chowder « wildchow

  48. Thanks for the great photos. I don’t ice fish but I love seeing the activity on our lake while I ski or walk with the dogs. I would really enjoy!…thanks for sharing something I’ll probably never see in person.

  49. Wow, beautiful photos! I am a WordPress photographer as well, so I love seeing posts like this. Keep it up!

  50. Looks familiar to a former resident of Pefferlaw, now living in Orillia but presently in Florida. It’s forecast to be 77 tomorrow, so there’s not ice fishing here–not that I miss it.

  51. Great photos! So great to see so many different fun activities outside in the winter.

  52. Thanks for the adventure (which I enjoyed in the warmth of my home)!

  53. Oh the weather outside is frightful,
    But the fire is so delightful,
    And since we’ve no place to go,
    Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow! 🙂

  54. thank you for sharing this wonderful post.. oh by the way, is that your dog? i presume its a german shepherd? i have 1 too.. love your photos and congrats on being FP.

  55. The Grump Old Men went Out to Sea.
    (if anyone gets the Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau references)


  56. Congrats – YAY – FP!!!

  57. I saw your post and had to check it out as Minnesota is a huge ice fishing place YET we are having such a warm winter that cars, trucks and ice houses are falling through the ice at an alarming rate! The poor ice fisherman are not enjoying the warm spell but at least our winter is going faster. Big snow storm on the way though. I’ll keep my fingers crossed. Hope you’ve been catching lots of tasty fish!

  58. Excellent post, I love ice fishing myself. Thank you for sharing.

  59. I like fishing, but I’m not a fan of cold weather. The hut with a wood stove would be the way to go, I think. They say the fish taste better from cold winter water. Thanks for the vicarious fishing outing!

  60. Hi Maggie, I loved reading your blog post. Really interesting as I’ve never come across ice fishing before. It’s incredible they have huts with heaters out on the ice. So organised. I’m curious, how thick is the ice? Congrats for getting freshly pressed. Torie

  61. I found your post on Freshly Pressed and thought I was looking out my studio window… Thanks for the great post – our lake (Buffalo Pound Lake, SK) freezes over by mid November but this year the ice appears thin and when the weather warms up we have puddles forming. I usually ski on the lake but this year I prefer walks on land. The fishing is great according to neighbors and friends who venture out nearly every day!

  62. Thanks for the post, it made me think of home. I used to live in a log house by a lake, and though I have yet to attempt ice fishing, we would make a yearly trek out to the island or race around on the snowmobiles … Awe, now I’m all slush-hearted…I just love winter : )

  63. This is an incredibly informative post. I am loving living in southern BC. The Okanagan Lake where I am does not freeze over so I don’t get to see this site. Maybe a little further up north I’d see this. I love how people adapt to the weather conditions and it doesn’t seem to phase them at all.
    Thank you for sharing.

  64. universe0fwonder

    It looks like such an amazing and beautiful place!

  65. Not sure if I can handle ice fishing with the cold, but it sure looks beautiful!

  66. Wow !! Ice fishing seems so interesting !! I hope I’ll once do it in my life 😛 Cheers !! Gr8 and ‘chilled’ post 😛

    And please check out my latest post on love –

  67. LOVE this post! Showcasing our Canadian winters at their best! 🙂

  68. That all looks so fun. I am thinking no on the para-ice-sailing thing. I could see me getting dragged around on my tummy! I have been ice fishing before. No hut though. And it is COLD! We did catch some very nice blue-gill though, really large. We went in the day, no fire. Ansd we sat on 5 gallon plastic buckets. Once was really enough for me of that. If I have to, okay. Maybe in a hut. Otherwise, nah! Thanks for sharing these beautiful visions of winter! We have had almost NO winter here in Indiana and we are kind of missing it a bit.

  69. Wow! Loved the tour! I’ve see fishing huts on ice before, but only from a distance. It’s fun to get a glimpse inside.

  70. Looks like a blast! Definitely the opposite type of fishing I’m used to living in Florida.

  71. I am not into fishing at all, however, I love to learn about things when others are passionate and they love to talk about them. I can see the passion for ice fishing in your post. Great job on getting Freshly Hooked…oops, I mean Freshly Pressed.

    Mr. Bricks

  72. Reblogged this on Arrancat's Blog.

  73. Love your site, but don’t think I can do the ice fishing. Always seeking warmer climate.

  74. i thoroughly enjoyed the tour !

  75. LOVE your politically correct “fisherpeople” — how much fun to ice fish!


  76. I’d be afraid the ice would melt under that wood stove.

    • Actually, because heat rises, and they keep the stove above the ice by having some legs, it seems to work fine, most huts have some way of heating them so the fishermen are comfy. Part of thier warmth may come from what they drink too.. umm… does alcohol warm you up?

      • I was kidding, I’m sure these guys know what they’re doing. Alcohol? Maybe, until you get drunk and fall in the water. LOL. Then I doubt it does much good.

  77. I did! I enjoyed it, especially the ‘trespassing’ part, haha.
    Also, my dogs want to know the name of your dog. 🙂

  78. Thanks for the great photos. I don’t ice fish but I love seeing the activity on our lake while I ski or walk with the dogs.

  79. Very cool, thanks for sharing!

  80. I really enjoyed seeing inside the fishing huts…I don’t think I would have the patience…but, the walking tour was what I would really enjoy!…thanks for sharing something I’ll probably never see in person…~mkg

  81. This is something I would like to try. Your photos makes it look fun.


  82. This is just a wonderful post! I have often heard of those fishing huts on a frozen lake, but never seen what they look like, and now finally I can picture it in my mind. Beautiful pictures, and an interesting text. Thanks.

  83. Great pictures! What extreme weather conditions!

  84. Amazing Maggie, I’d love to see the ice sailing. I’m curious, how is it possible to know for sure when the ice is thick enough? The ice fishing is for fun these days I assume? but in days gone by it would have been a necessity?

    • Thanks for the visit. I always worry about the ice thickness and wait until I see the huts before venturing out very far. “They” drill a hole in the ice to measure the thickness and we can find reports. earlier this year, we could only walk on the ice because it has been so mild, but now it is safe in the bay, but not on the main lake. I am on a very large lake. The problem is that pressure cracks form and these can widen, we always seem to lose a vehicle or two and unfortunately lives are lost on the frozen lake every year.

      *Less than 4 inches* STAY OFF! There is no reason to test the newly formed ice at this time.

      *4-6 Inches* Ice fishing, foot travel in single-file lines, and small spaced seating on the ice should be safe, presuming the ice is clear and clean.

      *6-10 Inches* Snowmobiles and ATVs can travel safely on good ice that is over inches thick.

      *10-16 Inches* Small cars and pick-ups can begin to venture on to the ice. However, the DNR states that it is best to avoid driving on the ice whenever possible.

      *16+ Inches* A medium-sized car or mid-size pickup can drive on good clear solid ice.

      • thanks for the info, being a fellow Canadian, I always wondered about how thick ice had to be before. I think I might try snow mobiling now 🙂

        Great post

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