Best spots for ice fishing in Ontario
Some anglers embrace the sport’s solitude while others relish the atmosphere of camaraderie a hut on a frozen lake has to offer.
Here are ten iconic Ontario destinations with outfitters and guides to whet your ice fishing appetite.
Recently named Canada's top ice fishing destination for 2023 by Fishing Booker, Lake Nipissing has a healthy winter fishery of walleye, perch, pike and whitefish, with an equally lively village of ice fishing huts and bungalow outfitters.
Located on the south shore, Lake Nipissing Ice Charters in Callander is conveniently close to OFSC snowmobile trails. Snowfari Adventures in Powassan will set you up in comfortable two- to ten-person overnight bungalows that even include private heated toilet facilities.
You may even score a signature—owners include retired NHL player and Stanley Cup winner, Greg deVries and equally impressive Todd White.
The lakes of Algoma Country
Bordered by Lake Superior and Lake Huron and speckled with countless inland lakes and rivers, Algoma Country is a year-round playground for passionate anglers and delivers big on hard water action.
Get the full experience from outfitted ice fishing to comfortable lakeside cabins at Snowshoe Camp just off of Highway 129.
Just north of Elliot Lake, Dunlop Lake Lodge will customize a guided trip on Dunlop Lake or one of the 30 surrounding lakes in the area, with everything you’ll need to reel in the big one, including shore lunch.
Also included the list of best fishing destinations in Canada, Lake Erie came in at number four.
Ontario’s southernmost waters, Lake Erie, is also the shallowest of the five Great Lakes and maintains the mildest temperatures.
Because of this, Erie boasts the most abundant in fish populations, close to 50% of all the fish in the Great Lakes.
Head to the inner bay of Long Point for great ice angling opportunities for yellow perch and northern pike. Operating out of St. Williams, Bayside Ice Fishing offers heated shelters on the ice. It will provide transportation to and from the hut, firewood for the wood stoves and live minnows for bait, and will start your fire and drill your fishing holes upon arrival.
Nearby in Port Rowan, Jimmy Riggin’ Fishing Charters wooden ice huts are heated with propane heaters, plus you can warm up your lunch on a propane barbecue/stove. Rates include your transportation to and from the hut, live bait and a parking pass.
We can’t talk ice fishing in Ontario without mentioning Lake Simcoe.
It’s one of the most diverse fishing areas in the province, with species like herring, yellow perch, lake trout, whitefish and northern pike calling these waters home. And because it freezes over completely in winter, Lake Simcoe is a go-to for the winter pastime. It’s often referred to as the ice fishing capital of North America.
Operators abound during the ice fishing season with half-day, full-day or evening rentals, making it an incredible, family-friendly add-on adventure to a winter getaway at Briars Resort.
Lake of the Woods
This world-class fishery sits in Ontario’s far northwest corner, where the pristine wilderness offers unmatched outdoor adventure in every season.
Located just outside of Rainy River, on the south shore of the lake, Harris Hill Resort provides ice fishing packages that include cabin accommodation. Further north towards Nestor Falls, Muskie Bay Resort rents out heated ice houses along with sleds and gas. Or get in touch with Jeff Gustafson Outdoors for a fully guided day on the ice.
Bearing the province’s name, Lake Ontario is the last of the Great Lakes chain with an outlet to the Atlantic Ocean via the Saint Lawrence River.
Just east of Toronto, along the Bay of Quinte and its many inlets, anglers are treated to a walleye world capital. Bay of Quinte was also celebrated as a top ice fishing destination for 2023 by Fishing Booker for its many tributaries, inlets and smaller bays.
Hook feisty pickerel, perch or pike with Sunset Cabins in Prince Edward County.
The Ottawa River flows through Canada’s capital and is teeming with crappie, perch, pike and walleye, so it’s a hot destination for urbanities itching to get out for some hard water action.
Start with a Lumberjack breakfast at Flapjacks in Ottawa. Further east in Rockland, Ottawa River Fishing offers weekend rental rates for luxury ice bungalows with indoor holes, kitchens, a generator and even satellite TV to accommodate a group of up to ten. Wrap up the day with a BeaverTail and a moonlit skate on the Rideau Canal with the city lights and Parliament buildings as your backdrop.
Appropriately named, Lake Superior is the largest of the Great Lakes and the world’s largest surface freshwater lake.
Its size and majesty has lured artists, adventure seekers and, of course, anglers for centuries. There are many great fishing spots along Superior’s coast, including the north shore, from Thunder Bay to Red Rock.
A short drive east of Toronto, Rice Lake is part of the Trent-Severn Waterway and boasts more fish per acre than any other Ontario lake.
Species include bass, pickerel, muskie and some impressively sized carp. Get supplies like rods, tackle and bait from BJ Marina and Tackle in Bewdley.
This large, northeast arm of Lake Huron is one of Ontario’s most cherished destinations for its sandy to rugged shoreline, gorgeous scenery and endless outdoor pursuits.
The fishing is legendary here, and winter doesn’t disappoint.
Important reminders and regulations:
- Ontario strongly supports catch and release
- before heading out, be sure to read these ten tips for ice fishing safety
- don’t drop a line anywhere until you’ve got your fishing licence
- families can enjoy licence-free fishing during the Ontario Family Fishing Weekend in February, which coincides with the Family Day long weekend
Learn more about ice fishing in Ontario
Last updated: January 5, 2024