A woman holds a large fish caught at an ice fishing derby.

Wawa Ice Fishing Derby | James Smedley

Ice fishing events in Ontario for 2024

A woman holds a large fish caught at an ice fishing derby.

Wawa Ice Fishing Derby | James Smedley

Events range from serious competitions for avid anglers with generous cash payouts and prizes to tournaments designed for families and even a growing number of online events. There are also live-release derbies where fish are entered at a central location and released back into the lake as well as traditional derbies where fish entered are retained by participants.

Some events assign pre-drilled holes within a designated area for a few hours while other derbies last for several days and are spread over multiple lakes with participants travelling by snowmobile, ATV, skis or snowshoe.

For avid anglers, it’s a great way to test their skills and attempt to translate their luck and skill into cash and prizes. For beginners and families, it’s a fun way to be introduced to ice fishing. All participants enjoy the camaraderie and celebration of the sport and the season.

Northwest Ontario

Lac Seul First Nations Ice Fishing Derby

The 16th annual Lac Seul Ice Fishing Derby is open to the first 250 anglers who pay the $300 entry fee for a chance to compete for a $30,000 top prize for the heaviest fish of any species.

The event runs from noon to 4:00 p.m. out of the community of Kejick Bay on giant Lac Seul. 

Date: February 24, 2024

Location: Lac Seul

Cold as Ice Fishing Derby

Over 200 anglers are expected to compete for cash prizes that range from $10,000 for the heaviest fish down to $500 for the 10th heaviest.

Five hundred holes are drilled within a plowed area of the English River at Goshawk Landing. Participants race to the hole they want to fish after a horn sounds to start the event at noon.

The second annual Cold as Ice Fishing Derby runs until 3:00 p.m. and expected catches are pike, whitefish and walleye.

Date: March 2, 2024

Location: English River

Northeastern Ontario

Chapeau Pike Ice Fishing Derby

This is the 26th year for the Chapleau Pike Ice Fishing Derby.

The one-day event runs from 7:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on the Chapleau River and offers $30,000 for the largest pike and generous cash prizes going down to $500 for the eighth biggest fish by weight. Anglers can enter a total of two pike but because entrants are only allowed to win one major prize, only the larger of their two fish counts.

Date: February 10, 2024

Location: Chapleau

Manitoulin Ice Showdown

Returning after a short hiatus, the 2024 event will welcome anglers to a one-day derby on two bodies of water followed by a derby social and prize table on the Saturday night.

The most common species caught are lake trout in Manitou Lake and rainbow trout in Manitowaning Bay of Lake Huron.

Date: February 17, 2024

Location: Manitoulin Island

Mattagami Lake First Nations Annual Pike Ice Fishing Derby

Prizes range from $10,000 for the largest down to $2000 for the fourth-largest pike caught from Mattagami Lake during this one-day event.

Registration for the Mattagami First Nation Annual Pike Ice Fishing Derby is $130 and includes a lasagna and salad meal, beer garden and dance.

Date: February 24, 2024

Location: Mattagami Lake

KL Rotary Winter Fish Derby

The KL Rotary Winter Fish Derby takes place on Otto Lake near the town of Swastika from 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. and is followed by a social at Northern College gym featuring live music.

Anglers are given one ballot for every walleye and pike they catch and release alive. Five draws of $1000 are made for each species and catching one of ten tagged fish is worth $2500.

Date: March 2, 2024

Location: Otto Lake

Noelville Rod and Gun Annual Live Release Ice Fishing Derby

Participants spread out across the west arm of Lake Nipissing targeting walleye, pike and yellow perch.

This second annual live release ice fishing event runs from 7:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. with dinner and prize presentations to follow that evening at the club. Proceeds from the event go towards the repair and maintenance of the Rod and Gun club. 

Date: March 9, 2024

Location: Noelville

Sault Ste. Marie and Algoma

Elliot Lake Ice Fishing Derby

The first 100 anglers registered for the 15th annual Elliot Lake Ice Fishing Derby are allowed on the ice at 9:00 a.m. to select their predrilled holes. The next 100 are allowed on at 9:30 a.m. and so on until all anglers are on the ice before the official start at noon.

The grand prize is 50% of entry fees and awarded to the longest fish caught of any species, which amounted to more than $20,000 at last year’s event.

Date: February 24, 2024

Location: Elliot Lake

Dubreuilville Magpie Winter Pike Derby

Thousands of dollars are in store for anglers catching big pike on the Magpie Reservoir from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. The Dubreuilville Magpie Winter Pike Derby awards $7000 for the largest pike with cash prizes tapering down to $1000 for the fifth largest pike.

This annual event is run by the Dubreuilville Magpie Rod and Gun Club.

Date: March 9, 2024

Location: Dubreuilville

Wawa Ice Fishing Derby

This is the 32nd year for this multi-day event that regularly attracts over 1,000 participants.

Anglers spread out over the ice of Hawk, Wawa and Manitouwik Lakes catching pike, walleye, lake trout, whitefish, rainbow trout, speckled trout and splake.

The Wawa Ice Fishing Derby awards $12,000 for the heaviest fish from each of the three derby lakes plus major prizes for the next five heaviest fish caught on each lake in addition to a $35,000 registration prize.

Dates: March 1-3, 2024

Location: Wawa

The Dunlop Derby

Dunlop Lake Lodge, north of Elliot Lake, promotes fun family fishing with The Dunlop Derby.

Registration is $25 for adults and free for children under 10. The grand prize is half the registration fee and third place finish gets a pizza party for 10 people at Dunlop Lake Lodge.

Date: March 9, 2024

Location: Dunlop Lake Lodge

Algoma Fishing Game Club Children’s Perch Derby

This catch and release event is open to children 14 and under accompanied by a parent or guardian.

Volunteers are on the ice to assist young anglers and there are prizes for every participant. The Algoma Fish and Game Club’s Children’s Perch Derby is followed by hot dogs, hot chocolate, trophy and prize presentations.

The event is contingent on safe ice conditions at the Neebish area of Lake George.

Date: March 10, 2024

Location: Laird

Hearst Pike Fever

There are big cash prizes for the first annual Hearst Pike Fever on Pivabisca Lake with $10,000 for largest pike down to $2000 for the fourth largest.

The one-day tournament runs from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and is hosted by the Hearst Anglers and Hunters Club.

Date: March 16, 2024

Location: Hearst

Central Ontario

Muskrat Lake Civitan Ice Fishing Derby

Participants must be equipped with a container with a handle to bring in their pike, trout or perch to the measuring station alive. Cash prizes are determined by species and length. All fishing is within a designated area on the east side of the lake.

The annual Muskrat Lake Ice Fishing Derby is run by the Cobden Civitan Club.

Date: February 3, 2024

Location: Cobden

Southern Ontario

Island Lake Fishing Derby

The 14th Annual Island Lake Fishing Derby at Island Lake Conservation Area runs daily from 8:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Staff will be available on ice or at the Rental Shop to measure fish and register for prizes for pike, black crappie, and yellow perch.

Event dates include Ontario Family Fishing Weekend, February 17-19, when participants can fish without a licence. 

Dates: February 10 - February 19, 2024

Location: Island Lake Conservation Area

C-Bay Charity Ice Fishing Derby

Billed as a day of fishing fun and philanthropy, the third annual C-Bay Charity Ice Fishing Derby is held on Constance Bay of the Ottawa River and aims to bring the community together for a great cause.

The event is run by the Northern Off Road Girls Foundation and will be support Trips for Kids Ottawa this year.

Date: February 10, 2024

Location: Ottawa River

Orleans Youth Fishing Club Ice Fishing Derby

This live release event is at Petrie Island’s Walleye Bay on the Ottawa River with cash prizes for the top walleye, pike and perch.

All participants in the Orleans Youth Fishing Club Ice Fishing Derby must be equipped with a container with a handle to bring live fish to the measuring station.

Date: February 18, 2024

Location: Ottawa River

Harbor Harvest

Hosted by the Nepean Sailing Club the Harbour Harvest is a family friendly event to raise money for the Ottawa River Keepers, Ottawa Community Housing and Ottawa Community Immigrant Services Organization.

Volunteers will be on hand to help drill holes. This event is held during the annual Family Fishing Weekend so no fishing licence is required.

Date: February 18, 2024 

Location: Ottawa River

Online ice fishing events

Lake Simcoe Jumbo Throwdown

The Lake Simcoe JUMBO Throwdown is an on-line Catch, Photo and Release tournament on the productive perch waters of Lakes Simcoe and Couchiching.

Register and participate using the FishDonkey app. Cash prizes are rewarded for the longest perch and longest group of five perch.

Dates: January 6 - February 25, 2024

Ontario Ice Fishing Challenge

The fourth annual Ontario Ice Fishing Challenge is a province wide Catch, Photo, Release tournament run by Anglers Atlas.

The month-long event is run using the MyCatch mobile app pitting angler against angler and community against community. There are precise rules on measuring and photographing fish. Catch and release is encouraged but not mandatory with cash prizes for a wide variety of species.

Dates: February 1 - February 29, 2024

Lake Simcoe Whitefish Showdown

Lake Simcoe produces giant whitefish and anglers have 10 days to compete for cash for the top 10 fish plus plenty of product giveaways.

All rules and regulations for the Lake Simcoe Whitefish Showdown can be found on the FishDonkey app for this online Catch, Photo and Release event.

Dates: February 25 - March 5, 2024

Last updated: April 18, 2024

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