Toronto to Lake Nipissing
Every winter my husband heads north to Lake Nipissing Ontario to ice fish. Ice fishing is “open” on Lake Nipissing from about January 1 to mid-March, every year. Lake Nipissing is located about a 3.5 hour drive north (342km) of the Toronto area.
Ice fishing is an interesting hobby, and a wonderful outdoor winter family activity. It’s available in frozen lakes across North America, but this is our favourite locale. We can even ice fish on the small lake near our house – but the ice isn’t frozen for as long – and melts sooner – and there aren’t as many fish! On Lake Nipissing the ice is generally nice and thick, we know the area, AND my husband catches LOTS of fish every year.
You can be completely self-sufficient at ice fishing – drill your own ice holes and set up your own tent or ice hut, (if you know what you are doing) or you can rely on local ice fishing operators to make the process much easier for a quick getaway.
Day-Hut Ice Fishing
For this year’s first getaway – my husband rented a “day-hut” for two days of fishing, and he and the boys stayed in a local hotel overnight, booked separately. (Link to Ontario Staycation Tax Credit story). The operator of the day-hut, sets everything up, and transports the boys and their gear to and from the location via ATV or Snowmobile. This way, we know the ice is safe, we know how well the fish have been biting, and they can spend their time off fishing and enjoying themselves – instead of drilling holes in 12″ ice and setting up camp.
We have recently purchased a Lake Nipissing property, and so in the future, we may set up our own ice fishing hut and drill our own holes while we stay in our cottage, but for now we will go with the experts. There’s a lot to setting up an ice fishing location and winterizing a cottage – and this is supposed to be fun after all!
It’s also possible to rent an “ice bungalow”, which is an ice fishing hut with sleeping accommodations. That’s right – you spend the whole day on the ice, and then you sleep there as well! These things get booked up though, so make your plans in advance of the season.
You bring your own food and gear, and the huts are generally heated, with outhouses, with woodstoves and even barbecues! The boys packed hot dogs for the barbecue, and purchased the fish bait from the hut operator.
If you would prefer to stay home in the warmth and just think about ice fishing, then watch the 1993 move – Grumpy Old Men with Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon. My boys are nothing like Grumpy Old Men but they occasionally dress like that.
Our favourite local Ice Fishing operators are Nanmark’s Lighthouse Resort located on the narrows leading into Callander Bay, Lake Nipissing. The ice fishing scenes in the movie are a good depiction of ice fishing though!
This time around the boys had very cold weather, but the ice hut was warm inside, and they brought home fish for a nice supper.