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Ice Fishing 101 with Jonna Z
It’s been a crazy month, but I finally had some time to head out for another adventure. I have so many things I want to do this winter, but since it been nice this week I figured it would be a good time to go ice fishing. Some people may think that ice fishing is a boring hobby. Just sitting out there in cold weather. Typically, people think that the purpose of ice fishing is to catch some fish. It may be for some people, but for me, it’s just quality time to enjoy with friends and have some fun. Nipigon is the perfect place to experience one of Canada’s great winter sports with there being a million and one places to go ice fishing, but for the ease of this blog we decided to go to Lofquist Lake, which is actually in the Township of Nipigon, just a hop skip and jump up Cameron Falls Road.
Lofquist is a popular local beach spot in the summer, but in the winter it’s a small, accessible lake that sees its share of ice fishing action. It’s a perfect spot for families, or those new to the sport who might not have the all the bells and whistles, like snow machine or huts. It’s a stocked lake that is home to brookies, walleye, and splake.
I just have to say this up front – I HATE the cold. Being born and raised in minus 30 winters I have got very good at dressing for the weather to avoid freezing outside. I bundled up with a pair of Nipigon Nylons, warm winter boots, snow pants, and my little brothers super warm jacket and mitts (sorry Ian), and started my adventure. With frosty temperatures and ice 13 inches thick, ice fishing requires more supplies then general summer fishing. When planning your ice fishing trip, there are a few essentials I suggest bringing along, such as a shelter, chair, sled, and heater. You’ll also need your basic fishing gear, such as a rod, line, and reels, as well as bait, lures, spud bar, auger, skimmer (we forgot one and ended up clearing the hole with our hands-something I don’t recommend) and of course your fishing license. Lucky for me I have two great friends who brought all the supplies needed. Once we got all our supplies to a spot, holes cut in the ice, the hut up, and the heater on it was fishing time.
We sat and fished for about 3 hours, and nothing. I can admit that I was a little annoyed at first but then I realized ice fishing isn’t only about fishing or catching a fish. It’s also about appreciating the nature, peace, and silence. It’s amazing to think there might be 10 feet of water below you. Only 12 inches of ice is between you and the freezing cold water. Sometimes you seem to forget that you are actually walking on top of a large body of water. I had a blast and can’t wait to go fish at different hot spots in the Nipigon area.
Don’t be too ambitious in your first few ice fishing adventures. Small familiar waters are the best place to begin. There is a ton of places to ice fish here and along the north shore, just to name a few:
- Kama Bay (on Lake Superior) is just 20 minutes east of Nipigon is Kama Bay
- Jesse Lake – up to 80 feet deep – lake trout season opens later here, however, the fishing can be great
- Black Bay (on Lake Superior) – 30 minutes west of Nipigon on Highway 11/17. Ice huts and primary fishing takes place far across the bay via snow machine. Visit Hamilton Baits in Hurkett for more information, ice hut rentals and more.
For more information visit https://nipigon.com/icefish/
Before you head out, here are some ice fishing rules and safety tips to consider:
- You are allowed two poles each while ice fishing, unlike in the summer when you can only fish with one rod & reel.
- You need an Ontario Fishing License and Ontario Outdoors Card.
- At all times you must be within 60 m (197 ft.) of any line you are using when ice fishing and must have a clear view of the lines being used.
- Check the weather before you go out, be prepared with the right clothing and equipment.
- Check the ice conditions
Have fun, ice fishing is one of those things that only those of us with long winters and lakes get to enjoy, so even if you don’t catch a single thing, it’s the experience that counts
Until next time, exploring the edge