10 Must Try Ice Fishing Lakes in Ontario

Every kind of fish, every kind of experience—Ontario ice fishing is some of the best in the world. Check out these top 10 spots!

Ontario’s reputation as a world-class fishing destination doesn’t change when winter arrives! Our province is known as Hardwater Heaven!

With approximately 250,000 lakes in Ontario, it’s no wonder we're the best province to fish. There’s nothing better than getting together on the ice with friends and enjoying the day fishing. 

For those not intimidated by thoughts of cold winter days, but who rather relish the hard water heaven, this list is for you! Ontario has endless winter fishing opportunities, and there are so many amazing lakes to list, we can't possibly cover them all. The list of best ice fishing spots I have comprised here is based on my own experiences and those of fellow fishing experts. Although there are endless amazing lakes to fish in Ontario, this is merely the shortlist! 

Here are the top ten lakes for ice fishing in Ontario. 

1. Crystal Lake, Atikokan

Atikokan Ontario, surrounded by beautiful lakes and trees, is located along scenic Highway 11/17 in the southeast region of Sunset Country. Atikokan is a fun, family-friendly community that relishes its small-town charm. There are plenty of lakes to ice fish, but Crystal Lake is my favourite.

Crystal Lake offers excellent Smallmouth Bass, Northern Pike, and Lake Trout fishing

2. Lake of the woods, Kenora

A spectacular location for multi-species ice fishing and known as “Walleye Capital of the World”. Other popular fish include perch, pike, crappie, whitefish, trout, smallmouth bass, lake trout, and musky.    

3. Wawa

Wawa residents love ice fishing! So much so that Wawa hosts an annual ice fishing derby that boasts a whopping $140,000 + in prizes and cash giveaways to derby winners!

If that’s not enough, all entries have a chance to win one of the randomly-drawn prizes!

The derby lakes are Wawa Lake, Hawk Lake, and Manitowik Lake. Check out the official derby website.

4. Black Bay, Lake Superior 

Off the mighty Lake Superior, and close to the city of Thunder Bay is Black Bay. The north shore is blessed with a smorgasbord of fishing available but Black Bay makes the list for its multi-species fishing and especially its big perch!

A drive-to location off the TransCanada Highway.

5. Lac des Mille Lacs Lake, Thunder Bay

This lake spans an area of 94 square miles with a drainage basin of 685 square miles.

The outflow rivers drain into Hudson Bay. Lac des Mille Lacs is a lake that has a long and outstanding history for its year-round fishing. Ice fishing is popular and there are a good amount of facilities that cater to the winter angler.

6. Wakomata Lake, Mississagi Valley

Get off the beaten path, but not too far away!

Approx. 90 minutes from the Mississagi Valley, and located about 50 km north of Thessalon on Hwy 129, Wakomata Lake is in the District of Algoma.

The lake reaches maximum depths of 240' with an average depth of 100'.

With a perimeter of 41.6 km (26 miles) and a surface area of 2,468 hectares (6,100 acres). Wakomata offers sensational fishing year-round!

Species to target: Lake trout

7. NightHawk Lake, TimmIns 

Excellent year-round fishing!

This lake is part of the James Bay drainage basin.   

Bonus lake to check out: While checking out fishing in Timmins, you may want to try your luck on Dunn Lake, located about 16km from Cochrane.

8. Nipissing Lake, Nipissing

When it comes to impressive lakes, this big lake ranks at the top. Its fishery is impressive and is legendary for its ice fishing.  The waters of Lake Nipissing are home to many species of fish. The sport fish most sought after is the walleye and rightly so. Trophy pike, muskie, jumbo perch and bass are Nipissing specialties too.

9. Lake Simcoe

Lake Simcoe has been called the ice-fishing capital of Canada! This amazing lake is located approximately an hour and a half from Toronto and is 48 km long and 29 km wide with a maximum depth of 136 ft.  

Species to target: Pike, walleye, perch, white fish, lake trout. The lake also has smallmouth and largemouth bass, there is smelt fishing in the spring as well.  

10. Bay of Quinte, Belleville 

On the northern shore of Lake Ontario, the Bay of Quinte is west of the head of the Saint Lawrence River that drains the Great Lakes into the Gulf of Saint Lawrence. Located about 200 km east of Toronto and 400 km west of Montreal, this scenic area is a hot spot for fishing!

Ice fishing on the Bay of Quinte is highly regarded. Year-round, the lake is famous for its massive trophy walleye–some of the biggest I’ve ever seen are consistently being caught/released in this body of water!

Popular species targeted for ice fishing: Giant Walleye

We hope this round-up of winter fishing lakes in Ontario has given you some inspiration. Start planning your Northern Ontario ice-fishing trip now! 

About Rebekka Redd

Rebekka Redd is an avid fly fisher, artist, equestrian, environmentalist, animal advocate, martial artist, published writer, and TV show host. 

She began fishing with her two brothers at the age of eight and she started fly fishing in her early teens. After her brother died in a tragic accident she taught herself to fly fish and it has helped heal her heart after losing her sibling.

Today, Rebekka fishes in memory of her brother. She mentors aspiring young anglers about fly fishing with casting lessons at outdoor trade shows & community involvement programs for the youth.

Rebekka is a passionate conservationist. She is actively involved in her local steelhead club to help raise public awareness on preserving fish populations, habitats and proper fish handling techniques.

She has worked as a photographer and videographer in film, CMT music videos, and on television. She also worked on CBC's number one family drama, Heartland.

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