Putting the Wonder Back in Winter: Nipissing Ice Fishing Trip Edition

These fully-equipped fishing huts (bunkbeds anyone?) are the perfect place for your next IRL besties adventure.
Ice hut silhouetted in the setting sun on frozen Lake Nipissing

Fishing from bed? Sign me the heck up. 

For my entire childhood I spent every day of the year outside. Each winter we would be on endless hikes in the woods behind my home, being pulled around on a sled by our husky, skating on the rink Dad spent hours perfecting in the backyard, and always trying to out-do the last snow fort or snow sculpture in the yard. Memories of winter were incredible ones.

Fast forward to adulthood, and working outside for much of it… winter and its snow filled days slowly became less and less appealing. Winter became long. Snow became another job.

Enter social media. 

Rach with a sweet crappie Girls Ice Fishing Trip on Lake Nipissing
The women of this year's Lake Nipissing Ice Fishing Trip

Connecting with many amazing humans on these platforms over the last decade, and finding the ones who’ve helped renew my childlike love of the outdoors, has been pivotal. I’ve met people I now camp, fish, paddle, boat & hike with. People I now call true friends. 

New Friends, True Friends, Fish Friends, Blue Friends

Last year I was invited to a girls fishing trip in Northeastern Ontario. I hadn’t even met any of these ladies in real life, but my answer was “immediately yes”. Having just picked up ice fishing five seasons before with my husband, I was pumped to spend some time with women who truly lived and breathed as anglers. One thing about me? I will have my line in the water until you forcibly remove me from the lake, and it’s been SO VALIDATING finding others who are the same.

When the mention of staying multiple nights in a fully equipped ice bungalow was made, I jumped at the chance. 

Bam's bungalows illuminated on the ice at night
Bam's bungalows glowing on the ice at night // Rach Harding

The ladies organizing had made plans to be outfitted by Bam’s Tours on the south shore of Lake Nipissing near North Bay. Don’t get me wrong – slugging my wares in a sled, across snow covered lakes, for kilometres, to find just the right rock shoal to set up on, is some real (type 2) fun. But being picked up right from the parking lot in a covered sled, and having you and all your belongings driven right to the door of your warm bungalow… it has a certain… je ne sais quoi.

Fishing in Comfort With Bam's Bungalows

All of the bungalows at Bam’s are outfitted with washroom and kitchen facilities. Propane cooktops, a wash bin for dishes, and a countertop to fillet your catches. If you didn’t already know… meals taste WAY better in the middle of the lake. 

The sleeping quarters are bunks, so you can do an old fashioned game of rock, paper, scissors to see who gets stuck with the top bunk – and has to fly down the ladder when their rod goes off (if you’re doing the ole “rest and fish”). Or, maybe, you just have some real good friends who will grab it for you!

We fished heavily for days both inside and out, but the winds were high, and we took full advantage of our cozy quarters for much of the trip. We landed all sorts of fish from walleye to cisco, and of course I made sure I took home enough to make some tacos for my husband.

Fishing in luxury Getting the gear out
Photo: The Canadian Outdoor Photographer

Ice Fishing in Northeastern Ontario is Really, Really Fun

The anticipation of a bite, a fish on, line peeling, and only having a guess as to what it is by the way they’re fighting you—this is the child-like excitement I never want to let go of. Doing it overnight, with great friends and endless laughter, true slumber-party style? If I could tell my younger self this is what my late 30s had in store, she woulda been pretty stoked. Ice fishing has paired beautifully with my love for open water—and it’s made the last five winters of my life really, really, fun. 

About Rachael Harding

Residing in Northumberland County and working as a 911 Dispatcher in the GTA; for Rachael, spending time up north is a welcomed contrast to the demands of her career. When she’s not exploring, you’ll find her on her hobby farm caring for her horses, casting a line into local waters, or planning for the next adventure our province has to offer.

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