Paradise on Ice - Fishing Lake Nipissing

Why ice fish? A lot of people second guess the idea of sitting on a frozen lake, looking down a dark hole in the ice, and waiting for a half-thawed fish to grab your line. That’s not how to view it, however. To me the idea of getting out on the expanse of some iced over Northeastern Ontario Lake is one of the most majestic winter activities you can think of. Add good camaraderie with friends and a fresh fish fry of walleye or perch, and you’ve got a perfect time.

One of the best places to head out and try ice fishing is Lake Nipissing. This is one big frozen lake (873 square km). It’s also legendary for ice anglers hauling in a good catch while they’re out there. I don’t recall a time ever getting skunked out on Nipissing.

2009 Walleye1
Aside from the great fishing, you’ve got the opportunity to step it up a notch and sleep on the ice while you’re out there. A number of outfitters provide ice bungalows where you can stay cozy in a heated cabin right on the ice, fishing through a hole drilled right beside your bed. How cool is that? Fish when you want, make a good meal when you want, play a game of cards when you want, sleep when you want. It’s basically paradise.

My preference is Fish Bay Marina. Located on the south shore of Lake Nipissing, it’s only about a three-hour drive from Toronto. The outfitter drives out frequently to deliver bait and check your catch. Each bungalow is equipped with a two-burner cooktop and all the kitchen utensils, barbecue, table and chairs, TV and DVD player, tip ups, holes in the ice, and yes, toilet facilities.

Walleye and perch are usually the species I catch. There’s also pike, white fish and ling—an odd-looking fish that’s called a “poor man’s lobster” and has the sweet taste of walleye.

You might want to bring an auger. Each angler is allowed two holes. Drilling a series of holes outside the bungalow and placing tip-ups adds to the action—and fun. There’s nothing like sprinting out when a flag goes up—fish on! Next is to place a fresh fillet on the barbecue and chunk a piece of frozen Lake Nipissing into your nightly cocktail. Have I said already that this is pretty much paradise?

About Kevin Callan

Kevin Callan is the author of fifteen books, including the bestselling The Happy Camper, and a popular series of paddling guides. He has been a key speaker at all the major outdoor events for over 25 years. Callan is also a frequent guest on radio and television and a regular contributor to Explore and CanoeRoots Magazine. He is a winner of several National Magazine Awards and film awards and was listed as one of the top 100 modern-day explorers by the Canadian Geographical Society. He was also made Patron Paddler for Paddle Canada.

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