Ice Fishing

"It's not just the destination".

 "It's not just the destination, but also the trip that makes the day."

It's not just getting to the lake or river to ice fish, it's the spectacular scenery along the way that can also be enjoyed and captured on camera.

During his years of ice fishing, Ron Zeppa is one of those who appreciates the winter wonderland along the trails, whether it's heavily snow-laden fir trees or a rock face layered in giant icicles.

Ron Zeppa

Winter provides it all.

Ron has been an avid ice fisherman for a number of years.

Being a faithful boater in our area, ice fishing affords him the opportunity to visit some remote places that have limited access in the no snow months.

Ron Zeppa

Sitting on his 1991 ski-doo, he skims across the fluffy snow to his final destination whether it's near or far.

He may be breaking a new trail or following a well-used one that will bring him to that perfect spot.

He is definitely in his element.

Ron Zeppa

He may go for a few hours or for a few days staying comfy, cozy in his portable ice hut complete with the amenity of a small heater.

He may go alone or be accompanied by friends or family.

Of course, he's dressed appropriately in layers of clothing with a t-shirt, sweater, long johns, track pants, skidoo suit, gloves, wool socks, boots, balaclava and helmet.

If you're too warm you can remove some clothing but if you're wearing all that you have on and you're still cold, that can become a problem or even lead to frostbite or hypothermia.

Ron Zeppa

Bring plenty of provisions like energy snacks, lots of food, a change of clothes, cell phone and plenty of water whether you're going out for a couple hours or a couple days.

He even packs a portable BBQ for a hot meal.

The smell of sausage cooking on the ice will boost your appetite as well as others downwind.

Remember Murphy's Law, anything can and will happen.

Ron Zeppa

It may be breaking through the ice at a soft spot, getting stuck on a trail or perhaps breaking down.

A few extra vital parts, a shovel, an emergency medical kit, an axe, a tool kit and of course an ice auger are essential items to bring with you.

Always let family members know where you are going and when you expect to return.

Then if you are not back at the appropriate time, measures can be taken to check on you.

The Search and Rescue can be notified if it's expected that you may be in trouble.

Better to be safe than sorry.

Use common sense when you are outdoors during the winter.

Be prepared for anything to go wrong and ice fishing will be a fun and tasty experience.

"It's just great to be outdoors in the fresh air. It's always a bonus when the fish are biting." states Ron.

Different lakes offer different species.

"I try to go to areas that have a few lakes in the vicinity so my options are open, lake trout in one and walleye in the next," says Ron.

Just keep in mind to check the regulations for the lakes as limits can be different from other areas.

Any fresh caught fish are good but in his opinion smoked fish is the best.

Ron has a smoker and often uses it on the fish he brings home.

Starting the day before he will cure it for 24 hours, then uses maple or apple wood chips to add the smoke flavour. It doesn't get any better than that.

Ron truly believes, "It's not just the destination but also the trip that makes the day."

The Algoma Region has many, many lakes and there are so many that I visit, but here are a few:

Starting north off of Hwy. 556, I visit Devil's Lake and Garden Lake. Both contain lake trout with a few speckled trout in Garden Lake. One of my favourites is the group of lakes I go to when I travel to Northland Lake, also on Hwy.556.

You can drive to Northland Lake and take your snow machine to several lakes in the area. This is an area that holds a variety of species. Crooked Lake for lake trout. Brilliant and Kaufman Lakes for speckled trout. Reserve Lake for walleye. All of these lakes are trail accessible and relatively close to one another.

Heading east on Hwy. 17E. I travel to an area behind Echo Bay. Taking Hwy. 638 there are many easily accessible lakes to fish. Garden Lake and Rock Lake offer perch, pike and walleye and you can drive to and walk out to drop a few lines. I go to Lonely Lake for lake trout and Tower Lake for splake.

A little farther on Hwy. 638 and take Bass Lake Rd. Starting from Bass Lake you can fish Bass Lake for perch, pike and walleye or go over the hill to McMahon Lake for lake trout. Often I will fish McMahon Lake in the morning and relocate to Bass Lake for the evening.

Other lakes in the area are Patten Lake for lake trout and Heart Lake for splake.

A little farther down Hwy 17E I frequent Lake Matinenda. Lake Matinenda is located behind Blind River. Taking Hwy. 557 you will pass several lakes but the hwy. stops at Lake Matinenda. Lake Matinenda is known for the lake trout fishery.

If you want to venture off of Matinenda you can go to other lakes to chase lake trout also. To mention a few you have Big Moon Lake, Bay Lake, Cream , Coffee and Emerald Lakes. All well known for their lake trout. I am very fortunate as I can leave my house by snow machine and tow my portable ice hut to Upper St. Mary's River. This is great to get out for a little white fish action.

As I have mentioned, these are just a few of the lakes in our area. Living here in Sault Ste. Marie, we are truly blessed by the many fishing opportunities we have and we get to enjoy the beautiful country that Algoma region has to offer. Hard water fishing is the best.

About Carol Zarudenec Smith

I am a senior citizen who was an editor and writer for the Townies magazine for about five years and thoroughly relished being a part of such a worthwhile, local historical magazine. I was saddened by its unfortunate demise. I received numerous compliments on this special magazine over the years. I have also been published in Downhome magazine and several times in Senior Lifetimes. I have been a journalist for Local 2 for over two years now and truly enjoy covering various events and providing our readers with interesting articles and snapshots for online publication.

Last year, I became a member of the Algoma Arts Society and the Northern Ontario Arts Association and have some of my artwork on the Algoma Arts Society website as well as the Arts Council website for Art of the Day. www.algomaartsociety.ca and www.ssmarts.org

I have been drawing since I could hold a crayon. In my teens, my parents encouraged me to paint with oils, experiment with charcoal and sketch with pen and ink and pencils. I loved the brilliant colours of oil paints but today only use acrylics. I paint whatever interests me or presents a challenge. My pet portraits are very popular. Presently, I am trying to provide enough canvases for upcoming craft shows and hopefully my own art show in the future. I find it exhilarating to have more time to dedicate to writing and painting now that I am retired. I feel I am truly blessed with both God-given talents.

I was born and raised in Sault Ste. Marie in what I consider God's country with its rugged, endless and breathtaking landscapes that not only run along the shores of Lake Superior but into the forested interior and into our many lakes, rivers and streams. There is definitely limitless motivation for any outdoor photographer or en plein air (in the open air, painting outdoors) artist. It's like being in a candy store with so many choices for that perfect scenery to transfer onto a photograph or canvas.

Sault Ste. Marie has it all for every enthusiast whether you’re an artist, boater, cyclist, fisherman, photographer, rock climber, skier, snowmobiler or walker on the hub trail. I feel very blessed to live in this year round active community that abounds with things to do in every season.

Recommended Articles

9 Facts to Know about the Agawa Canyon Tour Train

Get ready for a bucket list experience in the wilderness of Northern Ontario.

Fish City

Discover steelhead, salmon, bass, and more in the rapids of Sault Ste Marie.

17 Best Summer Activities in Sault Ste. Marie

Plan your summer in the Soo!

3 Waterfalls You Can't Miss Near #theSoo

Where to Eat, Dine, and Play on the Sault Ste. Marie Waterfront

Your guide to discovering the diverse shorelines of a historic Northern Ontario waterway.

Experience The Incredible Indigenous Culture of Bawating

Indigenous Experiences in the Soo

8 Reasons Why You Must go to #TheSoo Right NOW!

Cruising to the Next Level

A guide to the historic Miss Marie lock boat tour in Sault Ste. Marie.

The Agawa Canyon Tour Train

A Canadian natural wonder in Sault Ste. Marie

The Group of Seven, 100 years in Algoma

An artistic trip on the rails they rode.

9 Awesome Patios

Check out these hot spots before the summer ends!

Get sandy this summer in and around the Soo

6 best beaches for any occasion.

Keep Those Kids Active, Happy And Healthy This Summer

Summer Camps Here We Come!

4 Amazing Brunch Places You Need To Try in the Soo

Sundays are for sleeping in, spending time with the people you love—and for eating brunch of course!

The Soo By Bike

Choosing a cycling destination in Ontario is no easy task.

A Spectacular Fall Colour Tour

Come Aboard The Agawa Canyon Tour Train—An Adventure Inside And Out!

That's Italian

The Best of Italy In Sault Ste. Marie!

Freedom Of The Hills

Best Places To Connect With Nature

No need to leave your furry friend at home

Rocky and Rosie are allowed to come!

Spring Smelt Fishing in Ontario

Smelts are running! Fishing with Carter Dorscht.