What can we do while we're waiting for the ice to freeze?

Most people are in one of two camps: You either love it or you hate it.

This has been one of the warmest Decembers on record. While the some are rejoicing at the warm weather, the winter lovers are unhappy as they can't go ice fishing, snowmobiling or even skiing!

So, what's one to do when we don't yet have ice or a lot of snow? A lot apparently.

Go for a winter paddle 

This has to be a first for Jacqueline and Jordan Boileau who went for a canoe ride on the Atikokan River on an unusually warm December day.

Go for a boat ride

What? In December? Yes, on December 6th this photo was taken boating on Lake of the Woods near Sioux Narrows, Ontario! The average temperature in December is about -13C (8.6F) so we're not generally boating in December.

Unbelievable sunset over Lake of the Woods near Sioux Narrows, Ontario
Unbelievable sunset over Lake of the Woods. Photo: Township of Sioux Narrows-Nestor Falls

Skating on clear ice

While not thick enough to drive on, Howey Bay in Red Lake was certainly thick enough to skate on. It's not very often we get to skate on the lakes without any snow on them. It makes for such a fun experience! Thanks to Jayson Botel for sharing on the Red Lake facebook page

Skating on Howey Bay, Red Lake    Photo: Jayson Botel
Skating on Howey Bay, Red Lake.   Photo: Jayson Botel

Enjoy a good old hockey game

Another shot of Howey Bay. This iconic video was posted by Derek Yutzy on Instagram.


Take part in a special event

Many of the Santa Claus' parades this year were blessed with balmy weather. The Canadian Pacific Holiday Train passed through Thunder Bay, Ignace, Dryden, Vermilion Bay and Kenora at what seemed like record temperatures. 

Enjoying the CP Holiday Train concert
Enjoying the CP Holiday Train concert

Go for a hike

There are many walking trail systems in and around the communities in Northwest Ontario. Soon we'll be skiing the cross country ski trails or snowmobiling the OFSC trails, but in the meantime, enjoy the balmy weather and get in some vitamin D by taking a hike. 

Beautiful winter scene near Atikokan.   Photo: Chris Stromberg
Beautiful winter scene near Atikokan. Photo: Chris Stromberg

Historical highs in the area for December range from -6C to -10.5 C (22F to 13F). Many of the communities in Northwest Ontario experienced temperatures above freezing for the first 10 days of December. Red Lake reached 4.1C on December 5th, Kenora reached 5.6C and Fort Frances topped out at 7.1C on December 4th and Thunder Bay reached a whopping 10.1C (50F) on December 5th!!

Winter is taking its time this year, but it will get here and we will be out sledding and ice fishing before you know it. If you're heading to Sunset Country, there are plenty of outfitters that are open in the winter. Our brand new Ontario's Sunset Country Travel Association is about to shipped from the printers. You can order your free copy of the guide and outfitter map on our website.

About Erin Rody

I grew up on Black Sturgeon Lake in Northwestern Ontario. I am a staff writer for the Sunset Country Travel Association. Through my articles I hope to entice you to visit the wonderful region I call home. We are all about outdoor adventure; with 70,000 lakes and rivers and a whole lot of forests how can we not be? Whether you like to fish, hunt, canoe, kayak, boat or go camping, Sunset Country has something for you. Enjoy!

Recommended Articles

New Restrictions on What You Can Bring into Canada

Keep up to dates with the changes.

Renew Your Outdoors Card, Online!

It's never been easier to buy your Ontario fishing license and Outdoors Card

8 facts you didn't know about moose

Just how big is a moose anyway?

Rent an Ice Hut in Sunset Country

Make the most of winter in Northwestern Ontario with a unique ice fishing experience

A Beginner's Guide to Ice Fishing in Canada

(With a few tips for the seasoned fishermen too!)

Winter adventures in Kenora

Discover Northwestern Ontario's vibrant outdoor scene

Black Spruce 101

Things You Probably Didn't Know About This Boreal Icon

Secluded Cottage Rentals

You won't believe what's available at some of these remote lodges!

White Otter Castle: The Incredible Story of the Mansion in the Middle of Nowhere

Imagine single-handedly building this massive structure in the middle of the wilderness?

Detouring the gigantic Aulneau Peninsula

Whitefish Bay to Sabaskong Bay just got easier

10 Facts About Lac Seul

How many of these did you know?

Curious as to which fish species are in your favourite lake?

Use this interactive map to find out.

Winter's Magical transitions

Experience the boreal in a whole new way.

The Incredible Snowflake

Is every snowflake unique?

Northwest Ontario's Whitetail Report

A wrap-up of Northwest Ontario's Whitetail 2017 Season

10 things to do in Dryden

See the famous "Dryden Buck"!

Shed Hunting 101

How to find antlers this spring in Sunset Country 

Landscape Photography at its Finest

Learn how to capture our sunsets and more!

A Christmas Tradition in Kenora Since 1931

Kenora does it right...

Trout on Ice

EVERYTHING you need to know about ice fishing for trout