Having trouble finding ice time? Seventy-five minutes north of Toronto, Lake Simcoe has 752 square kilometres of it from late January to March. Named “the ice fishing capital of the world,” the vast lake becomes a virtual man-village of ice huts and fishing holes, the perfect hideout to bond over cigars and Scotch.
What you need: There are over 30 ice hut operators who offer guided trips or just the essentials. For $30 to $50 per guy, you get a heated hut (seats 2 to 6), the ride to and from a pre-drilled hole and bait. B.Y.O.R. Bring Your Own Rod. You can pick-up an ice fishing rod and ice line for about $40. If you’re a minimalist, a “stick” does the trick for under $10 (think Huck Finn’s fishing pole).
Rules and Regs: The Ministry of Natural Resources patrols regularly and if you’re caught without a fishing licence, you’ll pay a hefty fine.
Where to stay: Some huts are also sleepers, but for the less adventurous many B&B’s, motels and resorts have package deals. Weekends are premium, so book ahead. Private cottages are also up for rent, but you’ll have to search the Web.
What’s the catch? Hang closer to shore to hook pike, perch and walleye. For lake trout and whitefish, you have to venture out where the wind is colder, and the water is deeper. Whatever the catch, get Canada’s own Rocky Madsen’s Fish Crisp before feasting.