The latter half of the winter season is approaching, and I know how precious timing can be for all the ice fishing anglers out there. We realistically have six weeks left in Northeastern Ontario to optimize our time on the hard water, chasing all of our favourite kinds of fish. If any of you are like myself, I think you can all agree that half the fun is in the adventure. Have you thought about taking one last trip to make the year worthwhile? Why not make it to the largest freshwater island in the world—Manitoulin?
Top Notch Fishing
I like to say that Manitoulin Island is a fish factory in the best way—it is completely surrounded by Lake Huron and the North Channel that provide excellent angling and is filled with 108 freshwater lakes itself! Wow, that place is BIG!!! Not only are there many choices, but the number of trophy species shouldn’t be underrated either. Some of the most popular species to target include rainbow trout, jumbo perch, whitefish, lake trout, walleye and northern pike—there is also an opportunity to hook into one of the great salmon species or even a wild steelhead.
The Island is a very special place throughout the entire region for residents of Northeastern Ontario, and one many people call home during the summer months. Lodges, bed and breakfasts, endless varying terrain, multiple communities and amazing views truly make Manitoulin a go-to destination. Little Current and the swing bridge happily await your arrival along with the communities of Mindemoya, Providence Bay, Kagawong, Gore Bay, M’Chigeeng, South Bay, Wikwemikong, and Meldrum Bay to name a few.
Where to Fish
There are fishing hot spots all across the island for a wide variety of species. We've narrowed these down for you to choose from, keeping your target species in mind.
- Rainbow trout – Wolseley Bay, McGregor Bay
- Lake trout – South Bay, Lake Manitou
- Jumbo perch – South Bay, Mindemoya Lake, Lake Kagawong, Wolseley Bay
- Whitefish – Lake Manitou, Lake Kagawong, South Bay
- Northern pike – McGregor Bay, Ice Lake
Each one of the fisheries listed above provide some of the clearest freshwater you will even experience, and will allow you to sight fish the shallows or watch your bait plummet into the abyss. This is a great feature not often experienced on other inland lakes. For these clear lakes, I highly suggest reducing the size of your fishing line and using more translucent, natural patterns. Your tried and true ice fishing lures will produce but some minor adjustments could be all it takes to get a trophy to commit.
Not all of us are so lucky to have a camp or cottage on this beautiful island and that is where our excellent resource of partners is awaiting your arrival. Two places that will put you right in the heart of the ice fishing action are:
- Wikwemikong Tourism - Insulated Ice Hut Rental
- Manitoulin Island Hotel & Conference Centre - Accommodations
We only have approximately six weeks of ice fishing left, and I highly suggest spending one of them on Manitoulin Island! Trophy-class fish are waiting to be targeted all while being surrounded by the islands endless beauty. Manitoulin is a destination I am very fond of, as I have many great memories directly associated with its fantastic fisheries. The diversity of both the species and waterbodies keeps one coming back for more to explore it all.
Get outside and continue to enjoy winter while you can, and remember to tag us in your BIG catches with #neontario.