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It's an Ice Fishing Paradise

• Credit: Lucas Schmiedendorf
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It's an Ice Fishing Paradise

Find out what's biting just mintues from the city.

It's 6:15 am as I stare anxiously at my watch. As per the status quo, I'm running 15 minutes late while still needing to pick up some "morning glory" at the coffee shop and fuel up my snowmobile. After picking up my annoyed fishing buddy we are headed north on Highway 17.


The Sault Ste. Marie area boasts exceptional ice fishing for a variety of target species from cold-water trout and whitefish to toothy northern pike and tasty walleye. Our destination for this day would be some stocked trout lakes about 15 minutes from town.

Lower Island Lake - Heyden Ontario (Just 15 minutes North of SSM)

The all too familiar smell of 2-stroke exhaust wafts through the air as the snowmobiles rumble to life. After packing our gear we hit the trail for a short snowmobile ride to access the cluster of lakes north of town. With the sun still behind the hills I drill my first hole on the frozen surface of the lake. I attach my line to a birch gad, equip it with a bell, and retire to the cedar-lined shore to wait. I wipe the snow off some fallen timber and take a seat to think about how fortunate I am to live in a place where I have such phenomenal access to nature's splendour.

Paul and Megan Oak Ice Fishing SSM
In the Sault Ste. Marie district alone, the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources (OMNR) stocks up to 120,000 fish annually, with some of these locations within kilometres of the city limits. Brook trout and lake trout account for much of the stocking but splake (a brook and lake trout hybrid), rainbow trout, and brown trout are also planted locally. Stocking lists can be obtained for the area from the OMNR detailing the lake names, locations, species and years stocked. This information can be utilized to determine the size and numbers of fish you can expect in any given lake. These stocked fisheries provide easy access to quality "put and take" angling while ensuring that our natural populations are sustainable.

Trout Lake (Just 15 minutes North of SSM)

Trout Lake
The sound of an agitated bell startles me as my daydreaming dissolves into a moment of sheer exhilaration. FISH ON! I dash across the snowy landscape and lunge for the twig just as it is about to be pulled into the hole. A moments struggle and some tenuous moments near the bottom of the hole and finally the beast succumbs to the struggle. It's a beautiful 18-inch brook trout! As the day proceeds our group catches several quality brook trout and a dozen lake trout. All the while, we do not see another soul all day other than some chickadees and whiskey jacks.

Waiting For The Catch Of The Day
Access to these phenomenal fishing opportunities vary to suit the desired experience with some having year round road access, while others will require the angler to use a snowmobile, snowshoes, or cross country skis. It is important when planning an adventure that you consult the Ministry of Natural Resources Fishing Regulations Summary to determine appropriate seasons, possession limits, and bait restrictions.

Pine Island
Pine Island (Just a 40 minute drive East of SSM)

Not many words are spoken when we get back to the car. It is starting to get dark, cold, and we're getting hungry. Even fewer words are spoken on the drive home as the comfort of the seat coupled with the gentle heat blowing from the dash lulls into silence. Our families are in for a fish dinner, and the two of us are in for a long nights sleep.

 MG 1631

Additional Ice Fishing Resources

Great Lakes Outfitters for all your fishing gear needs and attire!


More Ice Fishing in Ontario

Ontario Ice Fishing Report algoma-cluster sunset-cluster
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