Lake Simcoe Ice Fishing
Lake Simcoe ice fishing is considered to be some of the finest ice fishing in the area, with opportunities for anglers of every level of experience and age. Lake Simcoe is located in the southern part of the Canadian province of Ontario. Lake Simcoe is the fourth largest lake in the province with a total water area of 725 square kilometers.
Lake Simcoe is an easy 90 mile drive from Toronto, and there are numerous winter lodges, hotels and accommodations around the lake itself. Since Lake Simcoe ice fishing is a popular winter pastime. Lake Simcoe is home to many other winter sports such as snow shoeing, snowmobile racing and riding, cross country skiing and winter hiking and camping.
Lake Simcoe ice fishing has many different ice fishing bait shops, house rentals and Lake Simcoe ice fishing tournaments to provide everything that an angler needs for a great Lake Simcoe ice fishing vacation.
Lake Simcoe ice fishing species include trout, pike, whitefish, ling and walleye. The various types of fish in Lake Simcoe are easily identified by their distinguishing features. To help those interested in Lake Simcoe ice fishing, the following tips and strategies will be of assistance:
Northern Pike are very aggressive fish. Northern Pike have a noticeably sharp shape to their head that makes them unmistakable. Northern Pike also have very sharp, pronounced teeth and are very aggressive both in taking the bait and when they are being landed. Northern Pike tend to be aggressive feeders year round, although they do nibble a little bit at bait in the winter months. Northern Pike follow smaller fish around the lake and are often found about 3 to 6 feet under the bottom of the ice surface. Lake Simcoe ice fishing for Northern Pike is ideal as these fish are very mobile and rather lone hunters, so the size of the lake makes it ideal for moving with the Northern Pike without disturbing other anglers. Pike in excess of 12-14 lbs are not uncommon in the lake. The pike’s main food forage is perch, and will inhabit the same areas where the perch are schooling. Pike are often caught while perch fishing, and can be a nice surprise. Ice fishing anglers targeting pike on Lake Simcoe, generally fish shallow under 10ft, and use large shinners, chubs or sucker minnows under a tip-up. Large dead baits such as smelt hooked on a deadstrike rig can also be deadly, especially during early ice.
Lake Simcoe ice fishing strategies for walleye include jigging areas just beyond weeds and ridges of vegetation. Walleye are typically found feeding at times just before dark and just after dawn in the periods of dusk. Walleye will typically bite most actively at minnows and plastic worms with lots of action.
Lake Trout – Ice Fishing Lake Simcoe
Lake trout tend to move throughout the lake quite a bit over the season. In the first part of the winter months the lake trout tend to feed at about 50-90 foot depths. The lake trout move deeper further into the year and then into more shallow water closer to the spring thaw. Deeper water lake trout feed during the brightest parts of the day, and the lake trout in more shallow areas of the lake will feed during the hours right after dawn and just before dusk.
Whitefish – Ice Fishing Lake Simcoe
Many people use chumming as a method of keeping whitefish located in one area of Lake Simcoe. Chumming includes dropping minnows, chopped meat or rice into the water to keep fish in one area a couple of days before deciding to fish the area. Whitefish stay in schools, so one hit typically means that there are many fish in the area. Once whitefish know that bait is heading down to the deep water, more aggressive and larger whitefish will actually swim up closer to the surface if they are actively feeding. Chopped salted minnows or scented plastics make excellent lures in a feeding school of whitefish. One
of the most sought after fish in Lake Simcoe during the ice fishing season is the whitefish. The Lake Simcoe whitefish is genetically unique in Ontario and grows larger than the whitefish commonly found in many northern shield lakes. Lake Simcoe whitefish are commonly between 3 – 5 lbs, although larger fish over 7 lbs are caught annually.
Whitefish generally feed on small crustaceans, snails, insect larvae and small minnows. Although larger specimens, will feed on larger forage, such as smelt and young cisco. Anglers generally target whitefish in depths, in excess of 60 ft, fishing the bottom, with spreaders tipped with minnows. Perch or Pickerel rigs with small hooks, baited with lively pinhead minnows are also very effective, especially later in the season. Whitefish can be very aggressive, especially in the morning, and jigging spoons, such as the williams whitefish half-in-half or blue fox pixie can be productive. Meegs or Badd Boyz jigs, tipped with a minnow tail or small tube jig fished right on bottom is also a popular technique.
Cisco and Whitefish generally inhabit the same areas in Lake Simcoe, and many Cisco are caught incidently, please release all Cisco if the Cisco season is closed.
The Lake Simcoe perch travel in schools, and many times when you catch one good sized perch, more won’t be too far away. The key to a successful outing is mobility, fish an area for 15-20 minutes, if nothing bites, move. Perch bite readily and generally if you aren’t getting any fish within 30 minutes, it’s time to move. Lake Simcoe ice fishing perch seem to be everywhere on the lake, although the most heavily targeted ice fishing areas are Gilford, Keswick and
Virginia Beach. Most successful depths range from 9 feet to 35 ft. Many anglers use live minnows, either on perch rigs and panfish spreaders or just tipped on a small pixie spoon or jig head. Waxworms and mealworms can also be deadly, especially when fished near the bottom. In early March, the jumbo perch will move shallow in preparation of the spring spawn, this is the time of year ice fishing for jumbo perch is at it’s best. The jumbo perch will begin to school on shallow weed beds under the ice (generally in 8-10 ft).
The Ultimate Guide to Ice Fishing Lake Simcoe is a book that is now out of print “Hook, Line & Sinker – The Ice Fishing History of Lake Simcoe (Paperback)” but a few used copies can be had by clicking HERE!