Ontario Ice Fishing Techniques

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Ontario Ice Fishing Techniques

Before one ventures into ice-fishing, he or she must take care of the basics such as clothing. Staying warm is of paramount importance in ice-fishing, specifically, one’s feet. If one’s feet get cold, the rest of the body gets cold. A pair of winter boots that come all the way up to the calf are indispensable the same goes for toe warmers, which are heating packets placed inside the boots at the sole of the feet. Good socks also increase the warmth and should not be neglected. Hands also need to be kept warm for tasks like changing hooks and removing fish from the line and this can easily by achieved by wearing a heavy pair of water-proof mitt gloves.

Ice Fishing Rods

Ice rods average one-half to one-third shorter than Open-water ice-rods models are about half as short as the rods used ice-fishing. Most anglers prefer shorter rods to allow for closer proximity to the holes and also ease of storage.

Water Depth

In order to succeed in ice fishing, one has to navigate to the section of the water with the right depth. This is where the fish are and where the bait is best set. Using a depth finder can eliminate guesswork and ensure that one can determine exactly where in the depths the fish are located. It is interesting to note the number of ice fishermen that are still not using a depth finder. Many depth finders now use sonar to detect depth and with it one can actually track the fish as they swim towards the bait.

Drilling holes

When ice fishing, one must realize that fish concentrate where there are holes and this is because that is where the weeds are. One has to drill lots of holes to be successful in ice fishing because this increases the chances of finding fish. 10 to 30 holes of different depths are not unusual.

Best Conditions For Ice Fishing

Most ice fishing experts recommend fishing either early in the morning or late in the evening. Walleye pursuers prefer early mornings but a new school of thought is emerging that is leaning more toward midday fishing. One such expert, David Gertz, recommends upgrading your equipment if you are to succeed in midday ice fishing.  Ice fish, especially the Walleye, have been known to congregate up to 20 feet underwater by reefs in lakes and some in depths of up to 14 meters so equipment like sonar fish finders are necessary.


Using the weather as your guide can prove to be your greatest asset and can put you in a positive catch situation. Be prepared with your local weather forecast. Pick your days carefully for the species of fish you are after. Know the lake you are ice fishing and learn about the depths and characteristics. Try different locations using either a GPS or structural map of the lake and keep logs of when are where you caught fish. This winter use the knowledge you can gain from a variety of sources to increase your ice fishing success in the province of Ontario.

This article was written by the
contributing staff of OFT and its
group of amateur and pro Ontario anglers.

Copyright 2007. Ontario Fish Trips.
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