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Ice fishing this winter in Ontario

Natalie Thomas, reporter
January 27, 2012 — Ontarians can look forward to a license-free ice fishing event over Family Day Weekend in February.

Four inches of good, clear ice is needed for safety reasons
Four inches of good, clear ice is needed for safety reasons

To legally fish in Ontario, you need to have an outdoors card and a fishing license – unless it’s during one of the Ontario Family Fishing events.

“The Ontario Family Fishing events provides the opportunities for people to go out fishing in Ontario waters if they’re a Canadian resident and fish license free,” says Alesha Caldwell, Conservation Outreach Programs Coordinator. “It’s a great opportunity, there’s a three day weekend in February which is the family day weekend.”

Caldwell gave us some tips for what to do out on the ice.

“You actually want to make sure you know the ice conditions are safe. Safety is always your number one concern and the rule of thumb that we go by is at least four inches of good clear ice, for walking out in different areas. It’s a very simple sport because it’s quite literally dropping a line in a hole.”

Caldwell demonstrated how to ice fish for us, as well.

“So when I feel it hit the bottom, then you’re going to reel it up just a little bit, then you’re just going to jig a little bit. The activity of it jigging, which is the bouncing of your bait, it actually creates vibrations and the fish will pick that up and be drawn to your bait. That’s my best tip!”

Family Fishing Weekend begins Feb 18
Family Fishing Weekend begins Feb 18

We found some other ice fisherman to get some tips from as well.

“Just throw a jig and a minnow on there, and you’re good to go,” one said.

“I always recommend waterproof gloves, keep warm, layers. And go in groups of friends. And just have a good time,” said another.

“The more you get out the better,” said another ice fisher. “Don’t get discouraged by not catching anything.”

“Ahhhh patience,” an ice fisher agreed. “That’s about the only thing you’ve gotta have is patience.”

For more information on the upcoming Ontario Family Fishing event February 18th to the 20th, go to

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