With the change of seasons coming, many local anglers are gearing up to wrap up ice fishing all over Lake Simcoe.
Luke Ledlie operates Fish Simcoe Hardwater Outfitters in Innisfil, providing traditional wooden ice huts for those who venture out for the popular winter activity. He says this year’s season was one of the best in about a decade.
“It was those good cold nights in early January,” Ledlie says. “To lock down Lake Simcoe, it’s a big body of water, and what you need is three -20 at night with light winds. Once you have that, you’ll seal it.”
Ledlie says they operated for four winters last year, which he says has become typical in recent years. However, with the freezing conditions seen in 2022, this year’s season spanned eight weekends, starting in January.
“We had an exceptional winter. It was great,” says Ledlie. “We’re going to have great conditions to pull out all of our units, which is great. We’ve rented huts until the 15th. It was exceptional. It was a great winter, and we’re just hoping for another one exactly like that.”
According to government regulations, traditional ice shacks, like the 18 that Ledlie operates, must be removed by March 15 in the Lake Simcoe area. However, the season may be extended for those with a portable fabric or synthetic fabric fishhouse.
However, with the upcoming change of seasons, safety and caution should be kept in mind.
“There’s a reason we have to leave our huts on the 15th, and it’s because of the sun,” says Ledlie. “The sun is getting high enough in the sky to start penetrating the ice, and even if you have two feet of ice, which we almost have right now, it’s starting to affect it, and those sun rays are penetrating into this ice, and that’s why we have to go out on the 15th, the shores are starting to crumble.”