FOL Publications

Wil's publications for Fish Online Canada

Ice Fishing Articles

The future of ice fishing on Lake Simcoe

Are you ready? Another exciting winter of hardwater fishing is upon us. Lake Simcoe is often regarded as the ice fishing capital of North America and routinely has over 3,000 registered huts on it. Every day during the winter hundreds more fish from portable huts, on the open ice and from one of over a dozen ice hut operations around the lake. Lake Simcoe sees more anglers fishing it in January, February and March then it does for the rest of the nine months combined! It's the most intensively fished inland lake in the province - but only because of the winter fishery. Why is the lake so popular among the ice fishing community … and is all that about to change? Read on and we'll examine the future of ice fishing on Lake Simcoe…

The Exciting Adventures of a Remote Ice Fishing Trip

It's mid March 2010 and Gerry Heels and I just finished driving up to Sudbury, Ontario where we would stay overnight at his daughter's place before we left early the next morning for an ice fishing vacation neither of us will forget about anytime soon.

Mid Winter Lake Simcoe Ice Fishing Report

On February 2nd Wiarton Willie, Punxsutawney Phil and a host of other rodents poked their heads out of the frozen ground, were frightened by their own shadows and scurried back down their little biddy holes. Somehow these groundhogs communicated to the gullible human race that this odd ritual means there will be six more weeks of winter. Co-incidentally all around Lake Simcoe ice hut operators, resort owners, and a host of other local businesses smiled in unison as they heard the good news of another six more weeks of hard water action for their angling clients.

Family Ice Fishing - A Beginners Guide

Regardless of the realms of Global Warming winters in Canada are here to stay! And, despite a global economic downturn that has not eluded residents of our great country - people here still love to have fun - summer or winter! Families in particular are often seeking an activity they can all enjoy together that won’t cost them an arm and a leg. “Something that will get the kids outdoors and away from those darned computer games!” Well look no further moms and dads - brothers and sisters we have the answer to your dilemma - ICE FISHING!

Winter Lake Trout and Whitefish

Two-Hole Approach
Up until a few years ago, I used to do a lot of winter camping. We enjoyed snowshoeing in to some secluded frozen lake, finding and then setting up a perfect base camp and then getting ready for a few days of great ice fishing action.

A Lake Trout On Lake Simcoe

Man it was cold! That morning in mid January 2009 we heard it was -35 with the wind chill in Toronto, and we were up along the north shores of Lake Simcoe so it was that much colder. "Perhaps the other guys who decided not to come at the last minute were smarter than we think," my son Izaak said as we headed out into the bitter wind onto the frozen lake. Still, the sunrise was gorgeous … and our hopes were high for yet, another terrific day on the ice.

Lake Simcoe Lake Trout

So far, the winter of 2006 has been a fairly dismal one for ice hut operators who rely on the main lake freezing solid enough so that they can get their huts way out there over deep water for lake trout and whitefish. Sure perch anglers have been at it since well before Christmas but it is only now that we are beginning to hear that some of the lake trout grounds are slowly becoming accessible … even if it is only for those willing to walk out or possibly take an ATV.

Ice Fishing Lake Simcoe

Lake Simcoe has been known for decades as the "Ice Fishing Capital of North America"and it's no wonder, considering that more people fish this inland lake during the winter than any other body of water in the province. Despite its fame among the ice angling crowd however, Lake Simcoe is still one of the most productive hard water fisheries anywhere on the continent. Visiting anglers flock to the lake from all over south central Ontario and the northern US states. Furthermore, it is not surprising that Fish On Line Canada patrons in particular enjoy fishing Lake Simcoe, as Kris has mentioned that the first contribution that I ever made to this site (Oct. 2005) entitled Fishing Lake Simcoe, has become the most read article ever posted on this site.

Ice Fishing Season on Lake Simcoe

A New Year is upon us and so too is another ice fishing season. My first trip of the season was in late December on the hard waters of Cooks Bay where yellow perch would be the target species. As I arrived shortly after sunup I was surprised to see hundreds of anxious ice anglers already there before me. Most were within a kilometer from shore and huddled over their holes carefully watching their rods, set in holders, for any sign of a strike.

Lake Of The Woods

Ice Fishing Dream Trip
During the two hour flight to Winnipeg from Toronto I must have had a constant silly little grin on my face because all I could think about was ice fishing for the next week in north western Ontario and Minnesota. Along with Bob and Wayne Izumi and the head of their TV productions - Tammy Love we landed at 10am March 19th/07 and met up with our sponsors from High Tech Tackle - Tom Grunewald and Eric Poster who drove there from their home state of Wisconsin. "Big Jim" McLaughlin, flying on a separate plane (no, not because he's that big!) from Ottawa had also just touched down.

First Half of Winter of 2007

"I haven't ice fished as little as I have so far this year … since I took up this crazy winter sport when I was still in high school". Knowing my love and addiction to walking on hard water and searching for those finned critters, people are always calling or emailing me and asking how my season is going, what I'm catching, what's working and so on.

Veterans Win Super Trap Attack

Sutton ON: Teaming up to fish their first tournament together, Greg Klatt of Fenelon Falls and Wil Wegman, of Bradford ON managed to figure out where the bigger perch were on Lake Simcoe - and even more importantly, how to catch them. They had 9.60 pounds for their heaviest 15 perch by the end of the day and won the first ever Trap Attack Tournament hosted outside of the United States.

When Perch Break the Rules

First ice perch fishing … there is nothing quite like it! And, so far the winter of 2006 has been just spectacular on Lake Simcoe - especially for numbers of perch. Despite the warm weather that began just before Christmas and is still with us today, we were very fortunate to have some unseasonably cold conditions throughout early December. Those couple of weeks of sub-zero temps; particularly at night when there was little or no wind, were just what we needed in order to still be able to walk on water now.

First Time Out

Well it sure took me long enough this year to make time to do a little ice fishing. Usually, I pride myself as being one of the first guys out there, but I am either slacking off, getting old or just wasn't prepared for such an early start to the ice fishing season on Lake Simcoe this winter.

Bass Fishing

Fishing In New Hampshire

Having just returned from New Hampshire and my third experience as a member of Team Ontario, I can only wish I could report that I had placed higher and would be moving on to the Nationals… but alas that is not the case, ending up in 4th place on the team. Mike Desforges of Burlington ON deservedly was first on Team Ontario with a five fish limit each day and an overall weight of 32.09 pounds.

The 2008 Hank Gibson Provincial Qualifier

During the week of August 18-22nd, I was busy preparing for the 2008 annual Hank Gibson Ontario BASS Federation Nation (OBFN) Provincial Qualifier that would be held in Orillia August 23rd and 24th. The last time the Qualifier was there, was five years ago - just after the infamous power blackout that left much of Ontario and the Northeast without power.

Bass Tournament Season To Date

For me more than any other sport, tournament bass fishing has always been a continual series of highs and lows. My first tournaments date back to 1986 when I got my first small aluminum bass boat. Being humbled early on was par for the course but a couple of high finishes the following year kept me playing the game.

2008 Bassmasters Classic

In 1990 Canada's Hank Gibson of Keswick Ontario made history. He became not only the first Canadian but the first non American to ever qualify for and fish the Bassmasters Classic - the Stanley Cup of professional bass fishing. After the Classic, Wil Wegman interviewed Hank and wrote an article about his great achievement for Angler and Hunter Magazine.

2007 Bass Fishing Season On Lake Couchiching

Has Lake Couchiching's bass fishing bounced back from a few years of lacklustre performance? Did tournament results from the 2007 bass season prove to competitive anglers from across Southern and Central Ontario that once again Orillia's gem still has what it takes to keep them coming back yearning for more?

2007 Bass Season is here!

What an incredible start to the 2007 Bass season on Lake Simcoe and across southern Ontario. From most reports bass continue to cooperate across our region for Fish On Line Canada readers. Tournaments weights on opening weekend were impressive from the Bay of Quinte to Lake Erie but none came close to the weights of the annual Casey Cup (formerly Phenix Open) on Lake Simcoe.

Toyota Texas Bass Classic - Final

Well the big Toyota Texas Bass Classic is over and I didn't think it could happen but it did. A 15 pound lead in a bass tournament on day two going into day three is usually something that will almost guarantee you a tournament win if you are 'on fish' - but the Toyota Texas Bass Classic was no normal tournament.

Toyota Texas Bass Classic

Jon Bondy of Windsor Ontario is a rare breed here in Canada. He is a full time fisherman, who at 34 years of age has never had a full time job other than fishing. He has competed in tournaments since he was 16 years of age and has guided full time for 13 years. Jon is recognized as one of the premier full time multi-species fishing guides in the Windsor-Detroit area and is fully licensed to fish both U.S. and Canadian waters.

2007 Bassmasters Elite Series

Jon Bondy of Windsor Ontario is a rare breed here in Canada. He is a full time fisherman, who at 34 years of age has never had a job other than fishing. He has competed in tournaments since he was 16 years of age and has guided full time for 13 years.

New Canadian Record Again

Lake Simcoe Ontario Canada, Sunday November 5, 2006... In what can only be described as one of the most impressive sights in the history of Canadian Competitive Bass Fishing, monster smallmouth after monster smallmouth was brought in to the weigh scales at the 6th Annual Crackle Cup Bass Tournament at Monto Reno Marina in Lefroy Ontario.

Summer Bass Tourney Updates

Well, it has been a few weeks since we last filed a fishing article, so before I leave for a few days of pre fishing up to Petawawa and the Ottawa River, I thought I would fill you in on all the great fishing that has been going on.

Bass Fisheries Workshop

The Ontario BASS Federation is pleased to announce an exciting bass fisheries workshop that will be held on the beautiful shores of Lake Simcoe in Sutton Ontario on Saturday April 1st 2,006. The attached flyer highlights all the great speakers who have graciously offered to present their latest bass fisheries research work. The workshop will be open to both bass anglers who have a passion for their great sport and keen fisheries staff from various government and non government agencies.

Lake Simcoe

Lake Simcoe Whitefish Action – May 2010

Every year, the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) stocks 140,000 whitefish into Lake Simcoe. Recently anglers have also been catching 'wild' whitefish - that reproduce naturally and are not stocked from the hatchery.

Lake Simcoe. A Trophy Pike Lake?

Monster Pike topping the 30 pound mark are few and far between in most water bodies regardless of where these toothy critters roam. We know some systems routinely produce big pike while others have high populations of hammer handle sized ones.

Guide to Fishing Lake Simcoe

A first time visitors guide to fishing the lake during the three open water seasons

Welcome to the most intensively fished inland lake in Ontario!Now if you expect lots of company while you're on our gin-clear waters, think again because you may not see too many other anglers out there with you.

Fishing Lake Simcoe

Lake Simcoe is located on the doorstep of Canada's largest urban area and offers thousands of anglers some of the finest and most diversified fishing opportunities in Canada.

Open Water Lake Trout & Whitefish Tactics

The second Saturday in May in southern Ontario means one thing and one thing only for thousands of avid anglers… Walleye Opener! For those who focus on Lake Simcoe however, it means so much more than that. Not only do walleye open, but so too does northern pike, whitefish and lake trout season. So many great species to fish for, so little time, ah the dilemma of the Lake Simcoe angler.

Don't Put Rods Away

There are still plenty of fish to be caught for Fish On Line Anglers this fall and more and more anglers right across the GTA are realizing that the month of November can offer them some of the best fishing opportunities of the entire year. And with global warming providing us with more tolerable, even warm weather later in the season than ever before, there really is't a good excuse anymore to give up on the open water fishing season just yet.

Another Day on the Water

Fish On Line correspondent Wil Wegman wrote this piece back in November 2003 just for fun. We thought you might enjoy reading it, so we convinced Wil to share it with our Fish On Line readers. The chilly -9C early this November morning along with the first major snowfall of the season ought to have been reason enough to stay in my warm comfy bed.

Other Topics

LRB Fishery Research Trip

Earlier this spring I was fortunate enough to have made my first trip up to Quebec's world famous fishing resort - la Reserve Beauchene (LRB). As some Fish On Line Canada readers may recall from the article that I wrote for this site shortly after the trip, the excursion was part fishing and part work. The fishing part was well - a lot of great fishing for lake trout, brook trout, some pike and walleye and plenty of hard fighting smallmouth bass.

Fishing Quebec's la Reserve Beauchene

Every once in awhile an opportunity comes along that is just too good to pass up. This happened to me not too long ago when I was asked to take some vacation days and help out with a fisheries project at a place that I thought I may never have the privilege of visiting. I was told that although there would be some very important fisheries work with brook trout, that there would also be plenty of time to fish. Would I be interested? Let's just say I didn't need to be asked twice.