Winter Activities & Ice Fishing
For the avid fisherman winter doesn't mean you take the season off, it is just another opportunity to get out fishing!
Canyon Lake and other surrounding lakes generally freeze over between mid November to mid December. The ice is normally safe to go out on mid to late December. Of course the ice thickness varies in different spots depending on when that ice froze and if there is current under the ice. The ice will start at about 18" to 2' in January and by the end of season can be 3' thick. This is the time we need to put extensions on our ice augers!
Lake Trout season opens up January 1 every year and on that day you will find us out on some trout lake to celebrate New Years! Walleye, Northern Pike, Perch, Smallmouth Bass and Whitefish are already open at that time. Smallmouth Bass and Musky (which are closed) may hit your line in the winter but generally do not as they are much more lethargic in the winter. We count on being able to ice fish in January, February and March. Normally we can fish into early April (and some years the whole month of April) but not always guaranteed good ice. The average winter snowfall is 158cm or 62". Most of this will stay on the ground but some evaporates and it compacts and leaves about 2 1/2 ‘ of snow, perfect for snow machines!
An ice fishing shack or windbreak is normally a good thing to have. Proper planning of your fishing spot can also help tremendously on your comfort from the cold. There is a general misconception that it is just too cold up here but as long as you can stay out of the wind and you stay dry, you can have a pleasant fishing experience. You may have heard before that our cold is "a dry cold" and it is very true, it is not that damp cold that happens in southern areas.
January is more for the "hardy" fisherman. With average highs of -13 degrees celsius (9 f) and average lows of -22 celsius (-8 f) it is a little chilly. Most every January we also get some -40 days (the same in c or f, it's where they meet) but not too many. Our favourite fishing in January is definitely for Lake Trout but will go for walleye sometimes too. Lake Trout can be anywhere from 20-60' of water and not always on the bottom they can be suspended anywhere but if you don't have a depth finder to see where they are at, our magic number is that they are usually suspended around 30'. Lake Trout are so much fun at this time of year because you never know when or how they are going to hit. Unlike Walleye that tend to do better in the evenings, Lake Trout will hit any time of day. Early morning, mid day or afternoon, you always have to be ready for the bite! Some like to fish with spoons on a jigging rod, but our preferred method is with a tube jig and while the colour is always a guessing game, white and green/brown is a tackle box must. Each person is allowed 2 lines so we usually use an ice fishing rod for one and either a rattle reel or tip up on the other. Minnows are our live bait of choice and just hook them through the tail with the weight about 12" away from the hook for the set lines. The jigging rod is usually more productive because you can go up and down to different depths and attract the fish that may be suspended in other depths. Walleye at this time are best fished afternoon or evening but sometimes can bite during the day. We tend to try fishing for them between 15-25' using a jig and minnow. We will also use set lines for these with a little willow, rattle reel or tip up.
February fishing is much the same as January and can be just as chilly but the average temperatures are a bit higher at highs of -8 c (17 f) and average lows of -13 c (9 f). Vermilion Bay also holds it's annual winter carnival over the February long weekend where you can join in on the snow machine poker derby, watch the dog sled races, head out to the dance and more.
March is the most popular month for ice fishing this area. The weather is usually considerably better with the average high of -1 c (30 f) and average low of -11 c (12 f). This is the perfect time to fish for Lake Trout during the day and go for Walleye in the evening. There are also crappy lakes and northern pike lakes that can be travelled to for more fishing fun!
Fun non-fishing activities- dog sledding (by reservation), snowshoeing, snow machine trail riding, sliding, ice skating or try out curling at our local arena. Days are short and nights are long in the winter so you might even find time to go to the local pub to play some pool or shuffleboard.
Mid January has 8 hours and 39 minutes daylight, sunrise at 8:08 am and sunset at 4:47, Mid February has 10 hours of daylight sunrise at 7:30 and sunset at 5:34, Mid March has 12 hours 15 minutes of daylight, sunrise at 7:32 and sunset at 7:21
If interested in a winter package, please contact us and we can tailor something to fit what you want. You can rent the cabin and be on your own or you can book dog sledding and guiding for fishing everyday or anything in between, we will do what we can to accommodate your wants and needs.