Some of the more infamous and top ice fishing destinations are located in areas where the snow is on the ground for most, if not all of the year. From Alaska to the Northwest Territories, from northern Quebec to Labrador, and from northern Ontario to northern British Columbia and the American north, any area where lakes are frozen over for more than four months of the year is a great place for ice fishing.
Canada is notably the country that is the most often visited by tourists looking for a great ice fishing expedition, as it is home to more lakes and rivers full of sport fish than any other two or three countries combined. From corner stores to major department stores, ice fishing bait and tackle hits the shelves around Christmas time in the south, and stay on the shelves in the far north all year long. Ice fishing is more of a national sport in Canada than baseball could ever be.
Canada offers a wide variety of lakes and rivers, from the Great Lakes, the Great Slave and Great Bear lakes, thousands of smaller lakes, and hundreds of thousands of rivers, streams and creeks that freeze over during the winter months. Ice fishing can even be accomplished on the frozen Arctic, Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, as well as James Bay and Hudson’s Bay, the Northumberland Straight and the Bay of Fundy offer great wintertime ice fishing fun at times. However, the ice fishing season on saltwater is a lot shorter than on freshwater locations.
For the fisherman who does not want to travel to the remote reaches of the far north, the Great Lakes offer great ice fishing during the winter months, but only near the shoreline, as the currents cause friction that disallows the water to freeze to a thickness that makes ice fishing safe for the fisherman (it is rarely safe for the fish) in the deeper waters of the Great Lakes.
In order to have a safe ice fishing expedition, the ice needs to be at least four to six inches deep, and not full of cracks and other faults. An ice borer, an ice fishing hut (there are countless designs for ice fishing huts, from portable to permanent and cheap to luxurious), warm and water-proofed clothing and boots, lots of fluids for drinking and some food to keep the bellies full are the basic requirements to ice fish while using an ice fishing hut. When not using an ice fishing hut, the fishermen will succumb to the elements a lot quicker than their temporarily housed brethren.
All throughout Canada, you will find that where there is a frozen lake or river, there will also be a few companies, or enterprising businessmen, who rent out ice fishing huts to anyone looking to try the sport out for the first time, or for people who just can not afford to buy all of the necessities required for a relatively comfortable ice fishing expedition. They will also carry all of the gear and bait that could be required for a successful ice fishing expedition.