Whether you love fishing under a clear blue sky or in ice-cold water, fishing is a year-round season. While many love going on picnics and fishing in open-water, the rest cannot wait for winter to come around and hit the ice. Since you are here, I believe you’ve made up your mind (or even considering) to go ice fishing this winter.
Most Popular Places for Ice Fishing
But if you’re confused about where to go for your first or your next ice fishing trip, don’t worry. I’ve got your back! As an ice fishing enthusiast for over two decades now, I’ve traveled to multiple places to satisfy my zest for ice fishing. Trust me! Ice fishing is such a fun adventure!
Based on my experiences and, of course, an intense research period, I’ve come up with some of the best places in the world for ice fishing. In this article, I’ll take you through some of my favorite ice fishing spots. And also tell you what kind of fishes to expect while fishing in those places. Sounds fun? Without any further ado, let’s jump straight into the article.
Top 6 Ice Fishing Places
Antero Reservoir, Colorado
Antero Reservoir is about 100 miles away from Denver and operated by the Denver Water. The reservoir is home to a large popular of trouts, snake river cutthroat, cut bows, kokanee salmon, splake, and greenback cutthroat. Also, due to the abundant availability of shrimp, you can expect most of your catches to be large and trophy-sized.
However, if you’re looking for something quiet and peaceful, this may not be the place for you. The locals describe weekends in the Antero Reservoir as “truly a circus.”
Devil’s Lake, North Dakota
The Devil’s Lake is one of the most popular places among ice anglers. You can find different varieties of fishes in this region. Whether you want trophy-sized walleye, pike, and perch, Devil’s Lake is your go-to. The tourism board in North Dakota addresses it as “a fishing destination unlike anywhere else,” and also brags about the massive size of the lake.
It is indeed, true. The Devil’s Lake is supermassive, with over 180,000 acres. So, you don’t have to worry about your fishing lines tangling with other anglers. Also, at the site, there are several maps, bait shops, and guides available. Thus, exploring the huge Devil’s Lake wouldn’t be a problem.
Lake Simcoe, Ontario, Canada
Lake Simcoe is another popular ice fishing spot. It is most popularly known for holding some massive ice fishing tournaments annually. The ice fishing scene in Lake Simcoe truly gives out a festive vibe with hundreds of fishing huts, tents, shops, guides, etc.
Lake Simcoe is famous for the abundance of jumbo perch, pike, whitefish, and of course, its classic Lake Simcoe lake trout. Since the place is not far from Toronto, there are several visitors from the city as well.
Ice fishing in Lake Simcoe usually starts in the first week of January after New Year’s, and it goes on till March 15th.
If you’re ready for some real adventure, ice fishing in Ammassalik is the real deal. You can catch some unique species out here like the spotted wolffish, redfish, and halibut. Also, if you’re lucky enough, the famous Greenland shark can be your biggest catch while ice fishing in the Ammassalik.
Apart from ice fishing, the place is famous for its breathtaking beauty with glaciers, icebergs, mountains, and its famous fjords. What’s even more fun? You get to explore the region on dogsleds! The best thing about visiting the Ammassalik is that you always have something or the other to keep yourself entertained.
Fort Peck Lake, Montana
Fort Peck Lake is one of the most massive places for ice fishing. Due to its massive size, the lake is home to over fifty kinds of fishes. However, the only setback of this place is that it is quite far and isolated. The nearest town to the Fort Peck Lake is a small place called Jordan.
But most ice anglers love the Fort Peck Lake because of its remoteness. So, if you want a quiet getaway, you won’t regret visiting this place. Also, due to its remoteness, you can ice fish for the whole day and even use tip-ups. There are no such rules on the tip-up area, but only six tip-ups are allowed per angler (which is actually quite enough).
However, Fort Peck Lake tends to have pressure cracks, so I wouldn’t recommend this place for beginners. Using a depth sonar will prove beneficial while ice fishing in this region. If you are new to the area, you can also consult with the locals.
Birch Lake, Alaska
If you are new to the ice fishing world or a novice ice fisher, and still haven’t found your place in the list mentioned above, Birch Lake is the one for you. The Alaska Department of Natural Resources calls the Birch Lake as the “Big Three” lakes in the region.
You can find different varieties of fishes in this lake, including the arctic char, rainbow trout, Chinook salmon, arctic grayling, and coho salmon. Also, if you are someone who likes to bring the whole family for ice fishing, the Birch Lake is your spot.
Before you go
Now that you know where to go for your next ice fishing trip, here are my top three ice fishing safety gears to be safe on the ice. Before taking your next step, you might want to be careful of what lies ahead of you, especially on ice. So, a chisel or an ice spud is something you definitely need.
The next gear is ice picks. These are usually kept around the neck. Why you need ice picks? In case you happen to fall in, you can quickly grab the ice pick from your neck and use it to climb out of the waters. Here is a great ice pick recommendation for you, the Frabill Ice Safety Kit.
Another must-have safety gear is a life vest or a PFD (Personal Flotation Device). It is a small vest to be worn around the waist. And this can be your life save and keep you from sinking in case of any unfavorable situations. You can check out the Onyx Unisex Belt Pack Life Jacket.
If you are ready to leave your regular ice fishing spot this winter and try your ice fishing skills in a new environment, choosing one from the places mentioned above will not disappoint you.
Niels Thomas is a wildlife expert and fishing fanatic that works with major fishing brands like Deeper Sonar, Abu Garcia, Berkley, PENN, BassPro and Pure Fishing. Through sharing the best fishing tips, tricks, gear reviews, locations and much more he hopes to inspire fishing fanatics to start their own journey towards becoming the King of the Catch!