My First Ice Fishing Experience for Lake Simcoe Perch

I am excited to have partnered with Ontario Parks for this fishing experience.

Aside from a quick outing for a few hours on the way to a trade show a few years back, I hadn’t had a true Lake Simcoe ice fishing experience. When Ontario Parks reached out to me about exploring Lake Simcoe at Sibbald Point Provincial Park this winter, I was thrilled and instantly on board! As one of the most popular ice fishing destinations in North America, Lake Simcoe is home to many sought-after species including: yellow perch, whitefish, lake trout, northern pike, burbot, and more. Anglers travel from near and far to explore these renown waters and there’s some true trophy fish found here!

I quickly got to work planning the trip and invited some company to join me for this adventure, including my partner, Eric, and our friends Pam and Adam. All from the Ottawa area, this would be a new experience for each of us. Good friend and local angler to Simcoe area, Dave Chong, caught wind of our outing and reached out to invite us to join him for a perch adventure. Dave’s friend, Lyle, would also be joining us later in the day for a few hours. I knew we were all in store for a fun time!

Sibbald Point Provincial Park

Our fishing adventure began at Sibbald Point Provincial Park, which is located on the southern shore of Lake Simcoe. The main road and parking lot are maintained by Park staff during the winter which provides great access for walking out onto the ice, or driving out for those with ATVs, snowmobiles or vehicles (when conditions are safe to do so). I used the new online booking system for daily vehicle permits which made it quick and easy to ensure parking at this popular access area.

To The Perch Grounds We Go!

We met up with Dave and followed his lead out to a 10-12 foot deep flat. We experienced a breath-taking sunrise on this very chilly -24°C morning. Thankfully the temperatures rose to -12°C in the afternoon.

The area we set up in included a mixture of rocky, sandy, and weedy bottom which is a great place to find roaming perch. All Garmin-users, we had our sonars and Livescopes fired up to see what was happening beneath the ice. It didn’t take long for our group to begin marking and catching perch! During the morning Dave was seeing a lot of schooling fish on the move, as were Pam and Adam. I, on the other hand, was marking the odd single or couple of fish moving through. Later in the day I started to see some schools showing up. Eric joined me in our hut for a bit but then went out exploring and hole-hopping.

Anglers: Pam Stewart (left) and Adam Meraw (right). Pam had luck with the 1/8oz Acme Google Eye Tungsten jig in Golden Nugget colour tipped with live wax worms.
On one rod I had a size 3 Rapala Ultra Light Rippin’ Rap in the colour Glow (shown on the left) tipped with Berkley Gulp Alive Waxies. On my other rod I had a 1/16oz VMC Tungsten Mongo Jig in chartreuse (on the right) tipped with 3 live wax worms.

I used a two-rod approach utilizing the Rippin’ Rap to call fish in, and then used my small jig as a more subtle offering. I had a few of fish show interest in the Rippin’ Rap but the jig was the bait of choice for the perch I landed although they took a bit of convincing. Eric was running the exact same Rippin’ Rap while hole-hopping and he got into some more aggressive fish that crushed it! He landed one of the bigger fish of the day at 12.25-inches. What a beauty!

Eric with his best fish of the day, a 12.25″ gorgeous perch!
Dave showed us all how it’s done catching a whole bunch of fish, keeping a few for the table.

After a great sample of the ice fishing opportunities at Lake Simcoe, I cannot wait to plan my next fishing trip here! Thank you to good friends for a great day out on the ice. And a huge thank you to Ontario Parks for the opportunity to partner on this adventure.

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4 Comments

  1. Hey Ashley, sorry to hear about the passing of your Grandmother. I sure you will cherish the fond memories of her and smile.

    Frank

  2. Hi Ashley, I fish the lake every winter never the same area. It is a beautiful lake next winter I will be going after lake trout out in the deep water, it will be my 1st time.

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