We lean into the powerful wind that buffets my wife and me as we trudge across the open lake, trying to protect ourselves from the windblown snow and ice crystals that obscure the path ahead. Just as our exposed skin begins to tingle from the bitter -30°C wind-chill, an oasis appears before me – I fumble with the latch and open the door of an ice fishing hut and we stumble inside, the intense heat from the wood stove washing over us as she closes the door behind her.
I am here with my wife, Dervla, and thankfully we are staying at Big Moose Camp in Corbeil, Ontario, where we are fishing on Lake Nosbonsing just 100 metres from our cozy two-bedroom cabin. What could have been an uncomfortable situation at another time and place, here and now is simply… fun!
The owners of the camp, Ray and Shelley, are very friendly and helpful—exactly what you would expect from Canadian wilderness resort owners. With their customers in mind, they have created a winter recreation experience that is suitable for enthusiasts of all ages and experience.
While ice-fishing often involves lengthy hikes or rides on snow machines out to the fishing grounds, the ice-huts at Big Moose Camp are all located within an easy 5-minute walk from each of the cabins, a real bonus for less adventurous fishermen.
Ray and Shelley bought the camp in 2010 after watching it deteriorate in the hands of an elderly owner who could no longer maintain the 14 cabins and 40 acres. They poured their heart and soul into restoring the property in an effort to transform the rustic fishing and hunting camp into a family-friendly getaway. Just over six years later, the results are impressive.
Our waterfront cabin is located just above the beach and includes a big wooden deck, which provides an ideal spot to sit with a morning coffee while watching the sunrise over the lake. Today, we watch from the deck as Ray augurs several fishing holes outside the hut for us. Inside, he stacks firewood to fuel the wood stove, and provides us with a full bucket of small minnows that we will be using to target the plentiful small perch, walleye, and occasional pike.
Fishing on Nosbonsing Lake is good—the Ministry of Natural Resources & Forestry claims that the walleye population is very healthy, and that there is an abundance of small walleye in the 6” to 9” class this year. This should translate into great fishing in the next few years as these fish mature.
During our stay we are fortunate enough to catch a walleye that we live release and a few perch that we fry for dinner—a significant benefit to staying in a fully equipped cottage. For the budget conscious, you can prepare all of your own meals in the spacious kitchen, which includes a full size fridge and range, a microwave oven, toaster and a coffee maker.
You can pick up groceries at the Freshmart in nearby Astorville. The cabins are full most winter weekends, with 50 or more eager fishermen in camp. It is a fun time, but if you prefer more privacy and silence as we do, we recommend visiting from Monday to Thursday when you are likely to be one of the only guests in camp. If you don’t feel like cooking and cleaning, there are plenty of food establishments a short drive away. For dinner especially, check out Tiny Italy 15 minutes away in Callandar on the shores of Lake Nipissing.
For people interested in outdoor activities besides fishing, Big Moose Camp is a great jumping off point to explore the many things to do in the North Bay region. Snowshoeing is a fun way to explore the camp’s own 40 acres, and since pets are welcome, it’s a great place to walk your dog. Or, just cozy up with a loved one by the fire in your private ice hut, unwind, and start planning your next weekday getaway to Northeastern Ontario.
Big Moose Camp Ltd
581 Big Moose Rd,
Corbeil, ON P0H 1K0
Your Ice Fishing Package Includes:
- Lakefront Housekeeping Cottage with Satellite HD TV
- 8′ x 12′ Wood Heated Ice Fishing Hut
- Minnows (no limit)
- Propane Lantern in Hut (for fishing at night)
- Tip Ups and Holes Drilled
What to Bring:
- fishing license
- bath and dish towels
- toiletries, warm clothing
- waterproof boots
- camping chair (if fishing outside the hut)
What to Do:
- Skiing: Laurentian Ski Hill
- North Bay and Area attractions
- Find out more at Tourism North Bay
Where to Eat:
- In Callander: Tiny Italy
- In North Bay: multiple options