Not a Winter Person? Take a chance on getting stoked with the trifecta of winter fun in Northeastern Ontario: Ice fishing, snowshoeing and winter camping

by | Jan 11, 2022 | Big Blog, Fishing and Hunting, Nature and Outdoors, Other

Oh Northeastern Ontario winters – you’re unforgiving, uncomfortable, and harsh. You make daily tasks a little tougher. You make the nights much longer. But you’re also full of magic and wonder.

If you’re a ‘winter person’ then you’ll need no convincing that winter can be a fun, exciting time to get outside. But if you’re like me – a little jollier when the sun shines and the air is warm – keep reading. I, too, needed convincing that winter is a season not only to enjoy, but to look forward to. And after spending the last several years exploring Northeastern Ontario during the darkest, coldest time of the year, I can tell you right now I look forward to this season very much.

From ice fishing to snowshoeing to winter camping, there’s no shortage of awesome outdoor activities to enjoy in Northeastern Ontario when winter arrives. One of my all-time favourites is ice fishing. When December rolls around I begin to organize my gear for ice fishing trips. There are countless lakes dotted throughout this region that provide excellent opportunities to chase walleye, pike, panfish, trout and more.

There are also many outfitters that can help get you into these lakes. One outfitter I’ve spent years adventuring with is Temagami Outfitting Co. in Temagami, Ontario. In the summer months, they’re your go-to source for all things paddling and camping. In the winter, they offer exceptional back-country winter camping trips in hot tents with wood stoves.

 

On these trips, we ice fish, snowshoe, cook delicious food, and hang out. Our ice fishing setups include insulated tents with propane heaters to stay warm all day out on the ice. We drill holes, kick back, play some tunes, and catch fish. We break occasionally to cook up a hotdog or run around on the ice outside. How fun is that?

 

The evenings we post up in the long pioneer-style canvas dining tent. We gather around the harvest table, right there in the tent in the middle of nowhere. We eat, chat, laugh and have a blast, all under a blanket of stars in the backcountry. Last year we enjoyed lamb skewers cooked on an open fire right out on the ice – you try to tell me that isn’t an incredible experience.

Apart from the fishing, camping, and eating delicious food in the woods, snowshoeing is also an amazing activity. The woods are such a calm, peaceful place in the dead of winter. Find a trail, strap on some shoes, and just go. The more you walk, the more you discover. Though winter is a sleepy, calm time, the wildlife does begin to reveal itself the more you look. Rabbits, deer, squirrels, otters, birds – all animals that stand out amongst the winter landscape. With fewer leaves and greenery in the way to block your view, it’s an exceptional time to get out and try to spot wildlife. I am down to try cross-country skiing next.

Even after explaining as best I can the countless winter activities you can enjoy in Northeastern Ontario, the most convincing reason to get outside during the cold months cannot be expressed with words. No. It is simply something that must be experienced. I’m not a good enough a writer to transport you into such a moment. A moment like standing on a barren, backcountry lake, alone, at night – nothing but you, countless Ontario stars, a stark winter wind, and a feeling of eerie, mysterious ruggedness that just doesn’t come about in the summer months. Or a moment like snowshoeing down a deep wilderness trail amidst old growth pine trees that creak as you pass, fluffy flakes of snow gently landing on the forest floor.

 

 

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There’s just simply something moving about being in a Northeastern Ontario winter landscape. It’s something you must try if you’re looking for an experience unlike any other. I hope I was able to stoke the flame of winter fun in you, especially if you’re not inclined to get out in the winter. This year, give it a try. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the incredible opportunities Northeastern Ontario has to offer.

About Mitch Duesling

Mitch Duesling is a writer, creator and Associate Creative Director at The Hive. He's also part of the So Fly Crew, a Canadian fly fishing podcast helping lodges, guides, outfitters, authors and anglers connect with a broad fly fishing audience. He travels - and fishes - around the world capturing content for fly fishing and outdoor businesses. Learn more at www.sofly.ca.

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