Ice fishing

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Ice fishing, also known as ice fishing, is an exciting winter activity typical of Quebec.

When the lakes and rivers are frozen, you can enjoy the great outdoors while fishing in comfort in one of the many heated cabins available.

Ice fishing is accessible to all, amateurs and experts alike.

All you have to do is drill a hole in the ice, set up your waddling line and wait for the fish to take the bait. During this adventure, you'll have the opportunity to discover the beauty of snow-covered Quebec while spending quality time with your loved ones.

Family ice fishing

In this article, we'll introduce you to the best places for ice fishing in Quebec, along with tips and tricks for a memorable experience on the icy expanses.

So pack your gear and set off on an adventure across Quebec's vast icy expanses.

Understanding ice fishing

Visit ice fishingalso known as ice fishingis a sporting activity that can be practised winter on the icy surface of a body of water.

To practice it, you need to drill a hole in the ice to access the water below, so you can fish beneath the icy surface.

Ice fishing is a popular tradition in Canada, particularly in Quebec, where it has been handed down from generation to generation.

Among the activities related to ice fishing, you can find :

  • Building shelters to protect you from the elements
  • Choosing and using the right equipment, such as rods and reels
  • Identify the best fishing spots according to weather conditions and the type of fish you want to catch

It is important to master a proper technique to maximize your chances of catching fish when ice fishing.

Visit safety is a crucial aspect of ice fishing. Before going out, find out about the thickness and quality of the ice. Equip yourself with crampons, ropes and personal flotation devices to avoid accidents.

Finally, remember to respect the environment and local regulations when ice fishing.

Responsible fishing contributes to the preservation of natural resources and the sustainability of this traditional activity.

Equipment required

Brimbals and Baits

The right equipment is essential for a successful ice fishing session. In this section, we'll look at the essentials when it comes to brimbals and bait.

The brimbales are one of the most important tools in ice fishing. They help you detect catches by keeping the fishing line taut and indicating fish movements.

It's a good idea to have several brimbals at your disposal to maximize your chances of success. Don't forget to check the local fishing regulations on ice to find out the maximum number of brimbals allowed.

As far as baits are concerned, the use of dead baits is generally preferred for ice fishing. (The use of live bait has been banned in Quebec since 2017). Fish are less active in winter, and dead bait is more likely to attract their attention.

Worms and tiny freshwater fish (such as minnows) are commonly used as bait.

There are also artificial lures specially designed for ice fishing that imitate the movements and colors of live bait. They can be a good alternative or complement to dead bait.

In short, the right equipment is essential for an optimal ice-fishing experience.

Don't hesitate to invest in good brimbals and choose the baits best suited to your needs.

Bear in mind that ice fishing also requires other specific tools, such as an ice auger to drill through the ice and warm clothing to keep you safe and dry.

Ice fishing locations in Quebec

Lakes, rivers, parks and wildlife reserves offer a wide range of numerous locations to practice this activity.

In this section, we'll explore two popular ice-fishing spots in Quebec.

Hole in the ice to install a brimbal.

Montréal

Montreal's Old Port is a surprisingly good place for ice fishing.

Although not a typical natural fishing spot, the Old Port offers a unique experience for ice fishing enthusiasts.

You can enjoy this activity right in the heart of the city, while admiring the magnificent view of the skyscrapers and structure of the historic district. The atmosphere is always festive and welcoming, with families and friends gathering to enjoy a good time together.

If you are interested in ice fishing in Montreal and would like to find out more about the best techniques, fish species available and other recommended local spots, please feel free to consult our complete guide to ice fishing in Montreal.

Saguenay Fjord

The Saguenay Fjord is another must-see ice-fishing destination in Quebec. In every municipality on the Saguenay, ice fishing takes place in the fjord's hollows.

Baie des Ha! Ha! is particularly popular, with its 1,500 colorful cabins forming a veritable village on the ice.

Ice fishing in the Saguenay

Here, you can catch some 60 species of fish, including smelt, cod and redfish. Our guide to ice fishing in the Saguenay region will help you plan your next fishing trip.

The Laurentians

Each region has its own charms and specificities when it comes to ice fishing, but Quebec's Laurentians hold a special aura.

With its picturesque winter landscapes and sparkling frozen lakes, this region is a haven for ice fishing enthusiasts. The Laurentians welcome you with a promise of adventure and discovery.

We invite you to explore this authentic winter experience in more detail in our detailed article on ice fishing in the Laurentianswhere we reveal the best spots, practical tips and hidden gems of this Quebec winter tradition.

Ice fishing in Venise-en-Québec

Located on the tranquil waters of Lake Champlain, Venise-en-Québec offers a picturesque setting where the frozen surface of the lake is transformed into a majestic canvas.

From January to March, the calm waters transform into an icy expanse, offering anglers the opportunity to catch a variety of fish species, including walleye and yellow perch.

But ice fishing is only part of the adventure.

Chez Bob outfitter in Venise-en-Québec.

At Venise-en-Québec, you can also enjoy a variety of winter activities, including snowmobiling, quad biking, outdoor skating and friendly barbecues.

The region's famous outfitters, such as Chez Bob and Courchesne, await you with cozy cabins to complete your fishing experience.

Find out more in our article dedicated to ice fishing in Venise-en-Québec.

Lac St-Pierre

Lac Saint-Pierre is a true paradise for ice fishing enthusiasts. Located downstream from the St. Lawrence River, this vast body of water offers a multitude of fish species, including walleye, yellow perch and pike, to name but a few.

Anglers can sit on the ice, in the comfort of their cabin, and enjoy the tranquility of the snow-covered lake while waiting for the fish to bite.

The winter landscape of Lac Saint-Pierre, with its endless stretches of ice and snow, is simply breathtaking.

To find out more about the fish species available and other useful tips, see our complete guide to ice fishing on Lac Saint-Pierre.

Les Petits Poissons des Chenaux

Fishing for small channel fish is a Quebec winter tradition on the Sainte-Anne River at Sainte-Anne-de-la-Pérade, in the Mauricie region.

From December to February, families and friends gather in heated cabins on the ice to catch these fish. This convivial activity, which dates back to Iroquois times, is a great way to enjoy nature in winter.

Lots of fish in the small channel fish fishery

Several local outfitters offer cabin and equipment rentals, making the experience accessible to novices and experienced anglers alike.

The river's picturesque setting and the festivities that surround it make channel fishing an unforgettable adventure. To find out more, visit our article dedicated to fishing for small channel fish.

Ice Fishing Huts

For your ice fishing outings, opt for a cabin or a cabin can make your experience more pleasant and comfortable.

These spaces offer shelter from the elements while allowing you to enjoy this exciting winter activity.

Outfitters such as White fishing at Isle-Verte and ice-fishing centers listed on Bonjour Québec offer heated cabins to make your ice-fishing sessions even more interesting.

These cabins are usually equipped with a wood-burning stove or space heater to keep you warm.

Some fishing huts can accommodate up to six people, allowing you and your friends to share the space comfortably.

In addition to traditional cabins, you can also explore options such as tents and ice fishing shelters offered by companies like Canadian Tire and Eskimo Canada. These temporary solutions are ideal for those wishing to travel light or for occasional anglers.

Choosing an ice fishing shack or cabin is a great way to enhance your ice fishing experience.

Whether it's a permanent structure or a temporary shelter, these spaces let you enjoy this winter activity in comfort.

Associated activities

To complete your experience, there are several other activities to try during your stay.

Here are a few suggestions to make your winter getaway even more memorable.

In the family Ice fishing is an excellent family activity to enjoy together. You can also take the opportunity to introduce your children to other winter sports, such as skiing or snowshoeing. Many centers and parks offer lessons for beginners, as well as equipment rentals.

Ski Quebec is famous for its ski resorts, with slopes suitable for beginners and experts alike. You can combine your day of ice fishing with a session of downhill or cross-country skiing to take full advantage of winter's pleasures.

Racket Snowshoeing is an interesting option for those who prefer a more leisurely activity. It lets you explore Quebec's snow-covered landscapes while getting some exercise. After a morning of ice fishing, for example, don your snowshoes and head out to explore the surrounding trails.

Snowmobile For thrill-seekers, snowmobiling is a must. Rent a snowmobile and travel the vast white expanses of Quebec at top speed. This can be a great way to combine leisure and travel between different ice-fishing areas.

Ice Fishing Tournaments

For enthusiasts of this practice, there are tournaments are organized to bring enthusiasts together and offer friendly competition.

Here's some information on the events that punctuate the ice-fishing season.

Ice fishing tournaments offer a unique opportunity to measure yourself against other budding anglers and share convivial moments with friends and family.

In Quebec, several such competitions are held each year, including the 7th edition of the family ice fishing tournament at Lac William to be held on February 11, 2023. This family tournament is designed to train budding young anglers, and is a great experience for participants of all ages.

In addition to Lake William, Quebec offers a host of other great ice-fishing spots, such as the St. Lawrence River and the Saguenay Fjord. These sites are ideal for catching different species of fish such as goldpike, yellow perch, basscod and halibut. By taking part in these competitions, you can diversify your experience and learn more about different ice fishing techniques.

Fisherman on the ice.

Ice fishing tournaments are not-to-be-missed events for fans of this winter activity. Whether you're a seasoned angler or a novice, these competitions offer the opportunity to share your passion with others and enjoy Quebec's magnificent winter panoramas.

Fish species to fish for

Le Doré

Walleye is a popular choice for ice fishing thanks to its tasty flesh. However, finding them in winter can be a challenge, especially if you're new to the activity.

Varying baits and techniques can help, but it's always a good idea to have a few extra tricks up your sleeve to increase your chances of success. We recommend that you consult our 7 tips for finding gold in winter.

These practical tips are designed to help you save time and improve your chances of catching walleye on the ice.

La Truite

For ice fishing, trout is a very popular species. Among the different trout species, the speckled trout is particularly prized for its delicate flesh and delicious taste. When fishing for trout, don't hesitate to vary baits and fishing techniques to maximize your chances of success.

The Pike

Pike is another popular fish for ice fishing. This carnivorous fish with an elongated body is known for its firm, white flesh, which many anglers appreciate. To catch a pikeIt's essential to know your fish's habits and choose baits suited to the species.

Smelt and Cod

Finally, smelt and cod are two other fish species commonly ice-fished in Quebec. Both are generally caught in the waters of the St. Lawrence River and the Saguenay Fjord. Smelt is renowned for its delicate flesh, while cod is a versatile fish that can be prepared in a variety of ways.

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