When November started cold and snowy, the betting was that winter was here to stay.
Then, somebody gave winter its walking papers.
For anglers itching to ice fish, each passing day without huts on the lake is one less day to cast a line, in a season that begins January 1st and ends on March 15th.
All of December and the first few days of the new year have seen at or above normal temperatures and there is nothing to suggest a cold snap in January.
That doesn’t mean there won’t be some chilly days, just no consistent frigid temperatures needed for a solid ice base on Kempenfelt Bay and Lake Simcoe.
“For a solid ice base, a good four or five days of good minus 20 some weather, with no wind, makes a lot of ice quick.” according to Adam Goy of Adam Goy Fish Hut Rentals in Innisfil.
Goy says sheltered areas like Cook’s Bay, the southern most part of Lake Simcoe, is usually the first to freeze up.
The ice fishing season, like snowmobiling, is truly at the mercy of Mother Nature.
“By the middle of January in past years it has been good to go, in some years it has been later.” says Goy.
He says if you want fish huts out, there should be a good full eight inches of ice, and the whole lake is frozen, not just partially frozen.
No one would dare suggest the mild weather will cause this ice fishing season to be the one that got away, because there are big bucks riding on the sport.
It’s a lucrative business when conditions are good, not just for fish hut operators but, in terms of tourism, for municipalities that border Kempenfelt Bay and Lake Simcoe.
Lake Simcoe is the most intensively fished inland lake in the province with more people fishing it in the winter than at any other time of the year.