Don’t stay cooped up this winter. Why not take up a new hobby and acquaint yourself with the world of ice fishing? Yes, if you’re exploring the Grande Prairie region this winter, we highly recommend a day out on one of our frozen lakes. The adrenaline of reeling in an unsuspecting trout is unlike any other feeling – and will have you forgetting all about the cold within seconds. Add to that the breathtaking natural beauty of northern Alberta and we’re sure you’ll be raving about your experience for weeks to come!
Ice fishing in the Grande Prairie region is really quite the catch, especially when you realize that many of the best lakes to fish in are merely an hour or two from the city by car. Swan Lake, for example, is located only 45 minutes east on Highway 43. The lake is full of beautiful Rainbow Trout, which makes it quite popular among anglers throughout the region. The well-maintained surroundings and access to several basic amenities also make the lake one of the most family-friendly options in the region.
Please note that there is an open irrigation system near the boat launch, so remember to keep an eye on your children and pets.
If you’re a seasoned fisherman looking for more variety, make sure you visit Snipe Lake, approximately 90-minute’s drive from the city. Here, you can catch walleye, northern pike, lake whitefish, and – if you’re lucky – even burbot or yellow belly perch. Some of the northern pike grow to be over 40 inches long, so always make sure to man your rod!
In Saddle Hills, about an hour and 20 minutes’ drive northwest of Grande Prairie, Moonshine Lake is another great scene for ice fishing in the winter months. Stocked with rainbow, brown, and tiger trout and part of a designated provincial park, the lake is an excellent option for a family day or weekend trip. The park plays host to a variety of other winter activities such as cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, skating (some years), and year-round camping.
Because some of the fish belong to vulnerable or threatened species, please ensure you check local regulations before you keep a fish. Regulation books are available at local hunting and fishing stores, or you can also download a copy online. Also, please never keep the biggest fish you pull out of the ice since experts say such lake ‘monsters’ usually have the best reproductive genes and will lay more eggs for more fish, which will make fishing fun for the next generation of fishing enthusiasts.
There are a few things to keep in mind before you hit your destination, like:
While winters in northern Alberta can be very long and at times, extremely cold, it’s worth picking up a new outdoor hobby or sport such as ice fishing to help encourage you to get fresh air, exercise, and social time with friends and family. We’d like to thank Parker Sharp and Tryten Henitz, two local ice fishing enthusiasts, for providing the invaluable tips and information outlined in this blog.
If we convinced you to go ice fishing (or just provided some information that was helpful), make sure to share your journey with us by using the hashtag #GPTourism on Instagram or Facebook.