The Bay of Quinte may be the hottest spot for ice fishing in South Eastern Ontario but winter angling in the Cornwall area is one of the region’s best kept secrets. According to Hookandbullet.com, a geographical resource for hunters and fishers, there are more than thirty spots to drop a line within 20 kilometres of downtown Cornwall. The only problem, especially if you’ve never been here before, is figuring out which spot to choose. Read on for a few suggestions and details on the types of fish you’ll catch, derbies and guide services in the area.
Types of Fish
The St. Lawrence River is known for some of the best pike and walleye fishing in the world—and you can catch them all year long. Yellow perch and bass are also caught here in the winter, and if you’re really lucky, you might even hook the ever-elusive muskie. Special gear is usually needed to land the wily muskie, however, so a guide is strongly recommended.
Hoople Creek, located about 20 kilometres west of Cornwall, is one of the most popular ice fishing spots in the area—and for good reason. Drop a line here and most times you’ll come up with something. There’s a derby here every year and even a Facebook page for the Hoople Creek ice fishing community—check it out for ice conditions, photos and more. Hookandbullet.com users also suggest trying Ferguson Drain, The Cairn and Finney Creek, all located west of Cornwall.
If you’re new to ice fishing or the Cornwall area, find a guide who knows the ins and outs of the sport and where to find the fish. The only ice fishing guide in the city is Cornwall Pro Fishing. The business is run by Adam Lauzon, the South Glengarry Native who also helps organize the Cornwall Lunker Club, a group that works to protect and promote the area’s sport fisheries. Check out the 1000 Islands Fishing & Hunting guide for other charters and guides along the St. Lawrence River.
Looking to land a cash prize with that prize catch? Good news: there are two ice fishing derbies held in the Cornwall area every year. The Alexandria Ice Fishing Derby is held in Alexandria, which is about a half hour drive north of Cornwall. The date hasn’t been set for this year’s tournament yet, but it usually takes place in February. Last year there were over $40,000 in prizes, including boats, generators, chain saws and gift certificates. The other derby is the Lost Villages Fishing Tournament, held on Hoople Creek. Again, no date has been set yet. A smaller derby than the one in Alexandria, this tournament had about $7,000 in prizes last year. Proceeds from the 50/50 draw go to the Lost Villages Historical Society.