The Sioux Lookout area is full of the world's most incredible hard water fishing opportunities. Local folks spend as much time as they can on the ice in the winter months. Great ice conditions are from January to April. There are many groomed trails here for the avid snowmobiler to explore. Many of these are pathways to some of the main ice fishing lakes such as Lac Seul, Minnitaki and Big Vermilion. There are literally thousands of smaller back lakes to fish as well. Some are connecting to the main bodies, while others are a short trailer ride away. Most of these lakes see little to no angling pressure all summer long. With modern day portable ice huts, augers, and electronics, cold weather does not play much of a factor on if you can get out or not. If you enjoy walleye, lake trout, brook trout, pike, and whitefish ice fishing, this should be your next winter destination! Why not come to a place where the action is great, and the trophy potential is high?
If you've experienced how huge the walleye population is up here, then you may want to imagine how fun targeting hardwater fish can be. Morning and evening bites are hot, with nonstop action. Mid-day has consistent walleye hits with incidental whitefish, bass, pike and lake trout. The flasher provides endless marks to fish for, so there is never a dull moment. On the big lakes like Seul and Minnitaki depths for fishing range from 20 to 30 feet. Most of the area's smaller back lakes are shallow prime time morning and evening bites in 10 feet or less. A wide variety of lures produce well in the winter months here, but some are way hotter than others, but I'll save that information for your trip.
Do you live for scraping lakers through the ice? In this region there are many hotspots for action and trophy Lake Trout Fishing. Big Vermilion is our closest destination with a dense population, and various sizes of lake trout. Here you can only fish one line, and no live bait. There is also a slot on these lakers that states all fish between 17.7 and 23.5 inches must go back in. The population is huge, and we plan on keeping it this way. A 10 lb Trout in this lake is considered a nice one, although there have been catches over 20 lb's in here. Big V is for the hardwater angler who exclusively wants to target Lake Trout.
Minnitaki is land of the giants here, although the population is not as dense, many accidental huge catches happen each winter while targeting walleyes. I'm sure that there are Lakers over one hundred years old in this lake. Within a 40 minute drive from town, there are many other incredible lakes for hot LakeTrout fishing as well. All the traditional trout tackle works in this area well.
Pike are hungry predators all year round here. There are too many opportunities for the avid ice pike fisherman in this area. Local people do not target pike much, as the walleye population is huge, and what they crave most(we are spoiled!)
Pike are released in every lake all winter. Northerns of all sizes can be targeted in every lake around Sioux Lookout. The pike action in the smaller remote lakes, that only winter access allows is ridiculous. I have seen Pike of every size range in all lakes here, regardless of the body of water size. The forage base is incredible, and our Pike take full advantage of this. Northern Pike love to suspend in the winter months and many times huge pike are easy prey with a dead bait and quick strike rig just hanging below the ice. Although I don't particularily go out and just target pike, I always reel up for a big mark on my flasher, and catch many huge northerns in the winter "by accident". As spring approaches, huge female pike over 40 inches stack up in the shallows, or just outside their major spawning areas. March and April are the best months to deadbait/quikestrike rig shallow for tanker sized northerns here.
The main go-to bait up here is the jigging rapala. All species fall victim to this presentation well.
Whitefish are an over abundant species in these parts. Figure out what they want, land on the school and bend that rod all day. We pick up many nice whitefish, just targeting walleye and lake trout too. There is a lake here that is simply loaded with smelt, fat lakers, obese pike and 5lb + average whitefish. Sometimes the flasher is so full of smelt that you have to just do it by feel. These fish are great table fare, and by far are one of the best fighters. Some of the best days out here are simply by targeting big schools of feeding whities.
A big variety of tackle works well for these fish. I prefer 1/8 whistler jigs/minnows, small silver spoons, and white tube baits. This species is great help in providing all day action, and nonstop marking on the flasher!
The northern range of the black crappie has extended to our area. The Wabigoon chain has exploded with Crappie in the last ten years. Many 14-16" thick slabs are being caught. Ralph Lake on the highway to Hudson has many as well. Fun to target, and make for great table fare. Current limits are 15 per person, and numbers are easily achieved.
Speckled Trout have been stocked into several area lakes here since the early 70's. Great ice opportunities with action and possible big fish to 25" too!
Smallmouth Bass are slow and lethargic in the winter months. They are commonly found in tight schools 20 to 30 ft deep, with a broken rock bottom or adjacent to a reef. These are also common walleye winter structures. Dangling a bait in front of these slowed down big bass will trigger a bonus catch!
There are also a few area lakes that are stocked with the hybrid splake, and catches are up to 25 inches in size. Very tasty fish!
Rainbow Trout have been stocked into one of our lakes in recent years, and catches are up to 28 inches long so far. Perch are bonus fish nearly everywhere that you fish here too. Most of the northern perch are tiny, but some lakes cough up Jumbo's up to 14 inches!
Check out these fairly recent hardwater videos from the Sioux Lookout area made by guide buddy -
Other Sioux Area Hardwater Specialists
Lac Seul Hardwater Adventures
Guides Steve Dumonski and Greg Marino
807 889 0223
Local Accommodations, Info and Tackle/Bait
1 800 682 6123
Centrally located with cozy, warm, winterized housekeeping cabins and a heated garage. Many connected trails close by.
Guides Ben Beattie and Troy Mansfield
Best Western Hotel
Sunset Inn & Suites
Al's Sports Excellence
807 737 1323
Al's carry the top ice fishing gear and tackle for a fair price. Sm, Med and Lg minnows available here all winter long. Central location, close to the local supermarket.
Sioux Lookout Chamber of Commerce Website
Town of Sioux Lookout Website