Ice Fishing in Banff & Lake Louise
Ice fishing isn’t permitted on lakes within Banff National Park, but there are lakes close by where you can fish for lake trout and Rocky Mountain whitefish. The best spot outside of Banff National Park is undoubtedly Spray Lakes, which is located about 50 minutes from Banff or 30 minutes south of Canmore in the very heart of the Rocky Mountains. In addition to having an abundance of Lake Trout, the area offers breathtaking scenic views and a range of unique wildlife.
Here you can try your hand vertical jigging (also known as ice fishing) which is an easy way for the novice and expert alike to catch fish. Just bear in mind that there aren’t any free accommodations provided and you’ll be required to have a full license to fish.
While it is possible to go it alone, it’s generally recommended that you hire a guide. That’s because it can be dangerous on certain parts of the ice, and it’s also illegal if you don’t have a permit. There also aren’t any free huts available for use by the general public – all of which can make it tricky for first timers.
Ice fishing guides on the other hand provide heated huts, hot beverages, food, equipment, winter gear and licenses. They’ll even cook your fresh catch for you right on the spot. The professional guides also happen to know the best spots to pull in the biggest fish. All you need to do is show up!
One of our favourite guides is Banff Fishing Unlimited, which offers a range of well maintained ice fishing huts . Alternatively, if you’re feeling extra adventurous (and the weather is accommodating) they also offer outdoor fishing holes. Plus, they offer pick-ups and drops off from most Banff hotels.
In most cases, they can accommodate groups of up to 10 people (although larger groups can be arranged if you give them a bit more notice). In most cases, a typical trip is around 6-7 hours long, but they can also customize the trip to your specific group needs.
So while there’s plenty of great ice fishing available outside of Banff Provincial Park, your best bet is probably to hire a local guide.
And if you’re planning on staying in the area, check out our cozy Lake Louise cabins and chalets. Book now!