It's the height of winter & Beaverton has some of the best ice fishing spots you can find anywhere. Don't like fish? The town is also bursting with great new restaurants...
“I love fishing. You put that line in the water, and you don’t know what’s on the other end. Your imagination is under there.” – Robert Altman
Ice Fishing on Lake Simcoe
It’s the season for ice fishing! Yes, the height of winter. Beaverton has some of the best ice fishing spots and always plenty to catch–if you’re lucky or skilled. I, it seems, am neither, but I like to get out there anyway enticed, like the opening quote, by my very active imagination and the hope that there is always “the big one” about to bite at the end of my line. To me, being out on a frozen lake is both wonderous (especially on a bright sunny day) and slightly scary when you stop to think about standing on top of the lake’s surface. However, the professionals that run the ice fishing businesses along Lake Simcoe are experts, and they wouldn’t put you out on the ice in one of their huts without following safety protocol and, of course, proper COVID protocols.
Floyd Hales Fish Huts, which run out of the Beaverton harbour, is a great outfit to book with and this year they’ve introduced an online reservation system. Floyd Hales is Lake Simcoe’s oldest ice fishing operation. They’ve been providing a safe and comfortable winter ice fishing experience on world-famous Lake Simcoe for over 45 years. Lake Simcoe hosts various winter sport fish species, including lake trout, whitefish, perch and herring. Seven Bombardier Buses are available to take you safely to one of forty modern fish huts, each with a capacity of four to six guests. And, of course, clean washrooms are located on all fishing grounds for your convenience.
Mitchell’s Fish Huts also operates out of Beaverton. They, too, have been in operation for over 40 years. They are located off Hwy 12/48—left at Thorah Concession 6 (north of McDonald’s/Independent), travel straight to stop sign, through stop sign to Lake Simcoe, left at the lake, then again at the bottom of the hill. Their newest feature is two 8ft x 16ft Ice Bungalows that you can rent for the weekend, and the price includes bait and transportation. I personally think that would be a one-of-a-kind experience sleeping out all weekend on the lake. Of course, you must follow COVID protocols.
Tim Hales Fish Huts is another fish hut operator located in town on Lake Simcoe’s east shore. Born and raised in the small town of Beaverton, Tim has many years of experience with ice fishing on the frozen surface of Lake Simcoe. As the owner and operator of Tim Hales Fish Huts, he is dedicated to providing a personable and safe ice fishing service. Tim and his staff are knowledgeable, friendly, experienced anglers who have a strong passion for the sport of fishing. If you enjoy fishing for perch, herring, lake trout, and whitefish, Lake Simcoe is the place to be.
You can find another ice fishing outfit just outside of Beaverton in Port Bolster. Casey’s Inn & Fish Huts is in the heart of Simcoe’s famous “Perch Grounds,” an area north-east of Georgina Island. Since 1961 they have provided accommodations, bait and tackle, and warm, comfortable fish huts for their customers. After a hearty breakfast, hit the ice and try your luck with Simcoe’s Yellow Perch. All of their fish huts provide a heated, comfortable fishing environment for everyone to enjoy, even in the coldest times on Lake Simcoe. Remember to dress in layers and pack your sunglasses because when it is sunny out on the lake, you can get really warm (and sunburnt, so remember the sunscreen too!). It might not even feel like winter to you….
If you decide to head out ice fishing from the Beaverton Harbour, you’ll find a friendly little restaurant called Barney’s. They serve a hearty breakfast, which is an excellent start to your day on the ice.
Beaverton Fish & Chip Restaurant at 300 Mara Road 705-426-7485 is not far from the harbour. Aside from the obvious (having GREAT fish and chips), Dani, the owner, caters to ice fishermen and day tourists and also specializes in all-day breakfasts. All are hefty portions, so be sure to bring your appetite.
With all the lockdown procedures and COVID-19 protocols, it’s hard to imagine people starting up businesses. Still, humans are resilient, and so it seems are chefs and restaurant owners. There are FOUR new restaurants in Beaverton, and to answer your question, YES, I did try them all. Seriously, what else is there to do these days but order takeout? Okay, there’s one more thing: Ordering a pair of jeans one size bigger, but I digress.
Let’s start at the outskirts of town and work our way downtown. At The Y Restaurant & Market (705-426-2333) is situated as you enter Beaverton from the south, at 27551B Regional Road #23. They offer great homemade food, such as incredible burgers, and have daily specials. Their crispy chicken caesar wrap was delicious! I have it on good authority that their homemade lasagna is also very tasty.
Colala Poutine & Bar (705-426-5888) can be found on the east side of Beaverton at B-1565 Durham Regional Road 15, just past the Tim Hortons. They have quite an assortment of poutine. On my first visit, I tried “The Hangover ” (not because I had one, but because I happened to be very hungry and it looked mouth-watering)–fresh-cut fries, cheese curds, and rich gravy, garnished with ground beef, bacon, mushrooms, and caramelized onion topped with a fried egg and a drizzle of hot sauce. I wasn’t wrong, it WAS delicious! I went back for a second takeout order a week or so later because they also have an Asian menu. Being half Asian myself, I was very interested in that. I took home Hibachi Shrimp for my dad and Beef Short Ribs (Korean style) for me. Both were very flavourful.
Heading into the downtown section, at 390 Simcoe Street, there is a new upscale restaurant called Stefano’s Bistro 705-999-2677. Chef Stephen and his wife Kay opened this restaurant on January 1, 2021, and have been busy since. Stephen has been cooking in upscale hotel restaurants since he was 17 years old. The couple told me they loved how friendly, kind and peaceful Beaverton is, so they decided to open a restaurant here. Stephen can cook anything – from appetizers to main courses to desserts – and every dish is scrumptious and presented like works of art on the plate. I really can’t rave enough about how great their food is: I ordered the Pollo (Chicken) Parmigiana which came with penne, and a Caesar salad (really, really good) and my father had the Grilled Salmon with mango salsa, garlic mashed potatoes and grilled vegetables. The Parmigiana was massive, and I ate the rest for lunch the next day. The salmon was delicious, and my father, who doesn’t usually eat vegetables, ate all the grilled veggies–I am still in shock. The couple is so lovely and welcoming, and I can’t wait until restaurants are fully allowed to open so I can dine inside this establishment. I’m thrilled they decided to live up here, a definite bonus for the community. Stefano’s Bistro offers weekly and daily specials, so check back often to see what appeals to your palate.
Rockin Burger & Pub (705-217-9555), located at 298 Simcoe Street. According to their website, they are on a mission to make you the best burger possible. They offer endless combinations of sauces made from scratch, creative toppings and fresh produce. I can’t vouch for ALL the burgers, but I must say that their cheeseburger was quite delicious, and my daughter loved the vegetarian burger! Their burgers are handmade, and their salads are chopped fresh to order in the kitchen. Burgers aside, they have quite a varied menu, from pasta to butter chicken. Next time, I will try their Chicken Biriyani and the Butter Chicken as I am a big fan of Indian food.
So, if you are feeling shut in and tired of cooking like I am, try one of the new local restaurants or one of the older established ones for takeout. When dining-in resumes, you’ll be able to grab a table at these and any of the others in town: The Wing House 334 Simcoe Street (100 flavours of wings and more), Tar’d and Feather’d (Pub Food) 378 Bay Street, Golden Star Restaurant (Chinese Canadian cuisine) 306 Simcoe Street, Pirate’s Pizza at 328 Mill Street, Crusty’s Pizza at 325 Simcoe Street or The Little Brown Jug (diner featuring breakfast and brunch) at 314 Osborne Street. I think we are fortunate to have so many to choose from living in a small town, and I hope you can support these wonderful eateries.
NOTE: At the time of publishing, Durham Region is in the RED-CONTROL zone of the COVID-19 Response framework with extensive measures in place to stop the spread of COVID-19. Residents are encouraged to stay at home with exception of essential trips, wash hands frequently, wear a mask and physically distance from others.
We continue to publish these stories to encourage you to explore these businesses and communities safely and through social media. When possible, please order for safe curbside pick-up if offered, and prepare to explore these areas once they are able to safely reopen.