Northeastern fishing

8 bucket list fishing trips in Northeastern Ontario

Fishing season’s not here yet, but that’s no reason not to plan your dream getaway now.

If you’re planning a northern adventure in 2017, we’ve got a few fishing trips to add to your bucket list:

Temagami

…for those who are adventurous, and like trout fishing…

aerial view of Lake Temagami

Temagami is a huge area with 2,600 lakes and 2,400 km of canoe routes connected by portages thousands of years old.

It is a rugged landscape. The northwest quarter of the Temagami region is the most rugged, and home to five backcountry parks –  a large wilderness class park and four interconnected waterway parks. The two bucket-list trips in this group of parks require fly-in access with canoes, but we always tell anglers that you have to do a fly-in trip at least once in your life.

Both of these options require fly-in access with canoes, but we always tell folks that you have to do a fly-in trip at least once in your life.

Lady Evelyn-Smoothwater

waterfall

This park boasts great brook trout fishing. (Try Mepps Black Fury spinners, 4-6lb test.)

For the full-fledged adventurer, Lady Evelyn-Smoothwater is home to four of Ontario’s top ten peaks (including Ishpatina, the highest in Ontario). The park also affords great whitewater canoeing in the spring and early summer.

You’ll fall in love with the remote, rugged scenery filled with waterfalls and towering old growth pine.

Solace Provincial Park

A beautiful, remote chain of lakes connected by
portages, Solace features unparalleled TEMA011_Solace_three canoes paddling this wayflatwater canoeing.

Enjoy good brook and lake trout fishing, especially in the spring and fall. (Williams Wobbler and other shiny spoons, Mepps Black Fury spinners, 4-6lb test for Brookies, heavier for Lakers).

There are several outfitters in the area including Smoothwater Outfitters and Lakeland Airways. 

Missinaibi

…a northern adventure for the walleye or pike angler…

Missinaibi deltaThe Missinaibi River is Ontario’s longest undammed river, flowing 500 km from its headwater to James Bay. Designated as a Canadian Heritage River, the park provides three options for trips:

  • Missinaibi Lake in the headwaters, with a rustic but tidy campground (no electrical sites or hot showers).
  • the Upper Missinaibi River, which flows through the Canadian Shield, is a “pool and drop” whitewater river
  • the Lower Missinaibi, which drops off the Canadian Shield flowing over gravel bars, through the Hudson Bay Lowlands

Missinaibi Lake

This is a huge lake: 40 km long with another bay that’s 20 km long – that’s a lot of fishable water!

anglers with catch

You’ll find stellar whitefish, walleye and northern pike fishing. Lake trout can be caught with down riggers (and there are some nice ones in there!).

The lake is remote for one with road access by an 80 km timber road from Chapleau, which ends at the Barclay Bay campground. Anglers love the large dock system for boats, and availability of boat rentals.

Missinaibi River

angler with catch

This is a 450 km river with remote walleye and northern pike fishing.

Embark on a bucket list canoe trip as you paddle north toward Hudson’s Bay. This Canadian Heritage River also features one of the largest collections of indigenous pictographs in Ontario.

Both river trip options require at least a week of canoeing and portaging.

Fushimi Lake

…under northern skies…

Fushimi anglersFushimi Lake Provincial Park is a true northern experience. The skies are big over the boreal forest, and the night skies are even bigger – northern lights and incredible stars are something you need to see to believe.

Like Missinaibi, it’s a great northern fishing and camping experience, with a smaller lake completely contained within the park. It’s more accessible than Missinaibi (a short drive off Highway 11, west of Hearst), but still quiet with few boats and an almost undeveloped shoreline.

The backcountryFushimi boat

Fushimi Lake has those big skies that make it seem like you’re on a prairie with trees. There is great fishing for walleye and northern pike – the fishable area of the lake can keep anglers busy exploring new waters and structures all week.

The park has 13 backcountry campsites, a number of them island sites with great access to fishable waters.

The campground (or cabin!)

great catch

Great walleye and northern pike fishing, with a quiet full-service campground (electrical sites, RV sites, showers and laundry facilities). Campers love the quiet, scenic lake with its rocky points and seven sand beaches (great for shore lunches).

Fushimi Lake cabin

The lakeside cabin in the park’s campground is a great option for those who don’t want to camp, with one of the best porch-views in Ontario Parks!

Georgian Bay

…exploring the Thirty Thousand Islands…

This is a complex landscape, and boaters and paddlers are encouraged to carry good, up-to-date maps and navigational charts. The French River Delta, Shawanaga Bay and The Massasauga are made up of hundreds of islands, shoals and channels, which can be confusing without maps and charts, and a hazard to boat propellers. Be sure to check out Government of Canada navigation charts. 

French River Delta

French River - Delta aerial pan

French River Provincial Park‘s landscape is unique even for Georgian Bay, with bedrock channels and pine-covered granite islands cut from the Canadian Shield by glacial meltwater 10,000 years ago.

anglers eating shore lunch
This angler from the early 1900s is enjoying a tasty shore lunch.

Anglers enjoy good fishing for large- and small-mouth bass, northern pike, walleye, and even muskie (“the fish of 10,000 casts”). Big spinners work well for pike and muskie (especially classic red and white ones), while bass go for surface baits that splash and make noise. For Walleye, some anglers swear by worms on jigs, while others go for minnows.

The canoeing, kayaking and boating is fantastic. This is a backcountry camping park, so there is no campground, but there are many lodges within the park if cabins are your style. Contact the French River Resorts Association for more information.

Sturgeon Bay

Sturgeon Bay boat dockYou’ll find the same fish species as on the French River, and the same lures and techniques work, but the setting here is Shawanaga Bay, a huge inlet reaching inland from Georgian Bay with hundreds of islands and lots of underwater structure that fish like to hang out around.

The park has a full-service campground, especially handy in the fall (when fishing here is just that little bit better). The park also has several cabins for rent.

Sturgeon Bay cabin

The Massasauga

The Massasauga Provincial Park occupies the section of the Thirty Thousand Islands from Parry Sound south to the Moon River, hallowed waters for anglers.

The Massasauga landscape

You’ll find small- and large-mouth bass, lunker walleye, northern pike, and fabled muskie fishing (Moon Bay is where the Canadian record Muskie was caught).

We recommend fall for this fishing trip, after the pleasure boating and paddling is done for the season. Prefer to car camp? Killbear Provincial Park has good access to this area, with electrical sites and showers open into late October.

Wakami Lake

Wakami Lake boaters

Wakami Lake Provincial Park is — according to Ontario Parks fisheries biologists — the most productive walleye fishery in FMZ 10. Soft bodied baits that look like worms, frogs and other small critters are good. It also has a good whitefish population. Whitefish are deep in summer, and have small mouths – small spinners or jigs can work.

The park has a quiet, rustic campground off the beaten path (meaning there’s not much competition for fishing!). The campground offers waterfront sites, good docking facilities, and boat rentals.

If you’ve never fished Northeastern Ontario, isn’t it about time you booked a trip?