One Man’s Thoughts on Where to Fish Canada

Are you interested in planning a fishing trip to Canada, but don’t know where to go? Here is a list of some of the places I’ve been to, with a short summary:

We’ll start with the province of Ontario.

The Pipestone/Clearwater Chain of Lakes lies between Emo and Nestor Falls, so it isn’t too far from the International Falls, Minn. border. It has good fishing for most of the Ontario species. The chain is fairly long, but not too wide so you can get out in any weather.

Eagle Lake, Ont. is situated between Dryden and Vermillion and is a true “trophy” lake. It’s big water compared to the Pipestone Chain. There are numerous lodges around the lake with various amenities, but one is sure to fit your budget. This sizable body of water has a variety of structure holding big fish. You want a GPS unit for sure, even if it’s a hand-held one.

Cedar Lake is about two hours or so north of Eagle Lake and a great place to take a family. In addition to walleyes, muskies, and pike, it boasts some good perch and smallmouth angling.

Minaki is a small town north of Kenora, and sits on a widening of the Winnipeg River. I have gone there seven years in a row and love the place. The walleyes, pike, and muskies are as good here as anywhere. If you like big water, this place is for you. We stay at Paradise Cove Resort and they have first-class accommodations.

Ash Rapids Lodge is on Shoal Lake, which is part of Lake of the Woods located on the west side and bumps up toward the province of Manitoba. Lake of the Woods is about 1 million acres, so you won’t have a problem finding a place to fish. This lodge has a first-class chef if you don’t want to do your own cooking. I found the smallmouth and walleye fishing fantastic.

The Bay of Quinte is a long drive east and when it’s hot you can catch a lot of walleyes over 10 pounds and up. My fishing buddy, Eric Skell, of Hartford, Wis., nailed a 15-pound, 4-ounce fish there. The nearby town has many lodging choices too. The best fishing is late fall when the weather can be nasty, so be prepared and bring your common sense for safety’s sake. Trolling crankbaits is the ticket here.

For these destinations, you can drive to them and drag your boat along. If you don’t have a boat, they all have rentals. On drive-in trips, you can bring everything including the kitchen sink as opposed to fly-ins, which have weight restrictions.

Do a search online for information. In some cases, you might have to add the word “Ontario,” since a lot of the names are similar to others in the U.S. Go to for a map and a listing of all the lodges and camps in the area.

Below are some floatplane trips:

Red Lake is the jumping off point for countless numbers of fly-in lakes. Chimo Lodge on Roderick Lake is an excellent choice for all species. The facilities are first-class and you get there by floatplane from downtown Red Lake. I’ve fished it twice.

Wabakimi and Tew lakes are long flight trips easterly from Red Lake and lie in Wabakimi National Park. I thought the fishing was better on Wabakimi; Tew Lake is nice, but small.

Little Vermillion Lake is a place for big northern pike. I once held the world record for a line-class release of a big pike. Sadly, that record was broken in the same year I set it. The fish seemed to be concentrated in just a few areas so you always had company on your favorite spot. The Sportman’s Lodge is a good place to stay here.

Cobham Lake Lodge lies on the Cobham River and is quite a ways north of Red Lake. We had good fishing there for walleyes and pike. The accommodations were good and it was a nice trip in general.

If you’ve never done a floatplane trip, they are a lot of fun. But there are some pretty stringent weight limitations. Forget about bringing the “kitchen sink” as well as the dozens of cases of beer you wanted to haul along.

The province of Manitoba has a lot of great fishing and quite a few lakes with trophy lake trout and pike. Crow Duck Lake is a very good camp you can drive to. Due to logistics, you can’t bring your own boat. Fishing for smallmouths and walleyes has been outstanding on an alternating basis. Brownstone, Nejanilini, and Baralzon lakes in northern Manitoba are all excellent.

If Saskatchewan interests you, a good choice is Ruffo’s Sportsman’s Lodge on the Churchill River. It is also an excellent place for big groups and corporate outings.

Fishing in the Northwest Territories is an experience onto itself—big pike and lake trout and fabulous grayling fishing. Great Slave Lake is a huge body of water and has sections excellent for big pike and others for big lake trout. I’ve taken trips to Yellowknife and stayed at a camp called Taltson Lodge. It’s on the south end of the lake where the Hay River flows in.

Lodges can take you to Snowbird, North and South Wholdia, Anaunethad lakes and other great outpost lakes. This area has fantastic grayling fishing as well as pike and trout.

The main issue with trips like this is the cost and a big part is the airfare. To get to Taltson Lodge from Lake County meant five different plane rides: four the first day to get from O’Hare to Yellowknife, and a floatplane trip the next day to get to the lodge—a lot of travel and money, but the fishing was worth it.

There are so many lodges and resorts to pick from in Canada that deciding where to go is not easy. If you need more information pick up a copy of MidWest Outdoors magazine. You can find a lot of information in their “Canada Fever” section. You can also go to for a free travel guide and map.


For any questions or more information about these places, email Jim Zegar at