For the most part, Ontario is a quiet province. Aside from Toronto and Ottawa to the south – where some four million people live – the region is largely wilderness, dotted with hundreds of bodies of water and blanketed with untold acres of forest. Indeed, at 415,000 square-miles, Ontario offers a lot for wilderness lovers – but perhaps most enticing are the options for anglers. For those who love a good bait-and-hook, check out our favorite spots for fishing in Ontario below – and the best fishing lodges to set up for a few days. They can’t be beat.
1: Loch Island Lodge on Wabatongushi Lake
Roughly 40 minutes east of Dubreuilville lies the wilderness-wrapped destination of Wabatongushi Lake – a topographically diverse body of water with shallow, swampy areas to the north (the perfect habitat for pike) and deep waters to the south where walleye congregate. All said, the greater lake region – including the surrounding wilderness that’s part of the Chapleau Crown Game Reserve – stretches about 22 miles long. If you can, get a reservation in for the Isle of Jordan – this beautiful three-bedroom log cabin is the perfect place to come home to after a full day of fishing. And to make your trek easier, consider one of the four packages offered by Loch Island: they include 18-foot boats, fishing equipment, live bait, and guidance on where to get the best walleye, northern pike, whitefish, and jumbo perch. Plus, the staff will clean, package, and freeze your entire catch so all you have to do is enjoy the fishing. Rates run from about $300 CND for a one-day and one-night fishing excursion to upwards of $2,000 CND for a full week. Check the website for current pricing and lodge availability.
2: Totem Resorts on Lake of the Woods
In the far southwestern corner of Ontario sits Lake of the Woods – a lake so large it’s actually shared with neighboring Manitoba province. Indeed, at roughly 70 miles long and 60 miles wide, it’s an enormous body of water – giving fishers plenty of opportunity to catch pike, perch, bass, trout, and half a dozen other varieties of fish. For our money, Totem Resorts is the place to anchor when fishing in the area; twenty cabins (one to seven bedrooms) offer eminently comfortable accommodations, including satellite TV, full kitchens, and spacious bedrooms. When you’re ready for some angling, portage a boat to an area of your choosing – including one of any number of Totem guest-only fishing areas – and set up for a day of hooking and reeling. For an extra special treat, book a float plane to take you to a remote lake; the views from the sky are breathtaking. Check the website for rates and available reservations.
3: Chaudière Lodge on the French River
Trek four hours north of Toronto and you’ll find yourself in a fisher’s paradise: the ambling French River, docked by various lodges and hunting cabins, opening to the ever-popular Lake Nipissing. Our favorite accommodations in the area, Chaudière Lodge, sit on the mouth of the river away from much of the hustle and bustle of the lake. The sunsets are brilliant here – and make a trek to a cabin worth it even if you never pick up a fishing rod. If you’re more of a social sort, grab a room at the 3,200-square-foot main lodge where you can lounge in front of the fire with other vacationers, linger over dinner in the rustic dining room, or while away the days playing games or watching TV. You can also reserve an all-inclusive cabin (one to three bedrooms), many of which are enveloped by trees. But let’s not forget that you came here for fishing, so reserve a boat (16 to 18-footers with GPS run $125 CND to $200 CND per day) and get out into the blue beyond. If you’re a neophyte, never fear; fishing guides are on hand to guide your fishing adventure, ensuring you’ll come back with at least one gilled trophy. Rates for the cabin and lodge run $265 CND for one night to $1,500+ CND for a full week. Check the website for reservation details.
4: Wild Goose Lake Resort on Wildgoose Lake
A hop, skip, and a scoot away from the city of Geraldton is the Wild Goose Lake Resort, situated (unsurprisingly) on Wildgoose Lake. This area is actually a great stop for nature aficionados of all stripes – including those who love hunting, hiking, and rock climbing. Twelve cottages make up the resort, with accommodations for as many as 11 people. The basics are all accounted for, but nothing is posh – and that’s fine by us, since we like spending as much time as possible outdoors. To make your life easy, grab a Fishing Package, which includes a week-long cabin rental, a boat and equipment for fishing, and safety kits. When you’re done reeling, relax on the sandy beach (yep, that was a surprise to us, too), or go on a hike and grab some breathtaking photos of eagles, osprey, moose – even timberwolves. If you ever get a craving for more civilization, just head to Geraldton for a spell where bustling restaurants, a golf course, and grocery stores provide everything you need to last a week in the wild.
5: Pipestone Lodge on the Rainy River
If you’re more of a river fisher, then Pipestone Lodge might be a better place to call home for a few days. Located on a bend in the Rainy River, Pipestone boasts eight cozy cabins with room for up to eight people. Come fishing time, prime yourself for the best in walleye, musky, trout, and bass as you get instruction from professional anglers. Bonus: American Package guests get traditional fish-bean-potato shore lunches to break up their excursions. To boot, guests can receive cleaning and freezing of their catch and craft boats to guide them along their serpentine fishing journey. Rates start at $183 CND per day, but check the website for the latest pricing and cabin availability.
For more information about spots for fishing in Ontario, visit the province’s dedicated fishing webpage.