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Drilling for Silver

• Credit: Martin Lortz
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Drilling for Silver

Ice Fishing For Lake Trout At Snowshoe Camp Resort

I don't call myself a fisherman, but I do like to fish. I am more of a “fisherman for the day” kinda person; when the opportunity presents itself I am there with bells on, as they say. So when I got a call from a friend and the real deal fisherman, Adam Vallee of Angling Algoma,  to join in on a combination winter cottage retreat and ice fishing mission at Snowshoe Camp Resort in Northern Ontario, I shined up my bells and hit the road.


Our destination is Ontario’s Algoma Country, more specifically 50 km north of Thessalon and 5 km from the nearest highway on the shores of beautiful Wakomata Lake. The Snowshoe Camp Resort offers six housekeeping cabins that are available all year, and the lake at their front door offers world-class fishing for smallmouth bass, lake trout, northern pike, and whitefish. Owners Laura and Brent exude Northern hospitality and are always working to make sure your stay is good as it can be.


When it comes to decluttering the brain of our daily stresses, it’s hard to beat a cabin in the woods, or better yet in the snow-covered woods. With crowds to a minimum and a landscape silenced by a blanket of snow, the cabin is a refuge of warmth and camaraderie. The good times are fuelled by the heat of the woodstove, the company of good friends, good food, and good wine, or local craft brew if you prefer.


As for ice fishing, I will be the first to say “You’ve seen one frozen lake, you’ve seen them all”—where do you start? In actuality, ice fishing is refreshingly uncomplicated: cut a hole in the ice, drop a line, and you're doing it. With whitefish, lake trout, and northern pike aplenty beneath the ice, some of the best winter fishing can be had almost in front of the resort, and owner Brent will be happy to point you in the right direction.


Luckily, we are in the company of local fishing guide Adam Vallee, who takes the pursuit of “the big one” to the next level. So while we linger over morning coffee, Adam does what fishing guides do: drilling holes, setting up rods and huts, firing up the heaters, and baiting hooks. By the time we arrive the huts are warm, the fish finder is flickering, and the hook with a minnow attached is already 60 feet below the ice.


It always takes me a while to get my bearing on the fish finder display. At first, it’s just a bunch of different colour lines flickering everywhere, but once you figure out which line is your bait and which is the fish, it’s like a video game meets the fishing type of experience. By video game, I mean it’s like playing tennis on an Atari 64 back in the day. Bait line moves, the fish line follows, bait line drops, the fishing rod dips, and you pull up and crank the reel. The mandatory “Fish on” call echoes across the ice. Everybody drops what they are doing and rushes over to assist. Game on, and the game is not over until the fish is on the ice. Then it’s smiles and high fives, and we’re back in for more.


Fun times have a way of making hours pass faster than expected, and it’s always so hard to reel up that hook for the last time, but winter days are short and there are fish to fry. Back at the cabin, we stoke the stove, and clean some fish, and as the landscape goes dark and temperatures outside dip for the night, we crank up the heat and let the good times roll. Hard to beat cabin life in the snow-covered woods.


Notes From The Road

  • The final 5 km of snow-covered road accessing the resort can be an adventure and winter tires are recommended, but worry not: owner Brent looks after the road and drives a tractor.
  • In the winter, you can snowmobile from the Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs’ trail network right to your cabin.
  • If snowmobiling or ice fishing isn’t your thing, there are a variety of winter activities you can partake in such as cross-country skiing, and of course, snowshoeing.
  • There is a communal game and hangout space where you can enjoy a game of pool, or test your skill at cards.
  • While things were quiet during our mid-week visit, the resort is fully booked most weekends throughout the ice fishing season, so planning ahead is well advised.
  • According to Adam, if Lake Trout is what you're after, they prefer minnows or white tubes.
  • The Snowshoe Camp Resort is a pet-friendly resort.

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