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A Guide To Fishing Success

• Credit: Gord Pyzer
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A Guide To Fishing Success

Why you should hire a guide for your ontario fishing trip

What is the single most efficient and effective way to catch more and bigger fish than you have ever caught? Especially, in an Ontario lake, river, reservoir, pit or pond in which you've never wetted a line.

That is the question I am asked most often these days by magazine readers, radio listeners, television viewers and seminar participants.

As a matter of fact, just a week or so ago, I was recording my Fish Talk With The Doc radio segment on the Outdoor Journal Radio Show when host Angelo Viola, stopped me on air before we got into the day's discussion. Ang said that the producer of the show was standing beside him and was dying to ask me a question.

"Put him on," I replied.

Northern Pike Northern pike caught in Kesagami Lake in Northeastern Ontario. (Photo credit: Gord Pyzer)

The producer indicated he was going to be taking his girlfriend salmon fishing for the first time on Lake Ontario, out of Port Credit, and wanted to know how he could impress her by catching a lot of big fish.

It was a great question, and the answer is always the same, "hire a good fishing guide."

Folks, it never ceases to amaze me how many anglers will spend tens of thousands of dollars on new boats, motors, rods, reels and fine fishing tackle, and then not spend a day or two with a top notch guide. It's the epitome of being, "penny wise and pound foolish."

The same thing often happens when anglers book fishing trips to one of the fabulous resorts, lodges, campgrounds and motels in Northern Ontario. They spend hours carefully considering every minute detail of the trip and anticipating the wonderful fishing. But then they arrive, look out at the vast, stunning landscape and wonder, where do I begin?

Well, the best place to begin, is to hire a guide who will teach you the safe boating routes and the location of the fish at that particular part of the season, as well as the ideal rod, reel, line, lure and bait combinations and presentations.

It's the fastest ticket, I know, to fishing success.

Atlantic salmon caught in St. Mary's River Sault Ste. Marie guide, Kraig Coulter, holding an Atlantic salmon caught in the St. Marys River. (Photo credit: Gord Pyzer)

Case in point: I caught one of my biggest northern pike ever, a huge toothy critter capable of chewing off my leg, while staying at Kesagami Lake Lodge in Northeastern Ontario.  (Kesagami, by the way, offers the best trophy pike fishing I've ever seen.)

But it was fishing guide, Dave Reddick, who knew the cold front that arrived the same day we did, had pushed the pike out of the shallow weedy back bays where most anglers would have expected to catch them, and positioned the big fish on main lake rocky points and shoals.

Nothing beats that kind of local knowledge and expertise.

It was the same thing a couple of years ago, when I was steelheading in Algoma Country along the north shore of Lake Superior, staying at the wonderful Voyageur’s Lodge and Cookhouse along the Trans Canada Highway.

Local Sault Ste. Marie area guides, Kraig and Kevin Coulter, (705-257-1972) walked me through some spectacular old growth red and white pine forests to where little, hidden, out of the way creeks, streams and rivers flowed into crystal clear Lake Superior.

With bald eagles soaring high overhead, the three of us stood spellbound on the granite outcroppings along the shoreline, peering into the transparent water and watching wild silver-sided rainbow trout and gorgeous red, white and black-finned speckled trout cavorting below us.

I swear, I was reminded of the movie, Field of Dreams, when the ball player walked up to Kevin Costner and asked, "Is this heaven?"

I will tell you something else many anglers rarely consider, and it is that a good guide will not only provide you with the best fishing experience of your life, but he or she will save you a considerable amount of money.

As a matter of fact, I have a stateside friend who is a very good angler and loves to fish in Ontario three or four times a year. But, he is so tied up with business, that he has wisely chosen to maximize his time on the water by staying in fine accommodations, eating gourmet meals and fishing exclusively with guides.

And get this: he tells me the trips are "free", as the interest on the money he has saved, by not buying a boat, motor and all the associated fishing tackle pays for his outstanding Ontario fishing adventures.

I guess that kind of savvy is why he is such a successful businessman.

Kesagami Lake Lodge guide, Dave Reddick with a Northern Pike Kesagami Lake Lodge guide, Dave Reddick, holding a beautiful Northern Pike from Northeastern Ontario. (Photo credit: Gord Pyzer)

Of course, if you do have all the trappings of an angler, boat, motor, trailer and tackle, hiring a good guide for a day or two will put you light years ahead of an angler who tries to learn it all on his own.

Indeed, I once hired a great guide who has since become a good friend, to simply show me the safe running routes on the otherwise uncharted waters of a lake in Northcentral Ontario.

Instead of fishing from his boat that day, we launched mine. I turned on my sonar/chartplotter and then got the heck out of the driver's seat. Fred toured me around the entire lake as we fished at least a dozen or more of his hot spots. At the end of the day, I had all the safe travels routes stored and saved on my GPS chartplotter -- not to mention, the best fishing spots on the lake, which he said I was more than welcome to enjoy.

Talk about taking the fast road to fishing success.

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