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Discover True Trout Country

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Discover True Trout Country

Ashely McBride hoists a self-sustaining rainbow trout caught from Ontario’s Kirkwood Lake region. • Credit: Kevin Callan

Fly Fishing for Rainbow Trout in the Kirkwood Lake region



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Hidden amongst the rugged Penokean Hills north of Elliot Lake is a cluster of aqua- coloured lakes and crystal-clear streams alive with trophy brook trout, feisty lakers and self-sustaining rainbow trout. This northern Ontario gem has an addictive quality and once you explore it for the first time, you'll be returning - guaranteed.

Blue Fox Camp is the best base to tour the area. Located on the bottom end of Kirkpatrick Lake, the lodge is the centrerpiece of the water system. From here, countless lakes, ponds, streams, as well as the White River, provide dreamlike settings to drop a fly or bounce a jig.

The best access is by bush plane. Some logging roads exist to the north but it's the difficulty of access that's kept this place so special. Timber Wolf Air in Blind River is your best choice.

kirk9(Photo credit: Kevin Callan)

The historic fishing lodge got its start as a lumber camp. Some of the small trout lakes to the south of the lodge are blast pits made by the loggers needing watering areas for their horses. By the early 1940s, however, Blue Fox changed from lumber camp to fishing resort. Rainbow trout were brought here in 1944 and still thrive. Helping the rainbow to prosper were the lodge owners. They become heroes of sorts amongst anglers, and continue to be the leaders in protecting the region's healthy trout population.

Kirkpatrick is a dramatically beautiful lake, circled by high cliff faces and equipped with perfect island campsites. A canoeist or kayaker could easily stay here for a week and explore from end to end, but there is much more to explore than just Kirkpatrick Lake.

walter2(Photo credit: Kevin Callan)

My last trip here was by canoe, paddling a loop starting and finishing at the lodge. One friend on the trip, Jay Mothersill, had worked here as a fishing guide years before and wanted to return to explore the lakes and streams to the north. He was also hoping for the chance to re-catch a brook trout he'd nicknamed Walter. It was a legendary over-sized brookie a client had caught and released.

Crazy Lake was one of our favourites en route. It's an intimate and remote body of water surrounded by a mixture of red and white pine-topped mounds of granite. It's also a haven for brook trout. Town Line Lake was also a highlight for us, where rainbow trout could be seen rising along the shoreline for emerging mayflies.

And somewhere north of Kirkpatrick, Jay was lucky enough to catch Walter, or at least a duplicate of the giant brook trout. It weighed in at over 8 pounds. An absolute monster, caught in one of the most idyllic pieces of wilderness found in Ontario.

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