Across Ontario, there are literally thousands of lakes and rivers teaming with walleye, pike, trout, and more. An avid angler can spend a lifetime trying to fish all these bodies of water and never come close to experiencing even a fraction of the world-class fishing destinations Ontario has to offer.
I know this first-hand because I’ve spent the better part of my fishing career traveling to every corner of Ontario. While my travels have taken me north, south, east, and west in Ontario, to say I’ve seen it all would be an understatement. What I have experienced ranks as some of the best fishing in North America.
Owned and operated by Chad Thompson, Pasha Lake Cabins is the gateway to hundreds of walleye lakes an angler can access by pickup truck, ATV, or UTV. Chad Thompson calls his brand of walleye fishing “adventure fishing” because just getting to the lake can be an adventure worth bragging about.
Pasha Lake Cabins stashes small boats and outboards at a number of lakes only accessible by off-road vehicles. The caliber of fishing available at these remote lakes is similar to what an angler would experience on a fly-in fishing trip, but the cost is much less.
Pasha Lake Cabins is also the gateway to Lake Nipigon, one of Ontario’s largest lakes. While many anglers consider Nipigon to be a brook trout and lake trout mecca, the truth is, Lake Nipigon is also one of the best walleye and northern pike lakes in North America.
Anglers targeting walleye or pike on Lake Nipigon will need to come prepared with a boat capable of navigating this massive body of water. Multi-species boats in the 17- to 21-foot class are ideal for fishing walleye on Nipigon.
Located just east of Wawa, Ontario, the newly remodeled Whitefish Lodge is located on Whitefish Lake and Michipicoten Drainage Basin. Walleye fishermen who base out of Whitefish Lodge have access to dozens of nearby lakes chuck full of walleye. A 14- to 16-foot boat is ideal for accessing many of these smaller lakes, or an angler can come with a somewhat larger boat and target walleye on the larger lakes in the region.
Whitefish Lodge also offers outpost camps accessible only by boat, as well as a fly-in camp located on Loon Lake for anglers who are looking for the ultimate wilderness fishing experience.
If steelhead or salmon trips your trigger, the Michipicoten River in Wawa harbors both a fall run of chinook salmon and a winter and spring fishery for steelhead that live the rest of the year in Lake Superior. Also, nearby, anglers can target trophy brook trout on the Magpie River ,making Whitefish Lodge an unforgettable destination in central Ontario.
A few years ago, I flew into the Pym Island Camp, located on the Attawapiskat River. The goal was to target trophy pike, but we soon realized that the Attawapiskat River is also crawling with quality walleye. Pitching jigs tipped with soft plastics and slow trolling wobbling plugs produced walleye until my arms were sore. Even better, much of the best fishing was found only a couple minutes from camp.
The boats at the Pym Island Camp are large cedar strip construction freighter canoes equipped with 20 HP outboards. Not only are these hand-made boats works of art, they are spacious, stable and a dream to fish from.
Bruiser Northern Pike are also plentiful on the Attawapiskat River. We had our best action casting weedless spoons, tipped with a white twister tail and greased up with a liberal amount of Pro Cure Super Gel. The Attawapiskat is full of islands and back bays that break up the current and allow aquatic plants to flourish. Anywhere you find cattails, lily pads, pencil reeds, or submerged vegetation in close proximity to flowing water, you have a pike fishing hot spot!
Located more than an hour’s flight by float plane north of Nakina, Ontario, Kag Lake Lodge is located on Kagianagami Lake, one of Northern Ontario’s most productive walleye and pike fishing lakes. What makes Kag Lake so special is that the year-round fishing action is exceptional. In the spring of the year countless walleye can be found stacked in front of streams that pour into Kag Lake. Casting jigs tipped with soft plastic grubs, live minnows or a two-inch piece of nightcrawler will literally produce a fish on almost every cast.
Big pike are also caught at these river mouths where they feed on suckers and walleye. Large jerk baits are amount the most productive baits for targeting trophy northern pike.
Later in the year, walleye move offshore and spend July, August, and September hanging out on mid-lake bottom structure. On calm days, slow drifting over these submerged reefs while jigging is deadly effective. When the wind picks up, using a sea anchor to control drifting speed and switching to a slip sinker rig, baited with a Spin n Glo attractor and a nightcrawler is lights out for walleye. Anglers will also find that drifting or slow trolling using bottom bouncer weights equipped with nightcrawler harnesses produces consistent catches of walleye.
Located on Esnagi Lake, Lodge 88 is one of the most luxurious fishing camps in North America. Not only will anglers find the lodging and food service world class, the lake is breathtaking, and the fishing is equally impressive.
Accessible by rail from White River, Ontario or by float plane via White River Air, Lodge 88 is the perfect place to take a partner who enjoys a little fishing and all the conveniences of home! Modern log cabins are pristine and feature full housekeeping amities. The lodge is iconic, and the meals would do justice to a five-star restaurant.
Esnagi is considered by the Ministry of Natural Resources to be one of Ontario’s most productive walleye lakes. In the spring of the year, fishing a simple jig tipped with a minnow will produce walleye until your arms are sore. The guides on Esnagi pride themselves on not only being skillful at putting their customers on fish, but also creating the iconic shore lunch.
In the summer months, walleye move into deeper water and concentrate into even larger schools! Jigging, drifting with slip sinker rigs, and using bottom bouncers baited with nightcrawler harnesses are all great ways to catch more walleye than you can count.
SUMMING IT UP
The Ontario fishing destinations listed here are just the tip of the iceberg. You can find countless other places all across Ontario that will make your fishing dreams come true.