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French River Muskie

Colin McKeown shows off a large muskie caught on Ontario's French River. • Credit: Colin McKeown
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French River Muskie

Totem Point Lodge also offers great fly fishing for walleye and bass



The French River in Northeastern Ontario has held a special magic for musky anglers for many years. Filled with a great structure such as weedy bays, inlets, sunken humps and dropoffs -- all perfect muskie waters. This large watershed that runs between Lake Nipissing and Georgian Bay is also known for its trophy-sized walleye and bass.

We recently had the pleasure of going to Totem Point Lodge and spending several days with guide Andy Pappas hunting for muskie. Andy runs Vicious Fishes Guide Service and has his guests stay at Totem Point Lodge.

For fly fishers, this is a fishing mecca

When casting for muskie with large streamers and topwater flies, it is not uncommon to catch large bass -- often over 5 - 6 pounds. When fly fishing for muskie, the key is to use fairly large flies. Muskie eat fairly big prey so our flies have to resemble their food sources.

This is where we can learn a lot from saltwater anglers. They use large flies that utilize materials that shed water, thus making them easier to cast all day. Walleye, smelt and perch patterns all work very well in terms of streamers. They should be a minimum of seven inches in length.

Andy had us casting into shallow back bays that hold warm water -- these are often hotspots of muskie as they like the warmer temperatures and the abundance of panfish that inhabit these areas. He also had us cast around the deepwater edges of weed beds where muskie will often lay in ambush. Other good structures included dropoffs adjacent to deepwater, saddles between islands, points running into deepwater, submerged humps and shoals.

In the early morning and towards dusk, topwater flies can be exceptionally effective. The strikes are explosive and dramatic. Muskie are well-known for feeding on small muskrats and ducklings...It's important to note that French River muskie are big, really big.

The average fish is 45 inches long with lots of 50-inch plus specimens to be caught. These are true leviathans of freshwater -- which is why so many anglers come to the French River in search of musky. To book a trip or learn more, we recommend you contact the following:

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