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Making Memories in Northern Ontario

I am not sure whose smile is bigger mine or 11 year old grandson Liam. • Credit: Gord Pyzer
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Making Memories in Northern Ontario

Canadian anglers can fish licence free in Ontario during National Fishing Week

Editor's Note: This article was first published in July 2014. National Fishing Week takes place approximately 4 times per year in Ontario and is a great way to introduce those young and old to fishing!

It is National Fishing Week when Canadian anglers can fish licence-free throughout Ontario and participate in hundreds of community events celebrating the fact that we live in the greatest country on earth, with the most unbelievable fishing opportunities.

As a matter of fact, I just did the math and if you fished a different lake every day of the year, you'd have to live to be 1095 years old to sample the over 400,000 lakes that Ontario has to offer. And that is giving you only a single day on magnificent inland seas like Simcoe, Nipissing, Temagami, Abitibi, Huron, Esnagami, Superior, Nipigon, Eagle, Rainy and Lake of the Woods where you could spend a lifetime.

Spend one day or more, this National Fishing Week introducing someone to the sport of fishing and you will create memories that will last a lifetime. (Photo credit: Gord Pyzer)

It is hard to fathom but Ontario offers the angler 2/5ths of all the fresh water on Earth and the finest opportunities for all of the top freshwater species.

Indeed, naming a type of fish and the list of potential world-class opportunities is mind-boggling. Take walleye, the most popular game fish in Ontario as a good case in point.

Where to Fish Walleye

Lake Erie, Lake St. Clair, the Bay of Quinte and Georgian Bay in the southern and central portions of the province offers big blue water walleye populations numbering in the tens of millions of fish. And you can avail yourself of hundreds of charter boat opportunities where the guides supply everything you need to have a phenomenal day catching fish on the water.

You simply show up at the marina or boat ramp in the morning, hop into an opulent cruiser that would make the Queen blush and fish with the most technologically advanced equipment. Even if you've never held a fishing rod or caught a fish, your captain will ensure you're boating walleye after walleye all day long. And at the end of the day, the crew will carefully prepare the fish so you can take them home and host your family and friends to the most scrumptious seafood banquet they've ever enjoyed.

And get this: the price for the day-long outing is the same -- or less -- than tickets to a sporting event or evening theatre. And dare I say -- after catching fish all day long while being pampered by a professional guide -- a whole lot more exciting.

Of course, this is only the beginning.

Northern Ontario Fishing Trip Ideas

Check out the plethora of drive-to tourist establishments across Northern Ontario -- your choice, by the way, is greater than anywhere else on the continent -- and you can tailor your meals and accommodations to match your budget and expectations.

Again, a case in point: check out what a five-star resort like the gorgeous Chaudiere Lodge, situated on the famous French River, just a few hours north of Toronto has to offer. Gourmet meals, spectacular scenery, plush accommodations, clean fresh water and fantastic fishing for less than what you'd pay for a stuffy hotel room in the city.

You’ll learn more in one day this National Fishing Week with a professional guide like Jon Bondy, shown here with a gorgeous Lake St. Clair muskie than you will fishing on your own in a year. (Photo credit: Gord Pyzer)

You can bring your own boat if you're so inclined, rent one from the resort as part of the package, or better yet, hire one of the guides at the lodge who will do all the work for you, while you lay back and catch the fish.

And by the way, your guide will teach you more in one day about how to catch fish that you can put to good use later on your own -- as well as the local flora and fauna - than you'll learn in a year trying to do it yourself.

National Fishing Week is all about creating everlasting memories with family and friends. (Photo credit: Gord Pyzer)

Just be sure to stop at noon for a shore lunch -- a Northern Ontario fishing tradition-- but remember, save room for the feast you're going to enjoy back at the lodge in the evening. Afterwards, you'll want to retreat to a large crackling wood fire, enjoy a cool beverage and sing songs while you gaze at the northern lights.

And it doesn't stop there either.

If you want to rough it in velvet, consider flying in a floatplane to a spectacular resort or outpost camp in the heart of Northern Ontario's picture-postcard wilderness. When I think of the many Northern Ontario fly-in adventures that I have enjoyed over the years, I quickly call to mind catching my biggest northern pike at Kesagami Lake Lodge, and while casting for muskies at Nielsen's Lodge on Rowan Lake, I laid eyes on a toothy critter more gigantic than I could ever have imagined.

I was fishing, at the time, with host and muskie guru Don Pursch and the mammoth muskie followed behind my lure so closely I could have stretched out my hand and touched her back as she swam by the side of the boat.

I immediately went into a "figure-eight" attempting to hook the monster, and that's when I saw her open her massive mouth, flare her crimson red gills and clamp down on my lure. Imagine the kick in the teeth, however, when I set the hooks and watched the back tine of my treble hook bend under the weight of her massive jaw and pop free.

I’ll never forget catching this mammoth pike, my biggest ever, while fishing at Kesagami Lake Lodge in the Hudson Bay Lowlands. Give yourself a “gift” this National Fishing Week and book a trip to one of the spectacular lodges spread across Northern Ontario. You won’t regret it. (Photo credit: Gord Pyzer)

It is the stuff of everlasting memories and you can make them for yourself, right across Northern Ontario this National Fishing Week.

Don't let the opportunity pass!

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