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Ottawa River Muskie

Colin McKeown catches a beautiful muskie on the Ottawa River. • Credit: The New Fly Fisher
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Ottawa River Muskie

Fly Fishing Tips to Catch These Predators

The Ottawa river is historically famous as it was one of the routes early explorers used to gain access to much of Canada. This river is also famous for producing massive muskie. The river is rich with food -- perch, shad, mooneye and much other forage abound. One of the most common sources of food for the giant muskie is carp! So, anglers must use big lures or flies to attract these predators.

One of the best guides I know of for fishing the Ottawa river is John Anderson. He has been guiding on this river for over 20 years and has boated hundreds of 50-inch plus fish. Recently, John has added fly fishing as one of the means of catching them. You need 10-weight rods with fast action to cast big flies and also fight these leviathans in quickly. I like to use floating lines with 6-foot leaders made of 80-pound mono tied to a 60-pound bite wire tippet.

Also, bring a full sinking line in Type 4 or 5 to get streamers down deeper in the water column. When muskie are in a negative mood, you need to put your fly in their face to get them interested. Expect lots of follows to the boat, these fish can be sullen at times.

My favourite streamers are big deceivers (8 - 10 inches) or half & half flies (combination of 50% Clouser and 50% Deceiver). Good colours are white, black and green. Colour combinations that resemble small walleye, shad or perch work exceptionally well. The muskie can also be often taken with topwater flies as they eat many muskrats, ducks and other surface species. So, use topwater flies from saltwater like big poppers in black.

The takes are explosive and will really make you jump! I strongly recommend you contact John at The Musky Factory for your next fix of the ultimate freshwater predator.

Find out more about The Musky Factory, visit ottawarivermuskyfactory.com

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