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Merkel’s Camp

• Credit: The New Fly Fisher
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Merkel’s Camp

This drive-to lodge in Northwestern Ontario offers excellent fly fishing

For anglers looking for a great drive-to location that has excellent fishing, comfortable accommodations, and great pricing, we recommend Merkel’s Camp located in Northwestern Ontario. Their camp is just off the TransCanada Highway, centrally located on the Wabigoon/Dinorwic chain of lakes. These lakes are considered by many as some of the top fishing lakes in northern Ontario for the anglers who are searching for giant walleye, pike, smallmouth bass, and musky.

The reason why the fishing is excellent and ideal for fly fishers is that most of the system is shallow and possesses nutrient-rich waters, which support large quantities of baitfish, perch, and crappie. Perfect for growing large predatory species. The New Fly Fisher visited Merkel’s Camp in June looking to capitalize on shallow water pike and possibly some smallmouth bass.

The lake system is easy to navigate and virtually every point, rocky structure, or fallen tree held a fish. We noticed there is an abundance of fallen trees in small bays throughout the watershed, which is perfect for large pike and musky.

angler holding northern pike

Using both 9- and 10-weight fly rods, we cast medium-sized streamers such as bunny leeches in black or brown, Murdich Minnows in perch patterns, and Deceivers searching for marauding pike. A WF floating flyline is all you usually need, although sometimes a sink-tip would help get your fly down in the water column for short accurate casts to structure. The fish here are large and strike with lightning speed so you need a robust leader system to avoid break-offs. We used 50-pound heavy mono in a 6-foot length linked to a 2-foot length of 40-pound bite wire. You want to use open-loop knots to tie your fly to the bite wire to ensure good underwater action. Bring long-nose pliers to help you remove hooks easily.

bunny leech natural gray

Bunny Leech - Natural Grey.
517 deceiver fly

#517 Deceiver.

The smallmouth bass fishing can be quite excellent here and usually, you can use topwater poppers to enjoy some really explosive fly fishing fun. Since the water is fairly stained, we found using dark colours and black was the best idea for both poppers and sub-surface flies. Poppers in black, dark green, or olive worked well. For streamers, we liked black woolly buggers and cone headed bow river buggers. Usually, we used six-weight rods matched to either WF floating lines or Intermediate lines.

angler holding ontario smallmouth bass

Most anglers bring their own boats, but Terry Kluke can rent you one of his many boats, which are perfectly set up for anglers. The cabins here are clean, comfortable, and ideal for small groups of anglers or families. As a DIY camp, people bring their own food and fishing gear. However, you can also go to Dryden if you need extra supplies.


We strongly recommend you contact Terry or Merrill and discuss your next trip to Northern Ontario. With their excellent access, affordable accommodations, and outstanding fishing, they are perfect for anglers looking for a quality fishing trip!

For More Information

Website: www.merkelscamp.com
Phone: 1-888-521-3872

(All photo credits: The New Fly Fisher)

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