Most of Ontario sits on a giant bed of granite called the Canadian Shield. Rocks, rocks, and more rocks. Fish like rock. Big walleye love rock. Rocks warm the water quicker and attract baitfish, hence the presence of big predator game fish that hang around rocks as though drawn to a magnet. The Temagami district of Northeastern Ontario is part of the Canadian Shield.
The Canadian Shield is included among the very oldest rock formations on planet Earth. It has shaped the destiny of our province—it's responsible for our gorgeous, resource-laden landscape of rocks, trees, and lakes. And, let us not forget, these same rock formations that shape or province and lakes are excellent locations to fish for walleye.
We were fortunate to visit a location with all of the above-mentioned Canadian Shield rock formations near the town of Temagami, just off Highway 11 north of Marten River. This road trip had a stop at Lake Herridge Lodge and Resort, a four-season resort that specializes in remote lake fishing adventures to pristine lakes with very little angling pressure.
These fishing experiences are second to none, and I was excited to once again partake in another angling adventure to lakes I had never fished or even seen before in my life. Our August arrival was met with scalding hot temperatures in the high 90s, with very little wind and clear blue skies—absolute perfect conditions if you’re targeting smallmouth bass, but our trip was based on fishing for walleye.
Yes, the so-called light shy walleye on northern Ontario. At first, I thought we we’re doomed. I didn’t bring any bass fishing gear, and my sole intention was to fish for walleye, regardless of the outcome.
But, upon meeting our gracious hosts, Brad Ferguson and Nathalie St. Amour—a young couple who most recently purchased Lake Herridge Lodge and Resort—they assured us that the lakes they offer their customers are full of walleye and they do indeed bite all day, regardless of the weather; we just needed to put in some time and effort locating the bigger walleye on these Canadian Shield remote lakes. Talk about confidence, I was impressed.
The resort is on Highway 11 North, about 100 km (60 miles) north of the city of North Bay, and about 12 km (7 miles) south of the town of Temagami. They have 10 comfortable, clean, fully equipped cottages. Each cottage is equipped with kitchen area, fridge, stove, toaster, microwave, coffee maker, cutlery, dishes, pots & pans, utensils, kitchen towels, dining area, bedrooms, bed linens and pillows, bathroom, toilet, sink, shower, propane barbecue, picnic table, and screened porch or sundeck. (Guests need to bring their own bath towels and beach towels.)
Some cottages have propane or wood-burning fireplaces. Many cottages are recently renovated or newly built. All cottages are protected by Good Ridd-ants Pest Control. These cottages are set up to be “family and wife-friendly,” meaning they are as clean as your own home, and the overall layout and comfortable surroundings impressed us.
These new owners really do care for their guests, and take them on fully guided trips on the first day to help them get started locating and catching fish.
Talk about customer service. Navigating the lakes, walking through the short portages to each lake, and getting familiar with their equipment, as well as offering you a shore lunch with your morning’s catch, is all part of the deal at Lake Herridge Lodge and resort. These folks sure know how to start a vacation.
Our adventure started from the lodge dock where we loaded up our gear into one of the aluminum boats and headed up the short drive on Lake Herridge. We went through a short narrows which was very well marked with directions to the next lake. A short portage brought us to another docking system these owners have built to harbour a fleet of similar aluminum boats with outboard motors and all the equipment you require to just load up, start up the outboard, and go fishing. Impressed once again, and we hadn’t even started fishing yet.
We slow trolled bladed bead worm harnesses in water depths between 8 and 12 feet of water and began catching eating-size walleyes in the 14-inch class with ease. Venturing further onto this remote lake, that had no cottages or road access, we were met by a variety of prime walleye-holding natural elements including island points, rock shoals, and rocky reefs that screamed “walleye live here!”
We decided to slow troll the edges of one of the rocky reefs, and on the very first pass we connected with a beautiful Ontario walleye in the 20-inch class which was carefully netted and released to live another day. Subsequent passes along this same rocky reef produced five more awesome walleyes, ranging from 17 to 20-plus inches, all of which were released to reproduce.
Our gracious hosts were absolutely correct: even with the high bright sunny conditions with absolutely no wind whatsoever, we continually caught our share of big beautiful walleyes in the 16- to 23-inch class until the late afternoon when our own dinner bells begun to ring.
Practicing catch and release on these pristine remote lakes ensures a future fishery for generations to come. This lodge even offers a strictly catch and release lake with smallmouth bass in the 6-pound class, walleye in the 7-pound range and big northern pike.
That’s for next time.
Tel: (705) 569-3718 or 1-800-838-0891