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The beautiful drive to Ritchie Falls Resort is simply breathtaking, with a scenic four-hour drive north of the US-Canada border crossing at Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan into the Algoma Region of Ontario. Because the resort is laid out in such an isolated setting, it’s as close to a fly-in destination as I’ve experienced by vehicle.
The resort was first established in the 1950s as an outpost camp for local travellers visiting the area. It then became a logging operation in conjunction with the provincial government. Ritchie Falls Resort later expanded into a hunting and fishing camp. Today, it’s a fully accommodating resort offering hunting opportunities including bear, moose, and small game, as well as fishing packages from the individual to the family.
Since taking over the resort in 2012, Matthew Owl and his staff have added three beautiful new modern cabins to the two existing remodeled cabins, as well as a comfortable A-Frame style cabin. All include full kitchens, bathrooms, and living rooms for all your comforts.
Ritchie Falls Resort’s new 3,000-square-foot main lodge was constructed in 2016, and they certainly built it right! It consists of a beautiful dining area where the amazing home-cooked meals are served with first-rate hospitality! Each day consists of a full breakfast, big lunch, and five-star dinner with full salad bar. It’s a perfect place for guests to gather to relax, share some hunting and fishing stories, or maybe watch a little TV before heading back out to the bear stand or hit the water for more action-packed fishing. It has all the amenities of home, but with a whole lot more.
During this fall trip, I was able to double up on a woods and water experience targeting both big black bear and the huge smallmouth bass and lake trout that Ritchie Falls Resort has to offer. When you can go out for a day waiting to connect on an adrenaline-filled bear hunt in a stand or blind, along with catching so many hard-fighting smallmouth bass your arms are screaming. Can it get any better? Let me answer that… NOPE!!
The smallmouth bass seemed to be by every shallow bolder or mid-lake point and rock spine coming out into the lake. It is truly one of the best bass lakes I’ve fished, with numbers of 2- to 6-pound sizes being in play. They pretty much hit everything from topwater baits to a VMC Moon Eye jig and paddles or tubes and hair jigs. If you want a change of pace, then the deep-water lake trout giants are just what you’re looking for. If it’s action on the water you want, Ritchie Falls Resort will accommodate.
On arrival to the resort, Matthew and his staff make you feel right at home in the beautiful main lodge where they greet you with a tasty home-cooked meal, followed by showing you the great active bear locations they have planned for your week’s hunt. The sites we reviewed all had been getting hit by multiple big bear all week, but we did have a big natural obstacle to deal with during our hunt… BLUEBERRIES! Berries are a natural food source for bear in Ontario, and they will pretty much leave all other food options if they can get their mouths on that sweet natural sugar. During this trip last fall, the Algoma region just happened to have the largest crop of blueberries Ontario had experienced in the last 25 years.
In addition to that, the unseasonably warm fall weather decided to show up. We knew we had our work cut out for us. What we had in our favor was a great population of big adult bear, along with numerous bear sites and a knowledgeable Ritchie Falls Resort staff. They run approximately 200 bait sites per year across 1,444 square km, with roughly 40 of those sites rotated each week, allowing for plenty of opportunity to connect on a trophy bear.
It just seemed like we were one step behind these smart bears. Matthew pulled out all the stops—changing up his bait offerings, keeping an eye on all his bear sites through his trail cameras, and moving us to different bear site locations to give us the best opportunity to close the deal. Each evening he would sit down with each hunter in camp individually and game plan the next day’s options. This paid off for a couple of the hunters in camp during our stay as they connected on some amazing trophy black bear. However, for me, it was bear tag soup. It wasn’t from a lack of bear or effort from myself and the Ritchie Falls Resort guides. As any hunter knows, it’s still hunting. It’s all about the chase, the experience, and being in the atmosphere of the outdoors. It’s what drives us to get back out there and keep learning to make ourselves better at what we love to do! Will I go back to Ritchie Falls Resort? There is no question…YES, as soon as possible!!
If hunting big black bear is your passion, like it is mine, and you’re looking for a trophy bear with incredible smallmouth and lake trout fishing all wrapped together in a piece of heaven, Ritchie Falls Resort provides amazing fishing and hunting packages all while experiencing Northern Ontario’s beauty that is sure to never be forgotten.