Anglers Take Road Trips too

Fishing on the Marten River.

Last summer, Ashley Rae toured four prime fishing destinations in Northeastern Ontario.

Early start, can't sleep—it must be a fishing road trip.



There’s nothing quite as exciting as the anticipation of a fishing road trip. It’s especially fun when travelling somewhere new, where no memories have been created and no habits have been formed. This means the slate is clean for cracking the code on the fish and the scenery is all brand new.

I love travelling throughout the breath-taking region of Northeastern Ontario, as there is so much to be discovered and some truly fantastic fishing opportunities. I’ve visited the region in the past and was thrilled to be back to explore some new areas this time around. This 8-day road trip included four stops: Bear’s Den Lodge on the French River, Sportsman’s Lodge Wilderness Resort on Kukagami Lake, Beaverland Camp on the Marten River, and Camp Conewango on Lake Talon.

The tour began from my home in the Ottawa area when my fishing partner, Eric, and I departed for Bear’s Den Lodge at around 2 a.m. on a Friday. The lodge is located near Alban, on the lower French River. It’s hard enough to sleep before an exciting trip but with a 2 a.m. departure time, we ended up skipping sleep entirely.

Lodge #1: Bucktail Spinners & Musky at Bear’s Den Lodge

Upon arriving at the shores of the river at Hartley Bay Marina in the late morning, we both caught our second wind. We boated over to Bear’s Den Lodge, where we met the owners, Brenda and Art, and their son Joe. They are a wonderful family and will certainly make you feel at home. We enjoyed a nice lunch, chatted fishing, and then got out on the water.

We focussed on musky at first, with three follows to the boat in a short time. Moments later Eric hooked up with a nice musky on a bucktail spinner. That was a great way to kick off the trip! Our evening on the water was shortened due to a storm rolling in, but we were thrilled at the musky activity we experienced and were anxious for our upcoming full day on the water.

The French River is home to a wide variety of species and we spent the next day exploring and targeting multispecies. We did not see any more musky that day, but we were thrilled to get into some northern pike, largemouth, and smallmouth bass. It was a successful and memorable first stop at Bear’s Den and after a nice breakfast on Sunday morning, it was time to travel to our next destination.

Lodge #2: Hot Bass Bite at Sportsman’s Lodge Wilderness Resort

Sportsman’s Lodge Wilderness Resort is located northeast of Sudbury, in Wahnapitae. We arrived late morning and met George, the owner of this beautiful resort. After unpacking our belongings we quickly launched our boat just down the road from the resort and set out in search of smallmouth. The first fish of the day surely set the tone of this portion of the trip.

I pulled up to an island, fired out a drop shot and had a smallmouth on straight away. We caught loads of smallmouth here and had a blast exploring this beautiful lake. The lake also holds lake trout and walleye, but we found such a hot bass pattern that we stuck to it.

We spent a day and a half on the water, despite some thunder and lightning that shortened our last evening, and had a riot here. It’s also worth mentioning that George and his family kept us well-fed with delicious food served in the dining room. On Tuesday morning we had a yummy breakfast, then loaded up the boat and made our way to our third stop.

Lodge #3: Bright Spinnerbaits at Beaverland Camp

Beaverland Camp is located in Marten River, just north of North Bay. This river system is very unique, providing a gateway to explore several connected lakes offering a variety of fish species.

Lovely owners Lori and Mike welcomed us upon our arrival, showed us to our cottage, and were so wonderful to us. Mike even offered to give us a quick tour of the river, so we hopped in his boat and took a drive.

We had a lot of fun here and got into a ton of nice smallmouth casting Ned Rigs at sloping rocky shorelines. Bright spinnerbaits also worked well in this tanic-coloured water. It’s hard to believe how fast time flies when you’re having fun and soon it was already Thursday and time to head to our final destination of the trip.

Lodge #4: Landing the Big One on Lake Talon

Camp Conewango is located in Redbridge on Lake Talon, east of North Bay. Hosts Wendy and Chris purchased the camp in spring 2016 and have done an amazing job already. It truly is a piece of heaven.

We settled into our lovely waterfront cottage and were excited to get out and explore Lake Talon. The lake holds a variety of species including musky, lake trout, walleye, bass, and pike. Thanks to Wendy and Chris, we had a chance to share a meal with some seasonal campers and hear all about the amazing fishing (with photos to prove it). We had so much fun!

Despite the rain we encountered while there, it did not slow the fishing down one bit and we got into some nice smallmouth, largemouth and pike. It seems a trip to Northeastern Ontario wouldn’t be complete without landing the big one, and Eric certainly did! Eric caught a big beautiful largemouth on our last day. It couldn’t have been a more perfect end to such a memorable trip. We can’t wait until our next trip to Northeastern Ontario!

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