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Catching Big Fish in Northwestern Ontario!

Catching walleye on Cliff Lake, Ontario, Canada • Credit: Ashley Rae
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Catching Big Fish in Northwestern Ontario!

Sunset Country in Ontario is incredible!

Cliff Lake is one of 70,000 freshwater lakes in Ontario's Sunset Country and offers excellent fishing, great accommodations, and scenic vistas.

A Fishing Adventure in Sunset Country

Over the summer I embarked on a two-week road trip to visit two fishing lodges in Northwestern Ontario’s Sunset Country region. This part of the province is renowned for the wide variety of fishing opportunities available within its 70,000+ lakes, rivers, and streams. I was joined by my good friend and fishing pal, Pam Stewart, for this adventure. During this portion of our trip, we visited Cliff Lake Resorts which is located between the communities of Perrault Falls and Vermilion Bay, about an hour-and-a-half northeast of Kenora

Cliff Lake Resort, Ontario, Canada

Cliff Lake Resorts

The main camp at Cliff Lake Resorts is located just minutes off Highway 105 in Lost Bay, on the eastern arm of Cliff Lake. There are 10 cozy housekeeping cabins here, which are all equipped with full kitchens and bathrooms. Each has its own porch with beautiful views of Lost Bay, and the docks are just a few steps away. Cliff Lake is deep with clear waters and is just under 6,000 acres in size. The scenery here is breathtaking with rock cliffs and an unspoiled shoreline stretching over 200 miles.

These waters hold a variety of fish species, including walleye, musky, lake trout, northern pike, smallmouth bass, whitefish, yellow perch, and more. In addition to the 10 cabins at Lost Bay, Cliff Lake Resorts also has 5 additional cabins located in Musky Bay in the southeastern corner of the lake. They also have an Outpost Camp near the main lake with 8 off-grid solar-powered cabins. Cliff Lake Resorts is the only outfitter on Cliff Lake. Husband-and-wife team, Sara and Tyler Trampe manage the resort and have been doing so for the past 9 years. Their operating season runs from May to October. In addition to the fishing opportunities here, they also welcome moose and bear hunters.

Women-only fishing in Ontario

Pam and I booked in at the Lost Bay location and loved our cozy cabin! Boat rental packages are offered here and we opted in for an upgraded package. This included a 16-foot Crestliner tiller powered by a 40-horsepower Yamaha four-stroke. Our boat was equipped with a bow mount electric trolling motor and a fish finder. It was perfect for exploring the lake and targeting various fish species. Pam and I did some exploring on our own in the rental boat in pursuit of lake trout and musky but also had a chance to fish with Sara and Tyler as well aboard their boat.

walleye fishing in Northwestern Ontario at Lost Bay Resort

My big fishing road trip up north all stemmed from an invitation from Sara to get out on the water together. Sara and I had initially connected through social media a few years ago but hadn’t yet met in person until this trip. The power of social media has been truly wonderful in connecting me with like-minded women from near and far who love to fish as much as I do. In fact, I initially met both Pam and Sara through Instagram, so it was quite neat how this whole experience unfolded.

walleye fishing in Sunset Country

As mentioned, there are many fish species to chase on Cliff Lake but we spent the majority of our time here focusing on walleye. Sara and Tyler showed Pam and I the ropes of fishing a slip bobber technique using live leeches rigged on a small Northland tungsten jighead. If you haven’t tried this technique before, it’s such a fun way to catch ‘em!

We focused on offshore humps and would key in on the areas holding walleye using electronics. Sara positioned the boat so we could get right over the top of the fish. We’d drop down our presentations adjusting the depth using a bobber stop so the leeches hovered just off the bottom. Sometimes the walleye would charge a couple of feet off the bottom for it or hit it on the drop. Other times we had to lower the leech right in front of their noses to get bites. The nice thing about the slip bobber is being able to adjust the leech depth on the fly. We also learned the key is to wait a few seconds once the bobber drops before setting the hook. Then it’s game on and it’s such a fun fight, too!

women fishing in Ontario

I lost count of how many fish we landed and we got to see some quality fish here, too! Sara and Tyler are very conservation-minded and have a camp rule that larger walleye (over 19”) must be released in order to help sustain this healthy fishery for years to come. Thank you to Sara and Tyler for hosting us, and to Pam for joining me for such a memorable road trip. These are memories that will truly last a lifetime!

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