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Specks on the Nipigon River

Trophy brook trout like this are amazingly common among anglers who fish Lake Nipigon in the month of June. • Credit: Mark Romanack
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Specks on the Nipigon River

World Record Brook Trout Caught Here in 1915

The Nipigon River holds the current world record brook trout


The current world record brook trout was caught by Dr. W.J. Cook on the Nipigon River in July of 1915. The fish which wasn't weighed until 21 days after it was caught tipped the scales at 14.5 pounds! This Nipigon River record has become the longest standing world record in sport fishing history!

We can only imagine what Dr. Cook's brook trout weighed when it was caught. Members of the char family, brook trout are one of the most sought after species in the Northwest Ontario region and the Nipigon River and nearby Lake Nipigon remain as two of the best places to not only catch numbers of brook trout but also trophy class fish.


Back when Dr. Cook caught the world record, the Nipigon River was free running the entire 30 miles from Lake Nipigon to Lake Superior. These days a series of three hydroelectric dams create impoundments that offer fishing for not only brook trout, but other native species like whitefish and lake trout.

Some of the best brook trout fishing occurs directly below the spillways on the respective Ontario Power Generation dam sites. The current is exceptionally fast in these areas and anglers need to use extreme caution when navigating boats near the spillway.

Drifting downstream with the current using a simple split shot and minnow or split shot and nightcrawler rig are some of the best ways to catch Nipigon River brook trout. The larger fish tend to hold in eddies and deeper pools just off the main current flow.

June and July are the two most productive months for fishing brook trout on the Nipigon River. In late August and early September when the weather cools another spurt of productive brook trout fishing can be enjoyed on the Nipigon River.

In late summer the brook trout are found in the main lakes created by the OPG dams. Main lake points that taper into deep water are good places to search for brook trout. Casting small crankbaits, jigs and in-line spinners are the best way to target late summer brook trout. 

Trout fishing legend, Buzz Ramsey of Yakima Bait visited Lake Nipigon recently with the author while filming a TV episode for Fishing 411. Trout fishing legend, Buzz Ramsey of Yakima Bait visited Lake Nipigon recently with the author while filming a TV episode for Fishing 411.


Lake Nipigon is the largest inland lake in Ontario and one of the largest freshwater lakes in the world. At 1,872 square miles of water, Lake Nipigon can be an intimidating body of water to fish.

Thankfully the many brook trout that inhabit Lake Nipigon are structure loving creatures that spend most of their time along the lake's more than 600 miles of shoreline. The many islands that dot the lake are also popular places for anglers to target brook trout.

Some of the best fishing occurs right after ice out in the spring when brook trout cruise the shallow rocky shorelines in search of food. The most productive places are shorelines with lots of rocky points, submerged boulders and other cover that brook trout can use to ambush minnows.

Good shallow water fishing for brook trout extends throughout the month of June and into early July. Casting small spoons like the Little Cleo by Acme and in-line spinners like the Yakima Rooster Tail are among the most popular techniques for targeting brook trout from ice out through June.

A boat equipped with a bow-mounted electric motor is the best way to cruise along the shoreline while casting in front of the boat. The key to catching brook trout on Lake Nipigon is to cover lots of water and make hundreds of casts per day.

During the heat of the summer, brook trout leave the shorelines in search of deeper and cooler waters. Anglers who troll diving crankbaits along with the 20 to 40-foot depths can catch brook trout throughout July and August on Lake Nipigon.

The average brook trout caught on Lake Nipigon is about 20 inches long and weighs in at between two and three pounds! A forage base of rainbow smelt helps the brook trout in Lake Nipigon grow fast and to impressive sizes. Fish upwards of six pounds are amazingly common. Brook trout here must be 22 inches to keep and the limit is only one fish per angler.

Nipigon is Northeast of Thunder Bay and is located in the MNR Zone 6Nipigon is Northeast of Thunder Bay and is located in the MNR Zone 6

Also, special barbless and single hook regulations enacted by the Ministry of Natural Resources help to ensure that the bounty of Lake Nipigon will continue for generations to come. A treble hook is considered one hook under these Ministry regulations. Lures like crankbaits that have multiple treble hooks need to be modified to feature only one treble hook per lure.

The F-7 Flatfish by Worden's is a wide wobbling crankbait that is factory equipped with either a single hook or single treble hook, making it one of the more popular baits for summer brook trout trolling.

For more information about the Nipigon region and the world-class brook trout fishing found here, visit www.ontariotroutfishing.ca and the Superior Country website. 

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