Canada offers nearly limitless fishing opportunities for a wide range of exciting and challenging gamefish. But with so many lakes and lodges from which to choose, where do you start?
One good way is to attend an All-Canada Show, (www.allcanada.com) a series of sportshows dedicated to introducing Canadian fishing lodges, and lodge owners and operators, to the angling public. The online research that you do on your own will also yield much valuable information. But just to get you started, here are a few Canadian fishing destinations the NAFC staff has visited over the years. One of them might be just what you’re looking for.
English River & Delaney Lake, Ontario
The English River is one of Ontario’s most popular fishing destinations because it typically provides solid, steady action for the prized walleyes, and is fairly easy to reach. When anglers tire of catching ’eyes, numbers of northern pike and smallmouth bass are available as well. There are a handful of drive-to lodges on the river, but Delaney Lake Lodge (www.delaneylakelodge.com) offers fly-in service. It’s the only outfit on the lake, which offers pike, smallies and lakers, and access to the English River. Four-day package: $1,600/person.
Tobin Lake, Saskatchewan
Saskatchewan’s Tobin Lake ranks as one of the top fishing spots in North America. The Lake has produced several new provincial fishing records during the last 10 years, and is now home to the world ice fishing walleye record. Tobin Lake Resort (www.tobinlakeresort.com) offers fully modern units equipped with a refridgerator, stove, pots and pans, gas grill, dishes, bedding and towels and a bathroom with a shower. Four-day package: $499 for two people; $589 for three people; and $725 for four people.
Nueltin Lake, Manitoba
The first thing you notice as you bank out of the clouds over Manitoba’s Lake Nueltin is the lake’s glistening water and pine bristled islands that go on as far as the eye can see. Immersed in the pristine beauty of Canada’s original Live Release waters, Nueltin Fly-In Lodges (www.nueltin.com) offers high-quality fishing for trophy northern pike, giant lake trout and arctic grayling. Five-day fishing package prices range from $2,595-$3,695/person.
Lake Manitou, Quebec
Lake Manitou, fed by two smaller streams, flows into the Manitou River, which then widens to form Canot, Brezel and Eudistes lakes. In these cold, clear waters lurk brook trout and artic char of truly enormous size—an average of 2 pounds, according to 21-year figures from Mabec Outfitters (www.mabecoutfitters.com). And the lodge says that more than a few of its visiting fisherman quickly graduate to its “Five Pound Plus Club” for trophy brook trout. Three-day package: $2,595.
Langara Island, British Columbia
Located 20 miles south of Alaska, British Columbia’s Langara Island is the first land-mass migrating salmon meet as they progress down the B.C. coast. Fishing these waters is similar to Alaska salmon fishing—powerful King salmon and sporty Coho actively feeding on bait balls common throughout the nearby waters. Oak Bay Marine Group (www.obmg.com) says the island’s small size allows anglers to circumvent the island quickly to get to the best bite as it’s happening. The island’s small size also means that very few fishing days are lost due to inclement weather. Four-day package: $4,145/person.
Reindeer Lake, Saskatchewan
Lawrence Bay Lodge (www.lawrencebay.com) is located on Saskatchewan’s Reindeer Lake, which many people consider the best northern pike lake in the world. Approximately 180 miles long and 60 miles wide at its widest point, Reindeer Lake has thousands of islands and bays that offer high-quality fishing opportunities for trophy northern pike, walleyes, lake trout and artic grayling. Reindeer Lake has an average depth of more than 100 feet. Three-day package: $1,595/person.
North Knife Lake, Manitoba
North Knife Lake is one of Manitoba’s most unique, diverse and exclusive fly-in fishing destinations. North Knife’s main body of water holds great opportunities for trophy northern pike and lake trout. Arctic grayling also inhabit a few of North Knife Lake’s in- and out-flowing rivers. For those anglers who like to venture out among the tail outs and bottom runs of rapids, you will surely be pleased with the aggressive population and impressive colors that these fish have to offer. North Knife Lake Lodge (www.webberslodges.com) only accepts 16 guests per year and the lodge says this low fishing pressure and exclusive access allows it to offer every client the opportunity to catch a fish of a lifetime. Four-day package: $3,595/person.
Wollaston Lake, Saskatchewan
The waters surrounding Saskatchewan’s Wollaston Lake Lodge (www.wollastonlakelodge.com) lure anglers from far and wide for the ultimate Grand Slam of freshwater fishing: northern pike, lake trout, walleyes and arctic grayling. The lake itself is 110 miles long, 45 miles wide with 2,700 miles of shoreline and nearly 400 islands, and Wollaston Lake Lodge’s catch-and-release tradition (begun in the 1980s) helps ensure great fishing year after year with the use of barbless hooks and careful handling procedures. Four-day package: $3,995.
Kasba Lake, Northwest Territories
You need large waters to grow large lake trout, and at more than 1,250 square miles, Kasba Lake provides the water, structure and forage base that large populations of giant lake trout require. The owners of Kasba Lake Lodge (www.kasba.com) say enormous lakers swim at shallow depths all season long in these cold waters, making Kasba one of the best lake trout fisheries in the world. Northern pike and arctic grayling are very prolific throughout Kasba Lake and the surrounding watershed and offer great fishing all season long. Five-day package: $3,395.
Payne/Lagreve Rivers, Quebec
Arctic Adventures (www.arcticadventures.ca) operates two arctic char and trout fishing camps in Nunavik, Quebec’s Arctic region. The lodge’s Payne River Fishing Camp is strategically located near very productive waters where sleek, silvery arctic char feed on shrimp, krill and capelin during the brief arctic summer. The Payne is a major Arctic river flowing into Ungava Bay, and is the main watershed for the northwest tip of Quebec. A visit to one of Arctic Adventures fishing camps is more than a guided fishing trip—it’s an opportunity to spend time in a land beyond the tree line, where summer days are long and nights are short. You’ll live among the Inuit, in the land where nomadic caribou stop to look you over curiously, and where Canada geese go to raise their young. Five-day package: $4,900-$5,950.
Red River, Manitoba
The Red River in this Canadian province is world renown for its channel catfish fishery. The numbers and size of the fish that swim here is truly amazing. Forty- to 60-fish days have been recorded regularly, with cats in the 20s to 30-plus. Just a short hop from Winnipeg, Stu McKay’s Cats on the Red guide service (www.catsonthered.net) is one of the foremost outfts on the river. Guided trips start at $295 for a half-day for two anglers and range to full seven-day package plans that include accommodations.