Wolseley Lodge: World-Class Fishing on the French River

By Ashley Rae – shelovestofish.com

Located between Lake Nipissing and Georgian Bay, Wolseley Lodge is nestled in along the shores of the French River in Wolseley Bay. Harald and Ingrid Lutte have owned the Lodge since July of 2004, when this new venture of owning a tourist camp brought them all the way from Germany. After looking at satellite images and maps of the river, they fell in love with the location and began the 10-year process from idea to realization. Now, 12 years later, they are welcoming return guests back year after year and watching families as they grow.

World Class Fishing on the French River

The French River, approximately 130 kilometers in length, is a Designated Canadian Heritage River. Ninety-five percent of the shoreline is protected from future development, offering stunning landscapes of shield rock and untouched wilderness. The river is well known for trophy musky and holds an abundance of other species including walleye, northern pike, smallmouth and largemouth bass, perch, black crappie and other panfish. In addition, the previously held Ontario Record freshwater drum (sheepshead) was caught on the French River and weighed a whopping 20.6 pounds. Needless to say, there is a huge variety of species that can be targeted here! The main lodge (where the restaurant is located) is decorated throughout with photos of impressive catches caught by guests over the years.

Harald is a wealth of information when it comes to fishing on the French River and it seems he knows where every single weedline, rock, or shoal is located. He provides detailed maps for his guests to help navigate the river and point out some great fishing spots. He also has a top-secret depth chart that he’s graphed out himself that he may let you take a peek at if you ask nicely. This map is like gold as there is no depth chart available for the river.

Harald can put you in touch with a fishing guide if you’d like to get out on the water with a local expert. The guides work for various lodges with some even having up to 40 years experience, or being third generation guides.

Packages for Everyone

Wolseley Lodge offers housekeeping, fishing, or all-inclusive packages. There are 16 quaint and comfortable cabins ranging from one-to-four bedroom. In addition they also offer lodge-style rooms for guests that don’t desire cooking facilities. The cabins are equipped with a three-piece bathroom, kitchen (refrigerator, stove, microwave and coffee maker) and also include cookware.

Harald and Ingrid have kept the cabins in their original state (dating back to 1928) but have renovated to include some modern necessities for guests (more electrical outlets for charging phones, cameras, and other devices). There are no televisions in the cabins as they believe that vacation is best spent outdoors experiencing nature. There is a television in the restaurant for any important sporting events guests don’t want to miss out on and free wi-fi is also available. Noëlville is located just 16 kilometers away and has a grocery store, LCBO, Beer Store, and more. The local Esso gas station offers an assortment of fishing tackle and this is where Harald directs anglers looking to pick up popular local fishing items.

The restaurant is located at the main lodge overlooking Wolseley Bay. The delicious home-style meals will have you feeling pretty spoiled (and so satisfyingly full)! The Friday night buffet is understandably one of the favourites amongst visitors and the restaurant is licensed to serve beer, coolers and wine. Packed lunches are also available. There is a games room located on the lower level with a pool table and some indoor entertainment if you’d like to relax after a day on the water or hang out on a rainy day.

Bring Your Own Boat

If you’d like to bring your own boat, you can reserve docking space at Wolseley Lodge’s own marina. Trailer parking and hydro is available to charge boat batteries. Boat rentals are available and include: 16-foot fishing boats, or 16 and 24 foot pontoon rentals (which are also wheelchair accessible). Bringing your own fishing sonar and trolling motor is an option or they can be rented at the marina. Kayaks and paddleboats are free to use, and the lodge also features a sandy beach.

Your French River fishing adventure awaits! Perhaps you’ll be the next angler who’s trophy picture will be up on the wall of fame at Wolseley Lodge!