Kayak fishing is quickly becoming the fastest growing segment of the recreational fishing industry. It’s not hard to understand why—no expensive boats and no gas tank to fill. You can transport a kayak on the top of your car, launch it anywhere, and go where the power boats can’t, plus you get the added bonus of a bit of exercise. Whether day tripping or looking for a backcountry fishing adventure, Northeastern Ontario, with its thousands of lakes, might as well be kayak fishing heaven. You can toss a dart at a map and pick a spot, but I have my eye on a few promising destinations.
The French River
Being a provincial park, there are hundreds of backcountry campsites at your disposal so why not load up the kayak for a camping fishing trip. Or you can keep it simple—set up home at one of the many lodges, rental cottages, or campgrounds along its length. The French River is a great place to chase, musky, pike, bass, and walleye.
If adventure is what you’re after, portage into one of the backcountry bass lakes where you can have the fishing bounty all to yourself.
Upper Ottawa River
The calm-flowing 58km stretch of the Ottawa River from the town of Mattawa to Temiskaming is, for the most part, pristine wilderness. You can make this a two- or three-day backcountry camping fishing trip or set up in one of the river edge accommodations near town. Musky, northern pike, walleye, and bass are commonly found in these waters.
If you opt for the backcountry trip, vehicles can be left both in Temiskaming and Mattawa, with shuttle services offered by Algonquin North Wilderness Outfitters.
In the native Anishinabbe language, Temagami means “deep clear water” and this long and fingered glacial lake definitely lives up to its namesake.
Surrounded mainly by Crown land and dotted with over a thousand islands you will find lake trout, whitefish, walleye, smallmouth bass, and northern pike in abundance. Camp, lodge or cottage—practically all of the local accommodations have water access, and getting your kayak to the fish is as easy as stepping out your front door.
North Shore Manitoulin Island
Every time I travel Hwy 6, the stunning beauty of the North Channel mesmerizes me. I can visualize gliding my kayak through the never-ending rocky shoreline. This experience alone makes Manitoulin’s North Shore a worthy destination, and apparently lake trout, walleye, northern pike, smallmouth bass, and perch make their home in these waters. Visually stunning and packed with fishing potential, it’s perfect.
Fairbank Provincial Park
We visited this park when the kids were small. I remember looking down from our canoe into the clear water of Fairbanks Lake and watching the dozens of fish swimming about beneath the boat. Now the kids are teens and it’s time to return to Fairbank, kayaks in tow, for a more face-to-face meeting with the lake’s smallmouth bass population.
Getting into a fishing kayak doesn’t have to break the bank. You can get into a basic kayak for under $500 with the top-of-the-line boats priced at around $1500. Add a paddle, PFD, and a rod holder, and you are ready to hit the water.
A 6’6” to a 7” medium to medium-heavy action fishing rod spooled with a 20-pound braid, a small box with a few lures, and you are ready to go after the fish.
Oh yeah, don’t forget a net or a lip grabber for when you hook into a BIG one.