Fishing season is back in full effect across all of Northern Ontario, with no shortage of fish to target since the opening weekend in May. This is the perfect time of year to start targeting your favourite species—Muskie Opener is nearly here and lands on the 3rd Saturday in June in Zones 10, 11, 13, and 14. The lakes are thriving, with the signs of life and vegetation emerging at rapid rates; new life is taking shape after the spawn, fish are re-energizing, and foraging on the plentiful baitfish.
Prime Time for Muskie
Spring is a great time to get out and target muskie—the spawn has just gathered fish from all around the lake to the sandy vegetated flats including bass, walleye, and a variety of baitfish. These species will slowly disperse but definitely in the vicinity of these key spawning areas. Fish will mainly be in the upper spectrum of the lake still due to the warmer temperatures.
Cover water to see where fish are located, pay attention while covering different depths of the water column starting at the spawning areas working your way to the steeper adjacent breaks. Muskie will be in an aggressive nature relating to ambush points; some features to be mindful of include docks in proximity to deep water, long underwater points with steep drop offs, and healthy taller weed growth.
The muskies are feeding to build up the strength lost during the winter and spring spawning periods. Early season forage is generally smaller than later in the year, so stick to the smaller offerings in your collection. Temperature will dictate the types of baits you will be able to use through this time of year as well. Cooler lake temperatures will call for a slower presentation with longer pauses to get a fish to commit. Warmer waters are a good area to target muskie on reaction style baits like twitch baits, smaller buck tails and plastic baits. If a cold front or quick rise in water temperature occurs you may have to put the bait right on their nose to get a bite—fish slow and be patient. If you think the fish is there, be confident and they will bite!
Lakes & Lodges
The Northeastern region is rich with plentiful waters housing many trophy-sized muskie. Why not test your skill and luck at any of the renowned waters available:
- Lake Nipissing
- French River
- Lake Huron (Manitoulin Island & Killarney)
- Lake Nosbonsing
- Trout Lake (North Bay and Estaire)
- Nepewassi Lake
- Restoule & Stormy Lake System
Many marinas, lodges, and guiding services can be chosen from to assist you in achieving your goal of boating a fish of a lifetime. A list of recommended partners is as follows:
- Chaudière Lodge (French River)
- Fish Bay Marina (South Shore of Lake Nipissing)
- Totem Point Lodge (French River)
- Hide Away Lodge (North Channel, Lake Huron)
- Big Moose Camp (Lake Nosbonsing)
For more opportunities, visit our list of Partners and another great resource; The Ultimate Guide to Planning your Next Lodge Vacation. And if you’re looking to put your angling skills to the test this year, check out these BIG Fishing Tournaments.
Spring is one of the best times of year to target all your favourite species as fishing is usually at its peak until the dog days of summer approach us. Make the best of the opportunities provided; gather your gear, sharpen your hooks, check your line and get ready for the best freshwater fight imaginable!
We can’t wait to hear your stories and see the catches from around the region. Handle all fish with care and practice catch and release for a sustainable ecosystem to be enjoyed for years to come. Please share your success with us and others, be proud, and look forward to your next cast.