It’s always best to have the inside scoop. We heard your call for help as you struggle to plan your fishing trip in Northern Ontario, and we asked the locals for their favourite holes and, from the results, we compiled a list of the top 5 fishing holes in this BIG region for BIG fish. With the enormous size of Northeastern Ontario there are a BIG number of places to choose from, so this list is a BIG deal. You’re welcome.
The region is filled with an endless supply of lakes, rivers, streams and ponds. It’s pretty much what it’s best known for. All of these possibilities hold a special memory or are visited frequently with family and friends. Many different fish species can be targeted at any time in the region including walleye, perch, bass, northern pike, muskie and all trout species. Wherever you’re headed in the region on your next outdoor adventure, be sure to check out one of the great fishing opportunities in a community near you this upcoming year.
Note: As you’re travelling throughout the region, please make sure you’re following all COVID-related safety protocols; wash your hands frequently, keep physically distant and wear a mask. Read more here.
5. Mattawa River
The Mattawa River is considered one of the BIGgest rivers in the region and holds some of the best multi-species fishing opportunities. The Mattawa River is a vast system running from North Bay’s Trout Lake East to the Mattawa dumping into the Ottawa River. This is one of the fur trade routes used for many years as it follows the Mattawa Valley. Samuel de Champlain Provincial Park borders many great sections of the Mattawa River and is 2550 ha in size.
Multiple species can be found within this system including muskie, northern pike, smallmouth and largemouth bass, sturgeon, catfish and many other species of bait and pan fish. There are opportunities for all types of anglers—from the weekend warrior, the shoreline angler and the tournament angler.
4. Lake Temiskaming
Lake Temiskaming is the Ontario headwaters to the Ottawa River and acts as the provincial boundary between Ontario and Quebec. The surrounding area of Temiskaming Shores includes the communities of Cobalt, New Liskeard and Haileybury. This lake reaches depths of 216m (709ft) and is one of the deepest in the Province. With a length of 110km’s this is one of the BIGgest lakes in the region to explore and discover.
Lake Temiskaming has opportunities to pursue throughout the entire year including both open and hard water. Small communities can be found in ice huts throughout the winter months and a wide variety of anglers can be found throughout the area fishing from shore or in boats and canoes during the spring, summer and fall.
Up to 30 different species can be targeted in this BIG fishing hole including lake trout, sturgeon, walleye, smallmouth bass, northern pike, whitefish, and perch. Many great fishing opportunities are available including the home of the Temiskaming Smallmouth Bass Series.
3. Lake Temagami
Lake Temagami, located in, and covering a large amount of the Region, is a never ending adventure. This area is sought after by all kinds of adventurers and anglers. From the many canoe portage trips and the endless kilometers of shoreline to choose from, the possibilities are endless on Lake Temagami.
Many residents from the surrounding area call Lake Temagami home in the summer months, as it is popular for cottage a.k.a. camp vacationing; there are roughly 700 permanent residences occupying the islands and shorelines. In addition there are nine youth camps and twelve commercial lodges. These outfitters, lodges, and camping opportunities are awaiting your arrival.
Species include lake trout, walleye, smallmouth bass, northern pike, whitefish, perch, and burbot. The abundance and health of the species in the lake is incredible—I have seen some of the biggest schools of smallmouth busting bait on surface in 100ft of water for a half hour.
2. French River
The French River is an absolutely gorgeous area with jaw-dropping vistas and landscapes at every turn. This river system is separated into two sections; the Upper French River that runs from Dokis Dam all the way to the mouth of Lake Nipissing, and the Lower French River that runs from Dokis Dam to the mouth at Lake Huron. If you are the adventurous type who loves the outdoors and are willing to explore, these waters are for you. The possibilities are absolutely endless!
Almost every species can be found within these waters, all capable of reaching trophy stature. The depth and current flows available in the French River grow large and strong fish. Muskie, walleye, and both small and largemouth bass can be found at any given turn and off any island in this system.
There are an abundance of lodges and facilities in this area to choose from and will ensure your vacation is one to remember. Most are remote or boat access and there are many launches to choose from to start your adventure.
1. Lake Nipissing
Lake Nipissing takes the top spot as the most sought after fishing hole in the BIG Northeastern region. There are many towns and communities occupying its shorelines, including North Bay. Lake Nipissing is a year-round angling destination for people from across the province. The various launch locations surrounding the lake, outfitters and lodges provide opportunities to everyone alike.
This vast body of water is roughly 65km long from East to West and 25 km wide from North to South shores. Nipissing is one massive lake with a surprisingly shallow average depth of 15ft. The shallow average depth makes this quite the treacherous Lake to navigate in some areas. The amount of shoals, clusters of islands and abrupt depth changes always keep you at attention when navigating at higher speeds. These structures offer great habitat for a wide variety of fish including muskie, walleye, smallmouth and largemouth bass, northern pike, perch, whitefish, and burbot.
Nipissing has many different areas to choose from including the North Shore, Cache Bay, Callander Bay, South Shore, including South Bay, Upper French River, West Nipissing, Hay Narrows, and West Bay including the West Arm. This lake and its opportunities are endless. The beauty of a lake this size is that it takes a lifetime to cover all the water and shorelines it has to offer.
These fishing holes are anticipating your arrival and the welcoming communities are ready to make your stay that much better. Start planning now for the upcoming year and then look forward to your upcoming trip to one of the many great fishing holes the region has to offer. Opportunities span across the entire Northeastern region and are yours to discover. Don’t be scared to try somewhere new this upcoming year as it may result in a new favourite fishing hole or, even better, the fish of a lifetime!