Ontario’s Fishing Gems, Algoma and Sunset Country – Episode 521

If you look at every province in Canada with fishing in mind, they can all be broken down into angling divisions or areas if you will. Some are simple and some are more complex.

For instance, Saskatchewan has Northern, Central, and Southern zones.

Easy!

Saskatechewan… easy to understand!

Manitoba is Southern, Northwest, North Central & Northeast. Also, easy and user-friendly.

Manitoba… also easy to understand.

There are other provinces however where things get a bit more confusing.

The province of Alberta has ES1 – ES4, PP1 & PP2, as well as NB1 – NB4.

Definitely a bit more perplexing.

Alberta… starts to get complex.

But we aren’t done yet.

The Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry designates their fishing areas by the numbers 1 through 20. These are called fisheries management zones.

Now, when you add to this, the tourism designations of 12 regional numbers, plus 13 A, B & C, that all have names like Sunset Country, Algoma Country, Ontario’s Near North, Niagara Falls & Wine Country, Haliburton Highlands…. Phew… we just want to go fishing!!!

When you check out the zones and areas of Ontario, it starts to get quite complex.

Luckily, it’s not as complex as it seems. Essentially just pick an “area” to fish and then look into the laws that pertain to that area.

Your goal should simply be, to have fun, and make sure you don’t inadvertently break the law.

ONTARIO’S TWO FISHING GEMS

So, you are probably asking, what’s your point. Well for this Fish’n Canada article, we have chosen two of the most popular “regions” as far as fishing destinations and trips are concerned, Ontario’s Sunset Country and Algoma Country.

There’s a reason these two are so popular. The number of fishable waters is incredible.

It’s the diversity of access, whether it be flying in, driving to, taking a train, or portaging in… that adds a sense of fun.

And finally, the species list, along with their size, as well as the number of fish, will blow your mind!

Sunset Country

Let’s start with Sunset Country, which is the north-west portion of the province, in fisheries management zones 2, 4 & 5.

This single area may well be the world’s most popular fishing destination PERIOD.

From public waters to fly-in gems, from crown land camping to full blown lodges and from 12-inch Crappies to 20 plus pound Northern Pike, Muskie and Lake Trout, it’s easy to see why this region ROCKS!

Ontario’s Sunset Country literally has hundreds of lodges and resorts that vary from rustic to luxurious. There are also many full-service hotels and motels and more than 80 campgrounds for tents and recreational vehicles.

With over 70,000 fishable lakes, we can assure you that you’ll never have to worry about crowds out on the water.

This region offers some of the most diverse fishing in Canada. Not just walleye, northern pike, and lake trout, but also, muskie, black crappie, perch, brook trout, sauger, whitefish, smallmouth bass and believe it or not, even largemouth bass.

How’s that for a fish-star lineup?

Bowman Island Lodge, Lake Superior

In fact, how is this for diverse… there is “even” a great Steelhead fishery in the north-western area of Ontario. We bet a lot of you didn’t know that one. Many tributaries that flow into Lake Superior have a Steelie run “or two” every season. Some can be accessed by the shore while others can only be accessed by boat…

No, our rig wasn’t broken down, this is the unique way that Bowman Island Lodge takes their clients boats to their facility allowing you the angler to use your own boat (if you want). Saves a ton of gas money for sure.

Hawk Lake Lodge, Hawk Lake

Probably the most popular fish in Sunset Country is Canada’s pride and joy, the Walleye or the Pickerel as some of you still refer to it. With so many lakes and rivers loaded with this fantastic & delicious species, it’s easy to see why so many fishing lodges, camps and outposts exist in this area. Nowhere else in the world is there such a concentration of facilities that cater to the Walleye…

Angelo Viola holds one of 3 Hawk Lake trophy Walleye he caught on a recent trip. One is a fish of a lifetime, but three???

Andersons Lodge, Lac Seul

There are certain bodies of water, whose names have become globally synonymous with trophy fishing. In the case of northwest Ontario, Lac Seul is a perfect example of one of these legendary world-class fisheries.

Lodges like Andersons on Lac Seul “all” boast fantastic fishing with the bonus of an authentic northern Ontario shore lunch.

Eagle Lake Is. Lodge, Eagle Lake

And finally, to finish off our obvious enthusiasm for the fishing in this part of the world, as we stated in our Muskie episode earlier this season, Sunset Country or north-west Ontario… whatever you want to call it, is without a doubt, THE best Muskie hotspot on the entire planet!

ALGOMA COUNTRY

Ontario’s Algoma Country prides itself on “real experiences, real wilderness”. We agree with both. The experience of world-class fishing in a “not too distant” wilderness destination, makes this area a must-visit.

With countless fishable lakes, rivers, and streams throughout 28,000 square miles of pristine beauty, a fishing trip in Algoma Country is nothing short of epic.

Waterfalls Lodge, Tube Lake

Believe it or not, it took us FOREVER to figure out that the Algoma region of Ontario is one of the most diverse fishing areas of the entire province. That said, when we need to get in the truck to make a 5 – 10-hour trip in order to put a bunch of doubleheaders in the boat, this is the place we usually choose…

Pete Bowman joined up with Captain John Blanchard on a Smallmouth Bass trip to Algoma’s Waterfalls Lodge near Spanish Ontario.

Blue Fox Camp, Kirkpatrick (Blue) Lake

Of course, Smallmouth Bass only make up a small portion of the fishing opportunities in Algoma Country. This is an area of Canada where not only can you catch world-class Brook Trout, but usually there’s a great chance at catching other species like Lake Trout on the very next cast…

Looking for a trophy Brook Trout like the one Angelo Viola is holding here but don’t want to travel 16+ hours to have a chance? Then travel to the Algoma region of Ontario.

St Mary’s River, Sault Ste. Marie

What may be the biggest surprise in Canadian fishing is the availability of a “not so popular” fish species in the Algoma region of Ontario. This fish is normally associated with specific areas of Canada’s east coast. However, the Sault Ste Marie area and more specifically the St Mary’s River which is fed by Lake Superior, is the perfect habitat for, believe it or not, the Atlantic Salmon!

Sault Ste Marie fishing guide Tyler Dunn and Steve Niedzwiecki display a rare Ontario fish species, the Atlantic Salmon.

Hearst Air, Pym Island Outpost

And finally, the sleeper fish species of Algoma Country is the Northern Pike. Indeed, if you are looking for the land of the giants in the Canadian Esox world, then the northwest portion of Ontario is your best bet. That said, if you really investigate the Pike history of Algoma, you’ll see there are some amazing waters with giant Northerns just waiting for a chance to rip into your offering and take you into an unforgettable battle…

Angelo holds up a long & lean Attawapiskat River Northern Pike that he and Pete caught at Hearst Air’s Pym Island Outpost.

CONCLUSION

Well, our fishaholic friends, there you have it. In our opinion, Ontario’s Sunset Country along with Algoma Country, make up some of the absolute best all-round fishing trip options, that both locals and traveling anglers can and should take advantage of.

And again, please remember to respect those locals by taking all necessary precautions when entering either of these fantastic fishing regions.

Be smart, be safe, and enjoy some of the best fishing in the nation.

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