Episode 537: Hidden River Brookies, Walleye, and Smallies

On this Fish’n Canada trip, I was on a solo mission in the Algoma region of Ontario and I had my work cut out for me.

I was based out of Hidden River Lodge on Whitefish Lake. My wish, or task if you will, was to try and come up with an episode of the three different fish species that the lodge is known for.

One is the ever-popular Walleye.

The second is the feisty Smallmouth Bass

The third one is one of my favourite species in freshwater, the Brook Trout.

The reasons I say I had my work cut out for me were: 

  • 1 – the amount of water and area I’d be covering, 
  • 2 – as I said, I’m on a solo mission… no Ang, no Steve, no Nik, 
  • 3 – I only had a couple of days to do it!

First off, I had to drive the backroads and then walk into a small remote lake for the Brookies. There are no Brook Trout that I know of on Whitefish lake.

My second bit of work was searching for some stealthy Whitefish Lake Walleye that were being quite finicky during that time frame.

And finally, I had a 20-plus mile run I had to make in order to get to a Smallmouth Bass oasis. 

Getting to all three of these adventures was going to cut into my actual fishing time.

When Ang and I travel to destinations like Hidden River Lodge and we’ve never been there before, we always try to sit down with someone in the know. In this case, I had a quick “fish chat” with lodge owner Matt Risko. He’s been fishing this area for a lot of years so I was sure he’d get my confidence up and running with some solid intel.


Ang and I are no strangers to Brook Trout and Walleye in the Algoma region of Ontario. The Walleye goes without saying… there are tons of them.

As for the Brookies, this place has blown our minds as far as numbers and size… it’s a fishery that I always look forward to

So, my first stop was a classic small Brook Trout lake. Since I’d never been there before and I only had a partial day, I figured trolling was my best option to cover as much water as possible. That said, I did do a little LiveScoping in one of the bays “just in case” anything was visible. It didn’t take long though to see the area was pretty much void of actively moving fish.

We travel with a full-blown Garmin portable fishfinder/GPS kit on pretty much all of our trips. Here Pete is scoping for Brookies.


If you’re strapped for time, here’s a tip. Troll to find the Brookies. If you’re on to something solid, then go ahead and cast.

By trolling the perimeter of the lake, I came up with a couple of gorgeous Specks. They certainly weren’t giants, however, they were every bit as perfect as this species can be. So much fun for a partial day at the first stop of this adventure.


With a nice ½ day trip into a back-lake for some scrappy little Brook Trout complete, my next adventure was to work my way north of the lodge for some finicky Walleye.

The fish there at this time were well past the spawn and had set up into multiple different patterns.

As per Matt’s intel that he told me at the first of the trip, I was looking for fish sitting in and among big boulders on somewhat windy shorelines.

With the aid of my forward viewing sonar, I could see the little hiding spots these predators are hunkered down in, waiting for something to drift by…

In the above image, as you can see from the positioning of this circled group of Walleye on my LiveScope, it would be almost impossible to get a lure like a crankbait in front of these fish. That shallow water to the right of this school is the shoreline with a fast drop-off. Essentially it was a big boulder on shore. If I had tried a jig, I can pretty much guarantee I’d have snagged up on almost every cast.

The slip bobber rig with live bait, was pretty much the perfect presentation.

I would cast it out, the leech would drop straight down from the float to the perfect depth and then slowly drift directly in front of the Walleye. 

Normally they can’t resist this presentation and this day was no exception to that rule. Between that stealthy little group of Walleye in and among the rocks, to the odd swimmer out in the open water, my slip bobber rig definitely took care of business.


A simple slip bobber or slip float rig consists of a bobber stop, a small bead, a slip float (hole through the center of the float) and a jig. If you want to get more complicated, a barrel swivel and sliding egg sinkers can be added in. The whole idea of this rig is the ease with which it can be cast yet still able to fish deep water. 

Here is the simple form of a slip float rig


So, I’ve finally made my way to the north end of the lake… about a 20-mile run one way, the furthest point from the lodge.

Apparently, it’s loaded with Smallmouth Bass.

And as you can see, it’s unique and it’s spectacular!

There are two incoming rivers in this area and I fully intend to hit both…

I’m gonna start out by casting fast-moving baits like crankbaits and minnowbaits to not only cover water, but to see the attitude of the Smallies. I’m sure as the sun gets higher, I’ll need to switch to plastics.

I’m ready for anything these little scrappers can throw at me!


A word of caution if you intend to hit this area. During the early part of the season, this is deemed a sanctuary. MAKE SURE, you know the regulations, and fish here accordingly!


Well, I guess my “concern” of running solo on this trip and with so much water and area to cover was just a simple miscalculation.

All three of my destinations, that’s the Brook Trout, slip bobber Walleye, and the river mouth Smallies, all panned out nicely.

In typical northern Ontario fashion, Hidden River Lodge provided me with yet another awesome fishing adventure.


N 48 13.390 W084 15.423

This episode’s Hotspot took Pete to the very north end of the Whitefish/Manitowik Lake system. The waypoint on the screen gets you there.

The areas with current were loaded with Smallmouth Bass.

As Pete drifted away from the fast water, he found Walleye along with a couple of big Northern Pike.

We refer to that as a fish potpourri!

Pete picked off as many fish as he could with crankbaits and then after the initial bite slowed down, he also slowed down with soft plastics.

This scenic area was packed with fish.

For more Hotpots like this one, check out our Hotspots page on Fish’n Canada.com

DEPTH: 3 – 8 Feet

PRESENTATION: Casting into current and breaks

BAITS: Crank Baits, Soft Plastics 


Hidden River Lodge – Whitefish Lake, Ontario

For a look at Hidden River Lodge and a breakdown of how we got there, head over to Northern Ontario Travel!

Bass, Brook Trout and Walleye Fishing at Hidden River Lodge | Northern Ontario Travel


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