Insider Top Picks
North America's Top Walleye Waters
as compiled by David A. Rose
Tube Lake, Ontario
Spanish, Ontario's Tube Lake, a 2 1/2 hour drive east of
the U.S. Border at Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, is a quick
trip for trailer boats. There, plentiful baitfish power
a population in the 20-inch range, with some 7-pounders.
Spring fish groove on mainlake gravel points and tuck within
timber on the south-west shore.
in the Wilderness
by Steven Flint
After being absolutely spoiled rotten during our last
visit to Waterfalls Lodge, we should have been prepared
to contend with Mother Nature's wicked awful best this year.
I reckon the measure of an angler is how well he or she
adjusts to adverse weather conditions despite lofty anticipations
borne from months of lustful, piscine daydreams. Still,
we were at Waterfalls Lodge near Spanish, Ontario, home
of luxury accommodations across the board. Equal home to
significant fish of multiple species, our primary quarry
being their deep-bodied smallmouth bass.
again this past late September, www.riversmallies.com staffers
and seasoned RS patrons descended upon Waterfalls Lodge
near Spanish, Ontario. Abandoning our deep-seated, individual
passions for flowing resource smallmouths, we excitedly
arrived in search of their cinderblock, Canadian Lake brethren.
The week prior to the riversmallies.com gang's arrival I
fished and filmed with Don Meissner of PBS's Streamside
television show. We enjoyed fair skies and light winds as
we garnered video footage to support a new product from
Lake & Stream Technologies. An additional luxury was
utilizing the Waterfalls Lodge accommodations as home base,
then venturing out to new, "virgin" waters. Well,
virgin to us anyway. What a delight it was to drive 20 minutes,
on good road, and explore the mysterious Hannah Lake via
the gravel beach launch at Laroque Lake. Interestingly enough,
Don and I recorded our hottest fishing action of the week
on this resource during our first ever visit there! Pretty
nifty. Quality smallmouth bass approaching 4 pounds and
some really nice northern pike.
Then Ma Nature and the weather Gods had a little conference,
and each seemed to leave this summit rather angrily.
I fished, and fought wind & waves the second week with
Brian King, co-founder of riversmallies.com. Our mutual
friend and RS co-founder, Marc Hutchison, could not make
the trip this fall and was sorely missed. I fished the following
week (and fought wind, waves, and snow!) with savvy bronze
anglers from the Heartland, characters like Josh McDermott,
Dan'l Wirrig, Ken "on fire-fire" Kirby, Ron "Riverdog"
Bell and Josh's brother, Matt. Make no mistake these gents
could catch fish out of an Iowa mud puddle, let alone the
bountiful waters of Waterfalls Lodge.
Indeed, the fall pattern of large Canadian smallmouths
returning to the shallows for an urgent feeding binge can
be spotty at best. Wonderful angling if you hit it just
right, and painfully frustrating when you don't. Yet I've
taken autumnal smallmouths in excess of 6 pounds during
each and every of my trips to Waterfalls Lodge since 1994.
This year was no exception despite the less than exemplary
Kirby enjoyed a true beast of a smallmouth, a "toad"
as he called it, which blasted his beloved Splash-It top
water bait twice. Evenings and mornings were by far the
most productive for the top water bite.
Mr. King and I enjoyed some rather nervous top water action
a couple of odd mornings when we were graced with calm winds.
Quite memorable was a northern pike that elected to absolutely
obliterate Brian's bass-intended Storm Chug Bug. I just
didn't have the touch this trip for the top water bite,
but Brian exercised several dandy smallmouths on the surface
When daily cold fronts started blowing through we elected
to move offshore just a bit and throw weighted Case SS Shads
on 3/0 Magic hooks in the lighter chop hoping to tease suspended,
browsing bass. We kept Jann's Mud Puppi tubes with * ounce
insert heads at the ready on rod #2 for the periods of rougher
water. The bigger bass appeared to be scattered and grumpy,
yet this one-two punch brought the odd, larger bass to thumb.
At the peak and post of fowl weather scouring through we
simply went "low & slow" and fished specific,
main lake areas more thoroughly. Some of the bass were glued
to timber and some were in the shallows of what looked like
classic pike water. Dan'l, Josh, Matt, Ken, and Riverdog
all cashed in on this "grumpy bite" as all of
them are moderately deadly with a low-n-slow, jig-n-pig
presentation during those conditions. I'm admittedly tube
stubborn, yet we all took our fair share of 3 to 4 pound
bass. Riverdog tried a funky, squash/glitter tube that I
recommended for walleyes and ended up catching his best
ever walleye, a shade over 10 pounds, brandishing huge marbled
eyes the size of Mr. McDermott's when we ran out of beer.
of fair weather ushering episodes of calmer winds found
us out in the front of secluded, protected coves and bays
on Kecil Lake with Brian laying down the law via his patient,
twitch-twitch cadence of the Case SS Shad. These heavily
forested pockets of refugia definitely held more bass than
in years past.
Most of the SS Shad and Super Fluke bass were browsing
& suspended over 10 to 15 feet, and they sure didn't
seem to stay in one place for very long. We agreed to move
and browse main lake points, humps and offshore shoals as
much as we thought the fish were doing.
that the weather and aquatic conditions can never be perfect
multiple years in a row, no matter how much we want them
to be. Fall fishing is spotty at best, but it will often
deliver the largest fish of the season. Sometimes the angler
should take a break from the grumpy, intended quarry and
simply pursue other species. Yet another luxury at Waterfalls
Lodge is the availability of multi-species should the autumn
bass be indifferent to your offerings.
Water temperatures just were not fixed on a stable warming
trend as in years past and, in fact, were dropping rapidly.
Many of my historically productive ambush spots - "milk
runs" - if you will, swiftly became dominated by the
pike. I seemed destined to keep us in pike filets all week
and was perfectly thrilled to do just that. The northerns
were really tuned in to a tuned, #18, floating perch Rapala.
We thoughtfully released our larger pike over 8 pounds as
the smaller ones from 3 to 6 pounds are the perfect eaters.
let me tell you, when properly cleaned & dressed northern
pike are superb table fare. If you haven't tried them you
really should. As the Bluegrass State is a bit lean on northern
pike resources, I'm fairly certain that I've converted Mr.
King from Mrs. Paul's to the Gimp's deep-fried, beer-battered
pike chunks! Another luxury that you will discover at Waterfalls
Lodge is the skill level of their guides. Should you visit
Waterfalls Lodge and you aren't quite secure with your filleting
skills, simply poke Richard, Ed, Edward, or Jerome and they
will make swift work of your toothy critter catch of the
day. Richard, especially, has a wonderful technique for
taking out the Y bones of these delicious water wolves.
He's also a peach of a guy, definitely a keeper! I highly
recommend booking Richard for half a day, or a full day,
during your initial visit to Waterfalls Lodge. He may be
married to the jig-n-minnow, but he knows these lakes like
the back of his hands.
While the outrageous fall feeding binges simply did not
transpire for us this year like they did last year, a mediocre
day at Waterfalls Lodge sure beats a sharp stick in the
eye. I sincerely enjoyed the fellowship of my friends and
value that fellowship far more than the size or numbers
of the fish that I am catching. This year was equally rewarding
for me despite some personal setbacks. The warmth of Waterfalls
Lodge, the staff, the accommodations, the food, and the
Lodge itself truly make this a luxury in the wilderness.
Lodge is a rather easy drive from most of the mid-West states
and Bob & Marilou Rogers and staff will go out of their
way to ensure you or your group a quality experience. I
truly look forward to the next www.riversmallies.com Canadian
adventure at Waterfalls Lodge and feeding that water with
both familiar and new faces. Should anyone have any questions
about the Lodge or want basic yet sound advice on how to
fish the main lakes or the Lodge's outpost lakes, feel free
to contact me privately.
Beyond the Banks Guide Service
Fishing Canada - Waterfalls Lodge
by Brian King
Marc Hutchison, Steven Flint, and I recently spent a week
fishing in Ontario, Canada at Waterfalls Lodge. This fine
facility is located near Spanish, Ontario and owned by Bob
and Marilou Rogers. The lodge sits nestled at the southern
end of a chain of lakes. For Marc and I, this was our first
trip to Waterfalls, but for Steven, just one of many. Marc
and I entered Canada from Michigan at Sault Ste. Marie.
From there it was just over 2 hours to Spanish.
are several cottages to choose from that range from 1 to
4 bedrooms. Each cottage has hot/cold running water, electric,
heat, full bathrooms, and kitchens with refrigerators, stoves,
coffee makers, toasters, dishes, etc. There is a bed per
person with linens and pillows. Propane grills are also
supplied for each cottage.
There is a store on-site where you can purchase tackle,
bait, gifts, and your fishing license. The main lodge (pictured
above) is a new building and houses the dining room and
bar. The lodge is decorated with various fish and game mounts
and also has a television and pool table. Depending on your
preferences, you can fix your own meals in your cottage
or eat in the dining room. The food prepared by the staff
For those who prefer to "rough it" a bit, there
are RV and camp sites available. A shower house provides
full bathroom facilities and a washer/dryer.
As I mentioned before, Waterfalls Lodge is located on a
chain of lakes (14 miles worth). Anglers can tangle with
smallmouth bass, northern pike, walleyes, and lake trout.
Some of the water is "catch and release only"
so be sure to check before keeping fish for shore lunch.
There is a lot of "big" water there with some
of the lakes reaching depths of 80-200 feet. For the inexperienced
lake fisherman, it could be a daunting challenge with so
much water available for exploration. I would suggest going
with an experienced angler or
Boats are available for use if you tell them you'll need
one when making your reservation. You may bring your own
boat if you prefer. There is a nice launch right in front
of the store.
If you'd like to try something a little different, you
can schedule an outpost trip to a remote lake. Travel is
done by ATV's and you'll be accompanied by a guide. The
ride to and from the remote lake is half the fun! The outpost
trip includes lunch, boats, motors, gas, and bait.
If you want to fish even bigger water, you can use the
services of one of the guides to fish the North Channel
of Lake Huron for a variety of fish species. Bob and Marilou
maintain a boat specifically for this purpose.
For those who want to experience some Canadian river fishing,
you have access to the Big Serpent River, Little Serpent
River, and Aux Sable River within a short drive of the lodge.
The fishing season begins in mid-May and bass season opens
the last Saturday of June.
Lodge also caters to bear and moose hunters. Bear hunting
is done in September and moose hunting in October. Complete
packages are available. Reservations are limited to a certain
number of hunters. Check the Waterfalls Lodge web site for
package details and information concerning firearms in Canada.
Snowmobiling and ice fishing are popular winter activities.
From the lodge you can access thousands of miles of snowmobile
trails. The trails are kept groomed and in good shape. Ice
fishing packages are available just like the other fishing
and hunting packages.
Sightseeing activities include trips to Big Nickel Mine,
Science North, and Elliot Lake. There are several places
you can visit within an hour's drive of Waterfalls.
week at the lodge was nothing short of wonderful! We did
have some rain near the end of the week, but we were able
to fish through most of it. The three of us tangled with
some nice smallies and northerns! Bob and Marilou run a
top-notch lodge with excellent food, clean cottages, and
expert guides. They made us feel right at home! Now that
I have been there, I would not hesitate to recommend Waterfalls
to anyone who wants to try their hand at Canadian fishing.
Below is all of the contact information.
you have any questions concerning the lodge, I'd be happy
to try to answer them or you can contact Bob Rogers directly.
Just don't ask for GPS coordinates to the spots we were
Luxury in the Wilderness
Head to the border for great smallmouth fishing
It's ironic that I mention how hard our staff works and
follow it up with the work assignment I pulled in late July-a
Canadian smallmouth fishing trip with three other buddies
and our sons. Whew! One tough assignment! I've said it before
and I'll say it again, "it's part of my job-really!"
The guilt makes telling this story tough. You'll understand
as details of this trip play out. You see, usually the wilderness
dredge of normal fishing trips to Ontario make non-tough
guys sigh and feel thankful they didn't take part. You know,
things like mosquitoes and black flies so thick they'd pick
you up and turn you around without noticing, two weeks later
you're still tending to the welts. The accommodations or
lack of the likes of which Lewis and Clark would have refused.
Boats that leaked, motors that worked part-time, wet foul
weather and floatplane rides that may not have been approved
by the FAA. But yet we've persevered and still caught fish!
After telling my wife our tales of past Canadian fishing
trips she'd usually respond with a quick, "you're nuts!"
or you'd never get me up there! After returning on our latest
trip and going through the daily happenings with my wife,
she stopped me after the first day's story and batted her
eyes and said, "and you didn't take me?"
Surely that'll give you a good idea of just how plush and
relaxing our four days in the bush well-at least it
was northern Ontario, was.
Our entourage on this trip included Imlay City's Chief
of Police Arlan Winslow and his son 15 year old Adam, Imlay's
Chevy-GMAC dealer Bruce Milnes and his 13 year old son Blake,
publisher Randy Jorgensen and his 15 year old son Keil and
my 12 year old son Nick. Our destination was Waterfalls
Lodge in Spanish Ontario and our goal was smallmouth bass
fishing, with a bonus of a few walleyes, perch, bluegills
and northern pike. Plus plenty of laughs and a few father-son
Let me tell you this place was no struggle in the
northern wilds-not by a long shot. Our living quarters
had four bedrooms, two baths-both with showers, complete
kitchen and if that didn't beat all-we even had maid service.
We also elected the American plan, which included three
meals a day. Bob and Marilou Rogers have owned the resort
for the past several years and they recently added a dining
facility with a full bar, pool table, satellite TV dartboard
and even air conditioning.
We ate terrific meals like a complete turkey dinner including
pumpkin pie for desert and then there was steak night where
Bob does the grilling. All of this and served in a beautiful
knotty pine facility called the "Lodge"-what a
wilderness fishing trip this was!
The weather was hot and sunny, although a few evening showers
rolled in a couple of times. The boats didn't leak and the
motors started with one pull. And oh yeah, let's
not forget about fishing.
Bob offers a guided wilderness catch and release smallmouth-fishing
trip that simply boggles your fish loving mind. The smallmouth
fishing on this lake was just grand. Hole after hole produced
two and three-pound smallmouth that fought like hungry junkyard
dogs with wings. Nick referred to them as "sailfish
wannabes." And there were bigger fish. It was a blast
for me watching the young guys landing hard fighting fish
with their grunts, strains and "oh my goshes"
as their poles bent in a "U" shape. What fun!
The only way back to this special lake is by quad runners
through twisting and turning trails that takes about an
hour to get in. Seeing plenty of bear, moose and wolf tracks
and signs gave the trip that true wilderness flavor.
Ed, our guide for the day, advised us the day before to
keep our fishing technique simple, plain bait hooks, split
shot, and crawlers or leeches. He didn't argue his point,
he just said it works best and followed it with a story
of taking in some famous pro bass fishermen and lugging
three giant size tackle boxes. For six hours the pros threw
every lure they had. Finally they tried Ed's method and
caught fish after fish.
I didn't need to be convinced, Larry Walter taught me this
lesson years ago and I still catch a majority of my fish
on a small #8 or #10 hook, small split shot, and light line-it
The eight of us had a terrific time on our so-called
wilderness Ontario fishing trip, the accommodations, camaraderie
and fishing, made for some wonderful memories and some quality
time between fathers and sons. I eagerly look forward to
next year's adventure.
For more information on Waterfalls Lodge call Bob or Marilou
Rogers at 1-800-666-2812. They offer family fishing get-a-ways,
bear and moose hunts.
The Buckeye State's Number One Outdoor Magazine
Driving to Ontario Trophies
By Steven Flint
Caption: This pike hit a spinner bait, providing a great
fight on a medium weight bass rod.
Just look at that grin on Fred Shimp's mug! He certainly
seems to be enjoying hoisting up that 17-pound water wolf,
and I thoroughly enjoyed witnessing the event. This robust
northern pike is the largest that Fred has ever boated (and
released) and it came during his very first experience at
Waterfalls Lodge in Spanish, Ontario. Fred had requested
I guide him for a few days when he booked his September
trip to Waterfalls Lodge during the Columbus Sports, Vacation
& Travel Show last winter. While we caught several nice
and eating sized pike earlier in the week, our primary focus
was on the cinder block-like smallmouth that inhabit these
waters. This large pike hit on the second to last day of
the trip up in the narrows as you enter Lang Lake. The powerful
toothy critter slammed an orange bladed black bucktail spinnerbait
and just about maxed out his medium heavy weight, bass sized
Multi-species sportfishing opportunities abound at Waterfalls,
but it is the brutish smallmouth bass that live here that
got this Ohio Smallmouth Alliance Board Member fired up
nearly a decade ago. The beauty is that you can drive to
this fine Ontario fishery, making it an excellent fishing
holiday for the entire family. No need to pay a thousand
bucks a week per person, exiting a commercial flight and
entering a bush plane to finish the last leg to wilderness
fishing. From just about anywhere in Ohio you can comfortably
drive to Waterfalls Lodge in about twelve hours. The lodge
is a two and a half-hour drive east of Sault Ste. Marie,
Good walleye, lake trout, and perch fishing exists in the
four main lakes, if you can tear yourself away from casting
for the smallmouth. There are four main lakes to explore
upon leaving the docks with some 14 miles of the prettiest
structure you'll find anywhere. The wilderness fishing doesn't
stop there. Guided day trips are available to three remote
outpost lakes that are just full of big smallmouth bass.
I split my time this September visit between assisting Mr.
Shimp, and the head guide, Mr. Ed Duff, with groups of anglers
who reserved trips to these beautiful remote lakes. Ed knows
this country as well as any of the natives and happens to
be a very skilled angler. Half the fun of an outpost trip
is getting there. My outpost lake of choice is Bellows,
a large lake dotted with rock piles, rock slides, and shoals
that loom up out of the extremely clear, deep water. The
lake has a serious biomass of smallmouth, including some
rather large specimens.
Bellows also harbors some beautiful splake in the (over)
twenty-inch class. The splake is a hybridized cross between
a lake trout and a brook trout. Interestingly enough, there
are no pike in Bellows. Rest assured that when you feel
that tap on the line it is usually a smallmouth. My largest
one during this outpost excursion went six pounds, eight
ounces. As usual with this particular trip, the majority
of the big smallmouths took topwater baits. Storm's chrome/blue
back Chug Bug is particularly effective on these waters.
Pods of ciscoes will roam the initial ledges and drop-offs
and that color Chug Bug is a good surface imitation. Besides,
there is no better sound in the world than a four or five
pounds of angry bronze crashing into a surface bait while
the soft, haunting call of a loon drifts across the Canadian
crownland. The bass at Waterfalls waste no time communicating
to you what they want. Finding them is the key. Smallies
will spend spring and early summer here feeding heavily
on available crayfish, young of year perch, and frogs. When
these stocks are depleted the bass tend to start roaming
a bit deeper after pelagic fish forage like alewifes and
ciscoes. Towards fall, the smallmouth again hunt shallower
in search of leftover craws and juvenile perch and panfish.
Over the last couple of years, I have formed great confidence
in a "T-n-T" pattern. Tubes and topwater baits.
Venom's Erie Series tubes in the green mustard are very
effective, as are Cabin Creek's Salty Mother tubes. A 1/16
or 1/8 ounce darter head jig inserted will give the tube
an erratic but slow descent. Skipping these tubes towards
and over the rock piles and deadheads often produces savage
strikes before you can engage the bail on your spinning
reel. Countless times I've had big smallmouth up here boil
under a Zara spook or Chug Bug but miss it. Grab the tube
rod and immediately skip the tube into t he boil zone and
nine times out of ten that big smallmouth will slurp it
Soft plastic twitchbaits like Zoom's Flukes and Sluggos
work well at Waterfalls. The alewife colors are effective
as they resemble the native ciscoes. Cloudy days at Waterfalls
afford topwater smallmouth fishing all day long and into
the night. During bright sunny skies, or in the warmth of
summer, the bass will move deeper, but not far from the
lake's main structural elements. Then _ ounce tubes, grubs,
lizards, and Slider rigs become very productive. Don't forget
the good 'ole hair jigs. Maribou and natural hair jigs in
1/8-ounce size are extremely productive in late spring and
early summer. A perch pattern hair jig twitched and hopped
in ten to twenty feet of water will also produce some of
the twenty five inch plus walleyes that cruise the ledges
in the spring.
Long rodders will do very well at Waterfalls. A six or
seven weight outfit will do nicely. Poppers, large Sneaky
Petes, small Dahlburg Divers, and Clouser Deep Minnows will
all take smallmouth. We have had good success on northern
pike with large, perch patterned streamers and Decievers.
Though you'll need a bigger flyrod that the six weight!
Late spring and early summer has the fish shallower and
may be the best time for the flyrodder. But any week at
Waterfalls sure beats a week of not being there.
Big smallmouth, northerns, walleye, and lake trout that
you can drive to. Comfortable accommodations and excellent
food in the Four Seasons dining room. Spectacular shorelines
littered with fantastic structure with plenty of northern
smallies over six pounds. (Bass Season opens on the fourth
Saturday in June). I have pursued the smallmouth bass across
the lower 48 and Canada for nearly twenty years. This "drive
to" outfit in Spanish, Ontario offers one of the most
affordable and appealing sportfishing excursions you'll
find anywhere. You will do well to contact the Waterfalls
Lodge owners, Bob & Marilou Rogers, at 1-800-666-2812.
Babe Winkelman Productions Inc.
"Teaching America to Fish"
Just a quick note to thank each of you once again for all
your help and hospitality while my crew and I were in your
area. We spend so much time away from home that "feeling
at home" while away is a very special thing. You both
personally saw to that.
As for the fishing... what can I say. I had a great time
exploring Kecil, Trout, Marion, Lang and Tube. There's nothing
like the beauty of a Canadian lake and the thrill of catching
big smallmouth one after another. You truly have a piece
of heaven in your own back yard and I look forward to visiting
again at some point in the future.
Add to the fantastic fishing a well-organized camp with
good accommodations and fine food---I was impressed. Rest
assured that my staff and I will be spreading the "good
news" of Waterfalls Lodge, not only on my "Good
Fishing" series, but by word of mouth as well.
D.E. Babe Winkelman
BABE WINKELMAN PRODUCTIONS, INC.
ROD & REEL STREAMSIDE
Dear Bob & Marilou
Greetings from northern New York. I hope this letter finds
you and the lodge in good health. Well, almost a year to
the day, we've completed the Streamside Show featuring Waterfalls
Lodge. A copy of that show is enclosed with this letter.
It was competed only a few weeks ago so you can see we are
keeping very busy! Anyway, thanks again for your super hospitality
and help in making another chapter of the show possible.
We look forward to doing more with you folks in the future.
Greetings to Dennis and the rest of your staff.
NORTH AMERICAN FISHERMAN
OFFICIAL PUBLICATION OF THE NORTH AMERICAN FISHING CLUB
Dear Bob & Marilou,
Congratulations on having an excellent fishing report submitted
to North American Fisherman by one of your past guests and
having it published in the March issue of North American
Fisherman. Enclosed you will find a copy of the magazine
with your report appearing on page 139.
Again, congratulations on the published report.
Life member Tom Marshall of Granville, Ohio caught this
7-pound, 28-inch walleye while fishing without a guide on
Kecil Lake, Ontario. During his eight-day stay at Waterfalls
Lodge, Tom also fished pike and lake trout on a number of
Tom rated the accommodations, as well as the size and quantity
of fish caught, as good. He awarded excellent ratings for
competence of the personnel, condition of boats and motors
and the food at the lodge. "I have been to Waterfalls
Lodge several times", Tom said. "It is well managed,
and they have made improvements every year. Although we
usually do our own housekeeping, the meals in the dining
room are excellent".
Member, Leo Duda Jr. of Hampton, Virginia spent three weeks
at Waterfalls Lodge, where he caught lake trout, walleyes,
smallmouth bass and panfish on several local lakes. He landed
this 40-inch pike as well, and rated size of fish caught
"On your first day, they even take you on a guided
tour of the beautiful lakes in the area". Competence
of guide Bob Rogers was rated excellent, as were food and
"We expected a good trip, but this was an excellent
fishing adventure. We heartily recommend Waterfalls Lodge
to other NAFC members".
CANADA'S FABULOUS FOUR
Here's Huggler's picks for the best lake trout, northern
pike, brook trout and smallmouth bass fishing lodges in
Dreaming about the ultimate Canadian fishing trip starts
early in life. As a boy, I watched my father return from
Ontario adventures with coolers of rainbow trout and wide-eyed
tales of bigger fish that got away.
Then in 1964, a high school buddy and I pooled our resources
from 75-cents-an-hour supermarket carryout jobs and bought
tickets to the Canadian bush. The fee was $60 each for air
travel, a cabin, boat and motor, and a brook trout lake
all to ourselves. We caught and released about 400 trout,
none of which was more than a foot long.
That didn't matter. I was hooked on fishing in Canada.
I still am. Twenty-five years later I continue to travel
and fish throughout the magnetic lands of our northern neighbor.
Some trips have been fabulous, while others were only so-so.
Four recent trips have been the best I've taken. What follows
are my choices for fantastic giant lake trout, northern
pike, brook trout and smallmouth bass fishing.
First, a little advice. If you're planning the ultimate
Canadian fishing trip, be willing to do some homework. That
means you should compare rates, ask questions like "What
will I get for my investment of time and money?" and
request references. Just last week a friend of mine told
me a horror story about a dream fishing vacation he had
taken to Ontario. The outfitter was rude and unreliable,
and the trip was a complete bust. "I should have checked
things out more carefully," my friend said soberly.
Good fishing comes and goes. So do cooks and guides. The
businesses themselves maybe sold and resold. For these reasons,
it is always best to get accurate, updated information.
One other tip: When sorting out the possibilities, choose
a reputable lodge and an outfitter who specializes in one
or more species of trophy fish. Then, pick the right time
to go, and key your efforts on that one species. Everything
else you catch will be a bonus.
Don't think for a minute that all my Canadian fishing trips
are as wonderful as the four that follow. I sorted through
notes from many trips to come up with these top picks. Depending
on your budget and what you like to fish for, NAFC members
thinking about the ultimate fishing trip to Canada need
dream no more. Some of your homework is already done for
you. Now, here are my choices.
BY: TOM HUGGLER
Waterfalls Lodge, Ontario
The smallmouth average 2 to 2-1/2 pounds at Waterfalls
Lodge in southern Ontario, but there are plenty of trophy-sized
Nestled at the top of Lake Huron and within easy driving
distance of Detroit, Chicago and Buffalo is Waterfalls Lodge
and home of excellent smallmouth bass fishing. The housekeeping
package includes a comfortable cottage with flush toilets
and showers, boat, motor and gas. Evening and full meal
plans are available and shorter trips also.
Waterfalls Lodge is located between two lakes on a chain
of five lakes. The smallmouth fishing is excellent in spring
and fall and good throughout the summer.
The fish average 2 to 2-1/2 pounds but there are plenty
of 3-and4-pounders. I caught several on small jigs that
resembled crayfish, the bass' principal forage. Tom Cunningham,
a bass fishing friend from Indiana with whom I fished, caught
a 6-pounder the day before my arrival and missed a fish
that he estimated at 8 pounds.
The best fishing occurs on Kecil lake, which also has lake
trout to 30 pounds. We marked hundreds of them suspended
over 90 feet of water, but couldn't get any to hit.
The chain of lakes, which feeds the Serpent River, is also
home to good numbers of northern pike. We caught several
between 5 and 10 pounds, but much bigger fish swim there.
For those anglers wanting a more remote experience, there
is an outpost log cabin with more good bass fishing on three
You don't need a guide here, but guides are available at
a nominal fee for those who insist on it.