Aerial view of a rustic fishing lodge on the edge of a lake surrounded by forest

Esnagami Lodge | Mark Melnyk

Fly fishing lodges in Ontario

Aerial view of a rustic fishing lodge on the edge of a lake surrounded by forest

Esnagami Lodge | Mark Melnyk

Fly fishing technology has adapted such that today, anything that freshwater quarry can be caught and released on fly. In addition, fly fishing can take place in almost any body of water be it a lake, pond, river or creek.

Ontario is now a renowned destination for fly anglers looking for unique, unspoiled fly fishing adventures and boasts a multitude of fly fishing resorts, lodges and guides to match any budget.

Different types of lodge experiences

There are multi-tiered adventures awaiting fly anglers in Ontario.

From do-it-yourself drive-to lodges to extravagant, remote fly-in resort experiences, Ontario has a level of service for most anglers looking for great fishing within all budgets.  

Generally, there are three levels of service Ontario lodges and resorts offer.  But for each level, anglers can choose drive-in, fly-in, train-in or boat-in. Whatever experience works the best.  

  • Do-it-yourself (DIY): the angler is responsible for everything including cooking, cleaning, housekeeping and self-guiding. This option allows anglers to cook on their schedule, come and go from the property as they need and fish as much or as little as they want. Generally, it’s the most inexpensive option in fly fishing adventures.
  • Housekeeping: a step above the do-it-yourself option, housekeeping lodges and camps have a lodge manager on-site to assist with anything an angler may need from a logistics point of view. Anglers are still responsible to cook their own meals and guide themselves on the water, however, the managers at the housekeeping outfit will perform light housekeeping duties. They are there to make sure anglers have some assistance should they require it.
  • Full service or “American Plan”: anglers will have everything looked after at a full service outfit, including all meals, guiding and housekeeping services. Often the most expensive option in lodge angling, anglers need not worry about anything but having a great time and catching fish. Note: staff gratuities and licenses are generally not included in the all-inclusive plan.

Fish species and where to catch them

Anglers travelling within or to Ontario can target multiple species of fish based on the wishes of the angler and their angling ability.

Some species of fish are simply easier to catch than others. For example, an experienced angler may choose to target a difficult-to-catch species such as a musky. Often deemed the fish of 10,000 casts, these fish are extremely difficult to find and catch.

Conversely, a less experienced angler should consider targeting an easier species to catch such as a northern pike or a smallmouth bass. They are much more plentiful and show more of a willingness to eat a fly in Ontario waters.  

Here are a few choice fish species to target with specific lodges fly anglers can consider:

Smallmouth bass

Smallmouth are excellent adversaries on fly. High jumping, hard fighting and boasting healthy populations, they are often a favorite target species for fly anglers. Most Ontario waters are home to good populations of smallmouth bass. Outfits to consider for fly anglers targeting smallmouth bass include:

DIY: Lauzon Aviation

In addition to operating a flight service company, Lauzon Aviation runs Hastie Lake Outpost for trophy smallmouth bass. The clean and comfortable two-bedroom cabin has an open-concept common area and comes with a complete kitchen. The cabin overlooks the lake. The short flight in is a highlight secondary only to excellent bass fishing.
Location: Blind River

Housekeeping: Como Lake Resort

Jean and Tracy host fly anglers at Como Lake Resort with a welcome smile and handshake.  Comfortable cabins that can accommodate groups of one to 10 people, each overlooking Como Lake has and features its own private dock. Fishing for smallmouth bass is great at Como Lake Resort seeing many trophy fish released each season.
Location: Chapleau

Full service: Waterfalls Lodge

Rob and Kathy keep anglers laughing throughout their entire visit to Waterfalls Lodge. Waterfalls is a full-service lodge with access to multiple lakes chock full of trophy smallmouth bass. The dining room is excellent, as is the fishing. 
Location: Spanish

Full service: Hawk Lake Lodge

With access to 17 private lakes, world-class accommodations, fantastic fishing and great food, this full-service lodge is a must-do for every fly angler. Ted and his staff work hard to ensure every facet of your stay is top notch. So you know, a nine-pound smallmouth was caught and released at one of their lakes!   
Location: Kenora

Brook trout

Brook trout, arguably the most beautiful freshwater fish are found throughout Ontario.

They are an indicator species meaning if anglers are catching brook trout on fly, they’re fishing in a clean and pristine aquatic environment. Apex predators, brook trout are extremely fly friendly and will eat most anything they can fit in their mouths.

DIY: Brace Lake Outpost Camp

Big brook trout live in the big water of the Albany River in Northern Ontario. Brace Lake Outpost Camp supplies an experienced guide for anglers targeting the brook trout of the Albany. Everything else is up to the angler. This deluxe cabin sleeps up to 10 with a minimum of four anglers per trip. Fully outfitted and on the shores of little Makokibatan Lake, access to trophy brook trout is but a short boat ride away.
Location: Nakina

Housekeeping: Birchland Cottages

Comfortable, modern, and located in the heart of northern Ontario, Birchland Cottages has eight cottages on Clear Lake. Guided trips by local expert Adam Vallee of Angling Algoma will ensure fly anglers get access to the most productive brook trout streams in the north. Adventurous fly fishers are welcome to explore the many tributaries of Lake Huron and Lake Superior.
Location: Huron Shores

Full service: Esnagami Lodge

A fly-in, full-service operation, Esnagami Lodge offers fly anglers world-class brook trout fishing opportunities. With access to both river brook trout and spring creek lake fishing, brook trout at Esnagami are catch and release. Many anglers are seeing fish released up to six pounds. Guided brook trout excursions can be a day trip or a multi-day adventure down the Esnagami River.
Location: Nakina

Northern pike

Northern pike are known to be fearless predators. Often lying in wait to ambush their prey, pike use speed and razor-sharp teeth to hunt fish, birds, mammals and amphibians.

Fly fishing for pike is an adrenaline rush due to the viciousness of their attacks, often boat side. They are efficient predators in most of Ontario’s waters and have a willingness to eat an anglers’ fly.

DIY: Hearst Air Service

Hearst Air Service on Carey Lake is a fly angler’s take-off point to many outpost cabins on remote lakes in Ontario’s north. With seven outpost cabins on different lakes, fly anglers fishing with Hearst Air are guaranteed to be the only anglers on the water. All outposts are fly-in and have the basics for a successful fishing adventure.
Location: Hearst

Housekeeping: Stanley’s Resort

This drive-to resort is located just outside the town of Vermillion Bay in Northwestern Ontario on the shores of Eagle Lake. Eagle Lake is revered as a big fish lake and is known for large populations of big northern pike. Stanley’s Resort finds anglers in very well-appointed log homes with full amenities. Whether you bring your own boat or rent one from the lodge, pike fishing is great out of Stanley’s Resort.  
Location: Vermillion Bay

Full service: Kesagami Wilderness Lodge

Kesagami Wilderness Lodge is a fly-in, full-service lodge located in the vast boreal forest of Northern Ontario. Departing from Cochrane, it’s a short flight to Kesagami Lake and great fishing for northern pike. Fully guided and with every detailed attended to, Kesagami Wilderness Lodge is the epitome of rustic elegance in the wilds of Ontario.  
Location: Cochrane

Steelhead / lake run rainbow trout

Fall and springtime in Ontario great lake tributaries see steelhead trout in great numbers, willing to eat flies. After their spawning ritual in spring is a great time for anglers to target these large and powerful fish.

In the fall, they enter the rivers behind salmon to feed on eggs in preparation for Ontario’s winter. Fly anglers will see great success targeting these hungry fish on many Ontario rivers throughout the fall and winter when fly fishing is possible.

DIY: Bruce Bay Cottages and Lighthouse

Bruce Bay Cottages is centrally located for angling access to many tributaries of Lake Huron and Lake Superior.  With eight cottages available to anglers, Bruce Bay can host two to five anglers based on which cottage they wish to rent. Guiding for both fall and spring steelhead is available if requested and the cottages are open from May through to October.
Location: Bruce Mines

Housekeeping: Driftwood Valley Chalets

Dirftwood Valley Chalets offers anglers a choice of two full amenity homes. Located just north of Sault Ste. Marie, anglers enjoy easy access to tributaries of both Lake Superior and Lake Huron. Driftwood Valley Chalets is open all year long making both late and early season steelhead angling possible.
Location: Sault Ste. Marie

Fly fishing guiding services

For anglers looking to be guided, there are a number of excellent guiding services in the area including:

Tyler Dunn:

John Giuliani:

Adam Vallee:

Full service: Quebec Lodge

Quebec Lodge located in the sleepy northern town of Red Rock, is steeped in angling history. With access to the Nipigon River and Lake Superior, fly anglers can target steelhead during their river runs in the tributaries during the spring and fall. Fully guided adventures for steelhead often find fly anglers catching multi-species in this special fishery.
Location: Red Rock

Of course, these are just a selection of outfitters who cater to fly anglers targeting some of Ontario’s most popular species. There are boundless opportunities for fly anglers to experience the incredible fisheries found in Ontario with adventures spanning most budget ranges.

Last updated: April 18, 2024

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