Great fishing at Northern Ontario’s remote fly-in lodges
One of this country’s greatest strengths is that there are still vast tracts of wilderness that support a remote tourism industry and the northern reaches of Ontario provide a perfect example. With an abundance of remote lakes and rivers, Ontario is loaded with fishing lodges. They are dotted across a broad and diverse landscape that ranges from the expanse of the boreal forest to the rounded old mountains of the Canadian Shield.
Anglers from around the globe visit Northern Ontario because it offers some of the best fishing in the world. Remote fly-in fishing lodges are only accessible by air and offer tremendous angling on unpressured waters. Walleye, northern pike and smallmouth bass are the most common species, but there are also opportunities to cast for muskie, lake trout, brook trout and more. Considering the remote locations of many Ontario fly-in lodges, accommodations are surprisingly luxurious and may even surpass the comforts of home. You’ll discover a delightful contrast between civilization and the wild that lets you enjoy your favourite activity in supreme comfort.
With so many different types of fly-in fishing adventures available, you have the ability to choose the type of accommodation and level of service best suited for you. There are all-inclusive lodges where you share the company of other anglers over sumptuous dinners in communal dining rooms. There are also housekeeping lodges where you control your own schedule and prepare your own meals in fully-equipped kitchens. Everything required to catch fish is at your fingertips including boats and motors, fish finders, live bait and fishing guides. Choose a destination and take flight to what will likely be the greatest fishing trip of your life and could be the first of many vacations to the wilds of Ontario.
Fishing and much more
Epic fishing is the backbone of ever fishing trip but getting there is part of the experience on a fly-in fishing adventure. Taking off and landing on water is an exciting way to start a trip and aviation historians will be intrigued to fly in a famous floatplane like a De Havilland Beaver or Otter. Many of these planes have been in service for more than 50 years and, with ongoing maintenance and upgrades, continue as a safe and comfortable way to transport people and gear in and out of the bush.
Flying over the northern Ontario wilderness provides a new perspective on a rolling landscape where meandering wetlands, rivers and lakes appear in every size and shape imaginable. Signs of civilization fade until there’s nothing but forest-enveloped waters. When the pilot throttles back and banks downward, you get the first glimpse of your destination. Keen anglers will also look at this as an opportunity to survey the waters for hidden fishing spots like weed beds, shoals and drop-offs.
Making your home on the waterfront means getting on the water is as fast as strolling down to the dock. Being here for a week and having fishing at your fingertips brings a rare type of relaxation that comes from knowing you’ll get to fish as much as you want. Memorable days on the water, when you lose count of how many fish you catch and surpass your personal best many times over, is something every angler should experience, whether with your fishing buddies or with your family.
If you are trying to introduce young children to the sport, the presence of eager fish is a big plus. Generally, children like catching more than they do fishing. Learning a few rudimentary fishing tactics and setting the hook into a quality fish is the kind of affirmation that makes fishing fun and accessible for everyone. For youngsters, frequent short trips are much more palatable than all-day adventures. This makes casting from the dock an ideal scenario. Children experience a level of independence that lets them fish when they want, for as long as they want. Depending on the lake and the time of year, fishing from the dock, or even from shore, can yield catches that will lay the foundation for a lifelong love of angling.
There are many things to experience while at a wilderness lodge that go hand-in-hand with a day on the water. Eating a meal of fresh fish in the great outdoors is a pretty seamless way to enhance your trip. There is nothing like the fresh air and exercise of a morning’s angling to whet the appetite. Landing the boat along a quiet shoreline and stretching your limbs while your guide prepares the meal only adds to the anticipation. Traditionally a shore lunch is centered around deep-fried fish fillets, pan-fried potatoes and baked beans, but there’s no rulebook so things like green salad, coleslaw, pickles and any number of desserts can become part of a feast that won’t soon be forgotten.
Fishing is always an option to burn off a meal but exploring is another. Just about every lodge has a custom map that shows fishing spots for various species, but often it will point to other areas of interest to explore between casts. Old logging camps, trapper’s cabins, pictograph sites, fur trade posts and even still-standing fire towers provide a look at the lifestyles of years gone by. Such outdoors discoveries are a fulfilling addition to angling and only enhance the comforts of the lodge at day’s end.
Here’s a look at 20 of Ontario’s best fly-in fishing lodges where you can experience superb angling enveloped within Ontario’s wilderness woods and waters.
Guardian Eagle Lodge
Northeast of Sioux Lookout on 32-kilometre-long DeLesseps Lake, Guardian Eagle Lodge is an all-inclusive resort accessible only by air and has its own private runway. Log cabin accommodations hold up to 24 guests and all gourmet meals and snacks are provided including a daily complimentary cocktail hour from 5:30 - 6:30 pm. Great fishing for northern pike and angling for walleye is getting better and better thanks to a conservation program requiring the release of all walleye over 19 inches.
One Man Lake Lodge
One of several lodges run by Halley’s Camps along the English River system, One Man Lake Lodge is about 70 kilometres north of Kenora. All meals are provided as well as daily maid service. This all-inclusive lodge is on an island and can hold up to 16 guests who fish from 18-foot aluminum boats with 50 horsepower motors. Enjoy easy fishing for walleye, northern pike and smallmouth bass or hire a guide to find fish, cook a shore lunch and get you back to the lodge in time for supper. There’s even a games room with pool, shuffleboard and widescreen TV.
Harry Lake Lodge
A 40-minute floatplane flight from Atikokan or Ignace, Harry Lake Lodge is a highly personalized operation accommodating a maximum of six guests. Each trip is fully customized from sleeping arrangements to drinks, to a fresh and creative food menu. Great fishing for walleye and northern pike on a secluded wilderness lake, paired with amenities like a hot tub, sauna, satellite phone and internet make this the ultimate angling vacation.
Birch Bark Lodge
Fly more than 100 kilometres by floatplane from the town of Pickle Lake to Birch Bark Lodge on the shores of Wigwascence Lake. Pickle Lake is one of the most northerly points that you can drive to in Ontario and hints at the true wilderness and great pike and walleye fishing. There are only two cabins at this housekeeping lodge – accommodating a maximum of 12 - where guests prepare their own meals in fully equipped kitchens.
Blue Fox Camp
The ultimate trout fishing adventure waits at Blue Fox Camp, where you can catch three species of trophy-sized trout on the same day. The all-inclusive lodge has six cabins holding up to 25 guests on the shores of Kirkpatrick Lake, where naturally-occurring brook trout, lake trout and rainbow trout wait. You can take a 20-minute floatplane flight from Blind River or reach the lodge by ATV on a network of old logging roads.
Wildwood on Lake Savant
This housekeeping lodge north of Ignace has six cabins on the shore of 40-kilometre-long Savant Lake. Access to Wildwood on Lake Savant is by floatplane or by a customized four-wheel-drive van and trailer that takes up to 17 guests and gear along a 7 kilometre trail from Highway 599 to the lodge. Large pike and walleye are plentiful in Savant Lake and lake trout over 20 pounds are caught every season.
Delaney Lake Lodge
A 40-minute floatplane ride from Nestor Falls, Delaney Lake Lodge is on the giant English River system where you can fish for a wide range of species including walleye, bass, lake trout and muskie. The largest pike in Ontario, 42 pounds, was caught here in 1946 and the chance for a trophy continues to this day. Packages include flight, accommodations, meals, boat, bait and guiding.
This intimate, all-inclusive log lodge can accommodate 16 guests along the sandy shores of Nagagami Lake. There are plenty of pike here but the lake, northwest of Hornpayne, is known for its large numbers of big walleye exceeding 30-inches. Guests of Timberwolf Lodge fish from 18-foot cedar strip boats and the adventurous can explore Nagagami’s tributaries for brook trout.
Booi’s Fly-In Lodge
Beautiful log chalet-style cottages with picture windows overlook the rocky shoreline of Trout Lake, a 20-minute floatplane flight from Red Lake. The 400-square-kilometre lake has 388 islands and interesting structure providing plenty of places for trophy walleye, pike and lake trout. At Booi’s Fly-In Lodge you can cook your own meals or choose the all-inclusive plan.
Kesagami Wilderness Lodge
World-class northern pike fishing is what Kesagami Wilderness Lodge is all about. The weedy waters of giant Kesagami Lake average only 7-feet-deep and provide the perfect habitat for pike that regularly exceed 50 inches. A live release rewards program for pike and walleye help to ensure this trophy fishery into the future. This all-inclusive resort is a short floatplane ride from Cochrane.
Errington’s Wilderness Island
Wabatongushi Lake is within the Chapleau Game Preserve and great fishing for northern pike and walleye is joined by excellent opportunities to see wildlife like moose, bear and bald eagles. Waterfront log cabins and main lodge on the north end of this 35-kilometre-long lake are accessible by floatplane from Hawk Junction. Errington’s Wilderness Island offers all-inclusive and housekeeping plans.
Mar Mac Lodge
Long and narrow Esnagi Lake stretches 45 kilometres, with shorelines ranging from rocky bluffs to sand beaches. The log main lodge and guest cabins are built on a sheltered rock point close to some of the best fishing spots on Esnagi, which is known for its large walleye and pike. There are also portage trails to boat caches on brook trout and lake trout waters. Guests fly in to Mar Mac Lodge by floatplane from White River.
You can reach the beautiful log accommodations at the south end of 45-kilometre-long Esnagi Lake by floatplane from White River or by train at mileage 88 along the Canadian Pacific Railway. Many additions and improvements have been made at Lodge 88 since first opening in 1959, and the great fishing for big walleye and northern pike remains.
The giant Albany River widens to form Miminiska Lake about 375 kilometres north of Thunder Bay. The Albany system is famous for large and plentiful pike and walleye and a world-renowned brook trout fishery. At all-inclusive Miminiska Lodge fish the lake, explore the falls and rapids of the Albany River or fly fish for brook trout in its tributaries. This is one of several lodges owned by Wilderness North, accessible by floatplane from Thunder Bay or Nakina.
In the heart of 892,000-hectare Wabakimi Provincial Park, Whitewater Lake is home to woodland caribou and excellent walleye and pike fishing. Fish amongst the maze of islands and narrows of the main lake, or the inflow or outflow of the giant Ogoki River. Whitewater Lodge is one of several resorts owned by Wilderness North and consists of a main lodge and housekeeping cabins built along a sandy beach. It is reached by floatplane from Armstrong.
For more than 25 years a catch-and-release trophy program has helped to ensure excellent fishing for pike and walleye in 22-kilometre-long Esnagami Lake and great fly fishing for brook trout in the Esnagami River. Esnagami Lodge consists of a log main lodge and housekeeping cabins, a short floatplane flight from Nakina.
Old Post Lodge
Giant Lake St. Joseph south of Pickle Lake is 150 kilometres long and known for huge northern pike and plenty of walleye. Old Post Lodge is built on a sandy point of land that was once a meeting place for the area’s Indigenous Peoples and, in 1786, became the site of one of the first inland trading posts of the Hudson’s Bay Company. A restored church and Company store are part of the lodge that celebrates the history of the area as well as the world-class fishing. It is accessible by barge from the landing at the east end of the lake.
Pine Portage Lodge
At 40 kilometres long and 21 kilometres wide, Kabinakagami is the largest lake in the Algoma District and a popular walleye and northern pike angling destination. Pine Portage Lodge first opened in 1946 and continues as a family-run operation today. It is reached by floatplane from Wawa.
Alexander’s on Rowan
Rowan Lake is deep and clear with 60 islands and underwater structure holding an amazing variety of sport fish including walleye, northern pike, largemouth and smallmouth bass, lake trout and muskie. Alexander’s on Rowan consists of a main lodge and cabins, built on an island in the middle of a 30-kilometre-long lake and is accessible by floatplane from Nestor Falls.
Brace Lake Outfitters
With access to the walleye and pike fishing of Brace, Meta and Ara Lakes, Brace Lake Outfitters offers guests great fishing from 18-foot cedar strip boats based out of comfortable cabins built along the rocky shore of Brace Lake. This family-run fishing camp is a short flight from Nakina.
Last updated: October 18, 2023