The Algoma Trifecta

Fishing for bass, brook trout, and walleye at Hidden River Lodge.

This shoot was an exciting one for Pete, the first solo mission of the year to a unique three-species lodge in the heart of Algoma CountryHidden River Lodge on Whitefish Lake.

Pete had three days to hook into all three of the species Algoma is renowned for, brook troutsmallmouth bass, and walleye.

Location One: Brookies

"I love a good scrap with a speedy little turbo-charged fish like a brook trout." —Pete Bowman. Photo credit: Fish'n Canada

Is there any better species to start a trip with than the always picturesque brook trout?

At this off-site location (not the lodge lake) we decided to put in half a day to see if we could pop a couple of brookies. Lakes like these in the Algoma Country honestly inspire us and keep us coming back for more every season.

For this lake, we simply did as we normally do on a strange waterbody, and that is trolling. There are three bait types we use in this situation, spinners, spoons, and minnow baits. This day turned into a spoon bite (two other anglers on the lake verified it for us).

The setup here was a 7-foot light action spinning rod coupled with a 1000-size reel. In this instance, Pete highly recommends moving up to a 2000 or 2500 spinning reel (he didn’t bother changing as my rig was already tied up) as they are quicker to reel in. Brook trout are notorious for peeling out lots of drag and then suddenly, turning 180 degrees and charging the boat. And there’s nothing you can do about it but reel as fast as you can. Bigger is better here.

For the bait, Pete was using a Little Cleo spoon in copper/red colour. For some reason that is unknown to us, that little colour combo is the bomb for these little brookie lakes.

Add a few of these in various sizes to your Brookie box… trust me!

Pete had his usual 10-pound test braid attached to an 8-pound fluorocarbon leader, and a snap/swivel combination since spoons will eventually twist your line.

For speed, simply look out over the side of the boat and watch the spoon work. We always try to go as slow as the boat will troll and then speed up from there if necessary. A nice wobble is all you need with a spoon.

That afternoon turned out to be a success with Pete catching a couple of gorgeous Specks.

They are such cool fish!

Location Two: Smallies

Day two was all about the smallies. For this leg of the trip, we travelled to the extreme top end of the pair of lakes (what a gorgeous boat ride). Once we got there, we fished two areas, both with incoming rivers or streams.

A chunky smallie that was sitting in a perfect current area of an Algoma river mouth.

We sat the Princecraft in both mouths of the fast-running water (pretty much a no-brainer for a shot at some fish). With crankbaits, Ned rigs, etc. in hand, Pete proceeded to whack em’ pretty darned good. He even dropped downstream on the main river mouth and popped a few Walleye that were schooled up no more than 50 feet from the smallmouth. SUPER FUN!

yozuricrankbait fnc-pete-bass-2
This little Yo-Zuri crankbait (3DB 1.5MR) is quickly becoming one of our favourites for a bunch of species, including the smallmouth on this trip

Location Three: Walleye


With two of the three Algoma staples checked off, it was time to seek out some walleye.

This portion of the shoot brought back some great memories for Pete. In talking to lodge owner Matt Risko, he highly recommended Slip Bobber fishing for some finicky walleye up the lake.

“I was instantly in,” said Pete. “I love using some kind of float for species of fish that aren’t normally associated with float fishing.”

Although we had already fluked into some walleye at the river mouth, we had another location in mind.

On the way into our smallmouth spot, we found a narrowed-down area of the lake, as well as a small area of boulders along the shoreline in that set of narrows. With the help of our Garmin, we instantly found a nice school of Walleye hiding among the rocks with my LiveScope unit. This technology is scary good!

echo map screen
The circled area of our EchoMap screen shows the group of walleye that we were casting our slip bobber to.

This trip was a perfect situation for using a slip float. The walleye were finicky and they were tucking themselves into weird little hard-to-hit places. One, in particular, was a little indent in a big boulder. There was no way I could cast a moving bait like a crankbait, a minnow bait, a spinner, etc. If I were to try a regular jig and live bait, I would have snagged on every third cast. The slip float put my bait directly in front of the walleye.

Pete’s setup included a 7’ medium action spinning rod along with a 2500-size reel, spooled up with 8-pound T7 Fluorocarbon. He used straight fluoro here. Had he used my typical spinning setup of braid to fluoro leader, the knot that is needed to join fluoro to braid would hinder the float from slipping down to the jig.

Speaking of which, a slip float rig consists of a float or bobber stopper, a sliding float (hole directly up the center) and normally a jighead and some kind of live bait. On this shoot, it was live leeches.

slip float rigging
A slip float, a stopper and a jig head are all you need to get started in this deadly technique

Our Stay: Hidden River Lodge

Hidden River Lodge

Opportunities like this one are available all over Algoma Country, but Hidden River Lodge was unique in having all three species in one convenient and comfortable place.

Owner/operator Matt Risko knows this area like the back of his hand and always has his finger on the pulse of current fishing patterns.

The lodge offers both an American Plan, which includes all meals, as well as a Housekeeping Plan, in which you prepare your own meals in a cottage.

Either plan is a great way to spend a fishing vacation.

To get here, Pete first drove north on Hwy 400 to Hwy 69. He next turned west on Hwy 17 near Sudbury. Next, he turned northeast onto Hwy 101 at Wawa. He finally turned left onto Whitefish Lake Road, taking him to Hidden River Lodge. As you could see from this episode, there are many fishing opportunities available at Hidden River Lodge.

About Fish'n Canada

As one of the original pioneers of Canadian adventure television, the Fish'n Canada Show has been broadcasting their pursuit of the ultimate adventure for over 30 years. Hosts Angelo Viola and Pete Bowman educate and entertain audiences with their passion and enthusiasm for fishing. Both are inductees in the Canadian Anglers Hall of Fame. Check out their episodes and video on the Fish'n Canada YouTube Channel and like them on Facebook!