More Than a Sport: Fly Fishing in Algoma

Whether you’re topwater crazy or love exploring the water column with streamers, there is no limit to fly fishing in Algoma.

As it is for many anglers, fly fishing is far more than just a sport to me. It’s a passion that was passed on to me by my father; a way that we have bonded and connected over the years as I grew up. It’s through this shared interest in fly-fishing that I developed a deeper love and appreciation for the outdoors, conservation, entomology… the list goes on and on. Needless to say, I’m always excited to head out on the water with my fly-rod and make new memories.

For those who may not know, fly fishing is rather different than conventional angling. While the goal of landing fish is the same, the equipment, casting method, and retrieve are all different. Fly fishing uses a fly-rod, fly-line, leader, tippet, and of course the fly. Just as in conventional fishing, the equipment may change depending on the species that you’re targeting. When I first started fly fishing about nine years ago, I definitely had a hard time! Despite having my dad as an incredible instructor, the skills needed for fly-fishing take time, patience, and persistence to acquire. From the very start, he was taking me up north to one of his favourite regions for fly-fishing in Ontario's Algoma Country.

This place holds a special spot in my heart and is still truly one of my favourite locations to fly fish. Algoma was the perfect setting for me to try and try again. As I became more proficient and my passion for fly-fishing grew, I was able to try new and more difficult techniques for different species, in more challenging water conditions, in all my favourite spots across the region. Over the years, I’ve continued to travel and explore this beautiful area of the province, as I find that the Algoma region is both incredibly accessible and diverse for fly anglers of all skill levels.

Algoma is a section of Northern Ontario filled with hundreds of lakes, rivers, and streams to choose from. Spanning over approximately 28,000 square miles, the adventures are endless, as you can find exceptional fishing in every pocket of the region. Whether you’re heading west from the town of Spanish to the city of Sault Ste. Marie and all the way to White River, or looking to travel further up north to the town of Hearst- there is no shortage of area to explore.

What’s more, Algoma is home to a variety of sought-after species. Boasting iconic species such as Walleye, Northern Pike, Smallmouth Bass, Largemouth Bass, Musky, Brook Trout, Steelhead, and depending on the time of year, both Pacific and Atlantic Salmon. What I personally appreciate about this multi-species fishery is that there is literally no end to the possibilities and options available. Throughout my years of fly-fishing in Algoma, I’ve had the privilege of staying at a variety of different lodges, resorts, and cottages, each one offering a unique, and often exceptional fly-fishing experience.

For example, as an avid smallmouth bass angler, there’s a section of Algoma I visit every year. Stretching from DeHavilland Bay west of Sault Ste. Marie, all the way to Spanish River, and north from Highway #17 about 30 miles, is an area of Algoma affectionately dubbed “Trophy Alley”. A title not given without merit; the area is known for holding high numbers of Trophy-sized fish… especially Smallmouth Bass, often between 4-6lbs. On top of this, as per the Ministry of National Resources, Algoma country resides in Zone 10… also known as Smallmouth bass and Largemouth bass fishing is open all season long! It should be noted that this all-season bass fishing is catch and release only; this protects the bass populations while allowing us anglers the thrill of the fight all year long.

This area of Algoma holds some incredible lodging options, depending on your needs! Most recently, I’ve loved visiting Birchland Cottages in Huron Shores, ON; Waterfalls Lodge, located near Spanish, ON; and The Outpost Lodge in Thessalon, ON. Each of these locations is nestled within “Trophy Alley” and allows access to not only epic smallmouth bass fishing but a plethora of other species as well.

When I’m really craving fly-fishing adventures with friends and family, I love to take advantage of the amazing fly-in options available within the region. My deep love for Northern Pike and wild Brook Trout on the fly always has me bring my friends along to fly-in lodges such as Esnagami Wilderness Lodge and Errington’s Wilderness Island Resort both perfect spots for family and friends to indulge in some epic northern flyfishing.

Whether you’re topwater crazy or love exploring the water column with streamers, there is no limit here in Algoma. From beginners to professionals, and everyone in between, all fly anglers are welcome. I have no doubt that, just like me, you’ll leave your heart (and maybe a fly or two) up here in Algoma.

About Jenna McKeown

Jenna McKeown has loved fishing since she was a young girl. Now as a young adult attending university, she has learned the basics of fly fishing. Like all good anglers, she welcomes instruction and education on all aspects of fly fishing and fish. She hopes to inspire other young girls and women to learn more about fly fishing and the great outdoors. Currently Jenna is attending university to become a teacher focused on one day instructing primary grade students in French. Jenna is a passionate singer, songwriter and guitarist. She produces much of the music used in The New Fly Fisher.

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