Ontario’s North Country ATV Trout Tour

Two of the best things about Northern Ontario, together as they should be! Here are some choice ways to find the best trout fishing, while also getting out on your ATV.

What’s more fun than touring on an all-terrain vehicle (ATV) in search of a secret trout lake? Touring on an ATV in search of trout in Ontario’s north country! There are certain adventurous and truly organic elements to cruising backwoods trails in search of quiet corners to cast a line. Please join me as I tour Ontario’s wily north on my trusty ATV, on a spring quest to find nature’s most perfect fish, the beloved trout. I just happen to know a couple of good stops that fit perfectly with this awesome springtime combo!

Algonquin Provincial Park

a smiling man holding up a large brook trout, with lake, blue sky and spruce forest in the background.
ATVing to find Algonquin Park's iconic brook trout — what could be finer?

Besides being Ontario's largest, oldest, and most popular park, Algonquin Park is an ideal place for an ATV trout adventure. With more than 7,500 square kilometres of pristine wilderness, a dozen established campgrounds, thousands of off-the-grid tenting opportunities, 450-plus kilometres of trails to choose from and more than 1,500 lakes, Algonquin is an ATV trout fishing paradise. Off-roaders will find loads of ATV opportunities in Algonquin, covering every skill level. Check out the best trails here! This magical park has an ATV trout adventure for everyone.

Auld Reekie Lodge

a person in a camouflage jacket and blue life vest casting a fishing rod. Green spruce forest, rock shores and dark lake water are in the background.

A short drive north to Gowganda brings ATV trout enthusiasts to their next stop: Auld Reekie Lodge. Auld Reekie is a truly special place, where off-roading and trout fishing come together in a beautiful way! Enthusiasts have access to brookie opportunities on two of the Lodge’s backcountry lakes, plus bonus access to another ‘secret’ lake holding stocks of the coveted Aurora trout. I have caught this beautiful strain of brook trout and they are indeed unique, only found in a small handful of lakes in Ontario and Quebec. These lakes offer good trout fishing, where fish in the 0.5 to 1.5-pound range are commonly caught. If you should catch an Aurora, please release it safely and quickly to help preserve the species. For more information on Auld Reekie, visit their website.

a smiling man in blue coat and sunglasses holding up a large aurora trout. Green spruce forest and lake water are in the background.
Auld Reekie Lodge provides an opportunity to catch rare Aurora trout.

Temagami Shores Inn

a wooden dock with motor boat next to it in a large glassy lake at sunset, with tall spruce trees in the foreground
Temagami Shores Inn offers perfect trout spots and everything else you need —including a hot meal to go!

Let’s load up the bikes and head south on Highway 11, towards Temagami Lake and Temagami Shores Inn, a family-run operation and lodge which caters to off-roaders and trout anglers alike!  Located on the northeast arm of Lake Temagami, it's an extremely deep lake boasting great catches of lake trout. The lodge staff will outfit clients with everything they need to find trout. Anglers can even arrange with staff at Temagami Shores to prepare hot meals in advance such as pots of stew, chili or soup each day to bring along with them on their ATV.  Sounds like a dream to me!

Guided ATV Tour

a red ATV parked on a dirt trail, surrounded by lush green forest. A large section of the trail in the background is flooded with water.
A guide can introduce you to the best trails as well as the best fishing spots. // Photo credit Mattawa ATV Guide Service

Those ATV riders in need of some ‘North Country Guidance’ should consider calling Richard Pentiluk, owner of Mattawa ATV Guide Service in Mattawa. Pentiluk’s tour packages cover every conceivable ATV interest, catering to families with little to no experience or equipment, to those who already own their own machines. Mattawa ATV Guide Service is recommended for anyone not yet acquainted with the magnitude of the trails in this region.

ATV Requirements

With regulations always in mind, riders please note that your machine must meet certain requirements. Your ATV must be less than 1.35 meters wide (excluding mirrors), and weigh 450 kg or less. It should also have low-pressure bearing tires, be registered, display a rear license plate and possess insurance under an Ontario motor vehicle policy.  All ATVs also need to meet the motor vehicle safety standards prescribed for off-road use in the Motor Vehicle Safety Act and be equipped with an appropriate service brake and a brake light on the rear of the vehicle.

two people wearing helmets and sittting on a red ATV, in front of lush green forest and a lake.
Lake scouting: be sure to check out the applicable fishing regulations, wherever you choose to go.

Trout Fishing Season Near Algonquin Park

Along with the requirements for your ATV are the standard fishing regs for the species and regions you plan to fish. For trout fishing around Algonquin Park and Mattawa, Fisheries Management Zone (FMZ) 15 regulations apply. The trout season runs from January 1 - September 30, with catch limits of 2 lake trout under standard license and 1 lake trout under conservation permit. For brook trout in FMZ 15, the limit is 5 fish using standard license and 2 fish on conservation permit. For the rest of Northern Ontario, or FMZ zones 8 and 11, the lake trout catch limit is 3 fish on regular license and 1 under conservation. Please consult Ontario regulations for more details.

ATV Etiquette & Safety

Finally, some important safety precautions are required while operating an ATV, and proper etiquette and decorum are also necessary.  Be mindful of private property and never use excessive speed on nature trails, while considering possible damage to the terrain. Avoid sensitive wetlands, minimize tree and shrub cutting and avoid discarding waste along the trails. Practice catch and release wherever possible, and drive safely. 

Enjoy Ontario's north country as you cruise the trails in search of trout. I hope to see you all out there!

About Jeff Morrison

Jeff Morrison is an award-winning outdoor writer, book author, and nationally-syndicated newspaper and magazine columnist.

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