Accessible Paradise

Noganosh Park's lakes and rivers is populated with monster pike and feisty bass

If you’re looking for a place to paddle, to camp among stout white pine, catch trophy bass and pike—and not drive endless hours to get there—then try Noganosh Lake Provincial Park. The 3,000-hectare protected area was formed in 2003 through Ontario’s Living Legacy initiative, and long before it became a park where I’d paddle, camp, and fish. It’s always offered a perfect place for me to escape busier areas like Algonquin to the east, Georgian Bay to the west, and the French River to the north.

Getting There Is Half the Fun

There are several ways to access Noganosh, including two public launches west of the town of Loring, but Tornados Resort and Pine Grove Resort are my preferred options. They’re just east of Fleming Landing, and for a small fee provide a secure place to park your vehicle. They’re also nice places to spend a night before or after your trip. At Tornadoes, you can even book a bush plane into Noganosh or countless other lakes in the area.

From either resort, you launch into the Pickerel River which is simply an extension of Kawigamong Lake—named after the steamboat that worked the area lakes in the early 1900s. Paddle west for 6 km before veering south at Long Island to the first of three short portages along Smoky Creek.

kevin callan northern pike
Kevin Callan hoists a chunky northern pike from the Noganosh Provincial Park area in Northeastern Ontario. (Photo credit: Kevin Callan)

Bass, Pike and Unlimited Exploration

Noganosh is an unmaintained provincial park—which basically means it’s a free place to explore. You can spend an entire week paddling and camping on the four lakes that connect to Smoky—Noganosh, Last, John, and Mud Lakes. All as beautiful as Smoky, and all populated with monster pike and feisty large and smallmouth bass. There’s a lot of water to explore, and many appealing islands and outcrops to camp on.

I find the trick for large smallmouth is to locate semi-hidden rocky shoals on Smoky and Noganosh Lakes, casting where other anglers haven’t even considered. My preference, however, is to fish John and Mud Lakes. Massive largemouth bass and pike lurk in the weeds, and they love grabbing surface lures.

No matter which lake you choose, you can dangle your line over the canoe gunwale anywhere amongst the wilds of Loring-Restoule Region and catch a fish. This chunk of lakes, rock, and pine is an absolute dreamscape.

About Kevin Callan

Kevin Callan is the author of fifteen books, including the bestselling The Happy Camper, and a popular series of paddling guides. He has been a key speaker at all the major outdoor events for over 25 years. Callan is also a frequent guest on radio and television and a regular contributor to Explore and CanoeRoots Magazine. He is a winner of several National Magazine Awards and film awards and was listed as one of the top 100 modern-day explorers by the Canadian Geographical Society. He was also made Patron Paddler for Paddle Canada.

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