Big Hook Camps

Fly 185 miles north of Red Lake into the heart of Ontario's Opasquia Provincial Park.

This was my last trip to Canada to wrap up the 2023 season, and it was a memorable one for sure! Big Hook Wilderness Camps is located 185 air miles north of Red Lake, Ontario, in the heart of Opasquia Provincial Park. This destination features the most remote fly-in housekeeping outpost cabins in Northwestern Ontario, providing an exclusive retreat into the unspoiled natural beauty of Sunset Country​​.


Ryan Carlson, the owner and operator, has quite a diverse background. Previously a ski patroller in Colorado and a river guide, he also ran a property management business in Northern Minnesota. Ryan's passion for the Canadian wilderness inspired him to acquire a commercial pilot's license and fly in Montana and Alaska. He eventually returned to the Canadian Shield, taking over Big Hook Wilderness Camps from its former owners, the Hartle family. Ryan is the third operator since the camp's inception in 1974 and has made several significant upgrades, enhancing both its sustainability and guest comfort. These include the integration of solar and wind power, upgrading cabins, satellite communications at every location, solar-powered water pumps, fuel-efficient outboard motors, energy-efficient water heaters, and refrigerators, and using privately operated wheeled and float planes for flying in and out​​.


Central Lake, located at the hub of Big Hook Wilderness Camps, offers unique amenities like WiFi internet, a sauna, paddle boards, canoes, and guide services, all complemented by the presence of staff members and the friendly camp dog. The two guest cabins are separated by a long boardwalk, ensuring privacy and seclusion​​. Matt Smit and his family stayed in the big cabin on the other side of the camp. His first trip to Big Hook Camps was back in 1986 and has returned many times since. And to be able to bring his wife and three young daughters up there this time, was a dream come true. They even painted homemade lures to fish with! We all met up one afternoon for a group shore lunch. There’s nothing like trading fish stories over a plate of freshly caught walleye. No restaurant can top the views. This is a family-friendly destination that will create memories to last a lifetime. 


The big draws here are walleye and northern pike fishing, set against the backdrop of the boreal forest. During your stay, there’s a chance to see the Northern Lights too! The lake itself, approximately nine miles long and eight miles wide, is known for its slender channels shaped like a cross, providing ideal fishing spots. It has an average depth of thirty feet with numerous shoals and expansive weed beds, creating perfect conditions for fishing throughout the spring and summer. We caught a ton of walleye and some big pike! Walleye are peppered throughout the entire system, pick any fishy-looking spot and it’s a near guarantee to get bit. For pike, the shallow cabbage weed beds are key, especially if there’s current. It was fun watching them crush baits in the shallows, that never gets old! For lures, keep it simple. Snap jigging or slow reeling a small swimbait along the bottom for walleye worked excellently. For the big toothy critters, it’s tough to beat an inline spinner or spoon, find the weeds, find the pike.


The two cabins are well-equipped with amenities like kitchenware, comfortable bedding, hot showers, and staple foods. There’s nothing like starting the day with a hot cup of coffee and a bowl of yogurt and granola with fresh-picked berries… fishing fuel! Additional facilities include a propane grill, weekly fish fry, canoes, paddleboards, and WiFi​. The Lund boats you get to use are spacious, comfortable and perfect for navigating the lake. One afternoon, we parked the boat above a portage, it offered a fun little trek to non-stop walleye in the outflow. Big Hook Camps provides guests with a unique, remote Canadian fly-in fishing adventure.

To learn more about Central Lake and their other outpost camps, visit their website: 

About Troy Lindner

Troy Lindner is a co-host of The Ontario Experience airing on The Sportsman Channel. He was born and raised in Minnesota, which included many travels into Ontario, Canada growing up. The son of legendary angler, Al Lindner. Troy always enjoys journeying north across the border to experience the incredible fishing of Canada. A seasoned bass tournament fisherman, he has won over 40 events, including the 2016 Wild West Bass Trail AOY. His favorite fish to catch are smallmouth bass, with muskie being a close second. And Ontario waters offer trophy fishing adventures for both of these!

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