Birchland Cottages

great trophy fishing for big smallmouth bass

For many fly fishers, the search to find large smallmouth bass on a fly is a never-ending quest. Good news, there is a place in Northern Ontario that has bountiful numbers of large smallmouth bass… it is Algoma Country!

smallmouth bass with fly

(Photo credit: The New Fly Fisher)

In the region east of Sault Ste. Marie along the Trans-Canada Highway, there exists some incredible public access lakes and rivers that hold good populations of smallmouth bass. One of the best places to stay is at Birchland Cottages, located just off the highway near the small town of Thessalon. This drive-to facility is just over an hour from the Canada/American border or Sault Ste. Marie Airport!

colin mckeown smallmouth bass

(Photo credit: The New Fly Fisher)

Birchland Cottages is located on Clear Lake which has a very healthy population of smallmouth bass that range in size from two to six pounds. Of equal importance, they have numerous other lakes in the area with public access that have solid populations of smallmouth bass and other species. This means anglers can try different lakes every day!

rob larue smallmouth bass

(Photo credit: The New Fly Fisher)

Birchland Cottages has spacious and comfortable cabins that are perfect for anglers and their friends. From groups of two to eight, they have cabins that can accommodate everyone. The cottages have fully appointed kitchens with all dishes, cutlery, and appliances. You just bring your own food and spirits, then you are all set for a very affordable trophy fishing trip!

northern ontario loon

Northern Ontario loon. (Photo credit: The New Fly Fisher)

The best periods for catching smallmouth bass are May/June and September/October. Many of the lakes have large populations of smelt or other baitfish, which explains why the bass reach such massive average sizes. Because the bass are so large here, we recommend you use a minimum of size 6 weight rods, with most fly fishers using 7 weights for casting and fighting these big fish. It is important to bring a variety of flylines to explore all parts of the water column. You will need a floating line (bass tapers are best for turning over large wind-resistant flies), an intermediate line (for use with streamer patterns), and either a sink-tip or full-sinking flyline. Topwater action can be good in June and September, but the best results are obtained with streamers throughout the period.

jenna mckeown smallmouth bass

(Photo credit: The New Fly Fisher)
algoma hat and flys

(Photo credit: The New Fly Fisher)

Best patterns for May/June and September/October include streamers such as Murdich Minnows in white, white/brown, or white/green. White Zonkers with Bead-Heads are also deadly in sizes 4 or 6. For topwater action, poppers in sizes 6 to 8 in yellow, green, and black produce solid results.

murdish minnows

Close up of Murdich Minnows. (Photo credit: The New Fly Fisher)

Anglers who love catching giant smallmouth bass will love this region of Northern Ontario. Birchland Cottages is perfectly located to provide you with excellent access to great trophy fishing for big smallmouth bass... all at very affordable prices!


Birchland Cottages
PH: (705) 842-3356

jenna mckeown smallmouth bass

(Photo credit: The New Fly Fisher)
About Colin McKeown

Colin McKeown is the producer of The New Fly Fisher Television Series, and several documentary series for the Outdoor Life Network, the Discovery Channel and the History Channel. With a passion of fly fishing, Colin's goal is to help both novice and veteran fly fishers everywhere by giving them a top-quality fly fishing series that will make them better anglers. Known for his keen sense of humour, Colin has two wonderful children and is married to the most understanding and patient woman in the world. 

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