Hidden Musky Gems

From Stoco Lake to Lake Nosbonsing, there are loads of amazing waters to fish for muskies in Ontario. Learn why these hot spots are a must-visit for anglers.

Ontario, Canada is known for its many large and popular musky waters, however, there are many hidden gems adjacent to these famous waters that are overlooked musky hot spots. These smaller and more manageable musky waters are located across the entire province. A few of my favourites include the Indian Lake Chain in Northwest Ontario, Stoco Lake in Eastern Ontario, and Lake Nosbonsing north of Toronto.


Steve Heiting and Jim Saric with one of many muskies caught from the Indian Lake Chain.

Located approximately 150 miles north of International Falls, Minnesota, the Indian Lake Chain is a drive-to destination where muskies abound and are located within the shadow of Eagle Lake. The Indian Lake Chain is comprised of nine lakes that make up some 30 miles of fishable musky water. There are a variety of clear and stained lakes that provide you with multiple options regardless of the conditions. Plus, each individual lake isn’t that large, so regardless of any weather conditions, you have lots of places that are fishable and hold muskies. The great thing about the Indian Chain is that it is loaded with muskies, and is a sure bet for a tremendous experience.

I have stayed at Indian Lake Lodge which is an awesome resort on Indian Lake  It has nice cabins, a great docking facility and its own boat launch. Pull up to the resort, unpack your gear and you can catch muskies within sight of camp. In fact, we filmed an entire episode of The Musky Hunter within sight of camp!

Indian Lake Lodge has great cabins and its own boat launch.

The Indian Lake Chain has a lot of obvious-looking spots such as rocky points, weedy bays and humps. Any rocky shoreline can produce muskies, and likewise, it seems like every weedy bay we fished held muskies as well. Bucktails, minnow baits and topwater get the nod on the Indian Lake Chain. Plus, you don't have to fish giant lures on the Indian chain, and most of the bucktails we fished were with size 8 and 9 blades and the minnow baits were seven inches in length.

The Indian Lake Chain does produce a couple of 50 inchers every year, but it’s most well-known for action. If you want to catch several muskies in a day in the 35-45 inch range and have lots of follows, this is the place to fish.


Casting at Sunset on Stoco lake.

Located in eastern Ontario in the town of Tweed is Stoco Lake, which is part of the Moira River. It’s not a giant lake, but it’s loaded with muskies and there are plenty of spots for them to hide. In fact, when filmed there we encountered muskies in almost every spot we tried. We stayed at Beachwood Hollow Resort. The resort is right on the water, has multiple cabins, is clean and well-maintained and is a quiet escape. It is just outside the town of Tweed, which has anything else you may need for your vacation.

There are lots of spots with weeds and the key is fishing the weed edges. Several of the islands had large weed flats that extended toward deep water and when we fished them we found multiple muskies. Both the entrance and exit of the Moira River have shallow weed-filled areas that were musky magnets. Several mid-lake rock humps exist as well. Finally, you can pick almost any bay and find weeds and muskies.

As musky anglers, we all want to know what’s the hot lure. During our trip, we had action from bucktails, topwater and soft plastics. If you are looking for something special check out Stoco Lake, the Moira River, or even Moira lake which is just 15 minutes away. All of these areas offer plenty of musky water to keep you busy and get away from the crowds.


Sunrise at Big Moose Camp on Lake Nosbonsing

Lake Nosbonsing is approximately 3 hours north of Toronto, just south of North Bay.  Most anglers frequent this area to fish the famed Lake Nipissing, but although overlooked Lake Nosbonsing offers some great musky fishing.

While filming The Musky Hunter we stayed at Big Moose Camp. The cabins were incredible and the sunrise view overlooking the lake was breathtaking. Big Moose Camp has its own boat launch and a great docking facility to keep your boat safe.  It’s easy to drive to the resort, launch the boat and go musky fishing.

Lake Nosbonsing is only six miles long but it is filled with lots of great musky spots and is fishable in any weather condition. It’s stained water with approximately five feet of visibility. It seems every point has nice weeds extending into deep water, also many of the bays have deep weeds to 11 feet. Add the fact that there are several mid-lake humps that are either rock or have weeds in the center, and you'll understand why this lake a musky angler’s paradise.

Jim Saric with a big musky from Lake Nosbonsing.

You will want to cast bucktails and topwater in the shallow weeds or fish crankbaits, jerkbaits and Medussas along the deeper weeds. Also, out from the weeds, several of the points extend deeper into the basin beyond the weeds. Casting Medusas along these deeper rocks can be effective.

If you are looking for smaller musky water that’s just north of Toronto that will allow you to fish in any conditions, and provide opportunities for giants, Lake Nosbonsing is a perfect choice.

Whether you have a smaller boat, want more manageable water, or simply crave a secluded musky experience with much less boating traffic, check out one of the above-mentioned hidden gems. There are several other smaller waters located across Ontario, so never underestimate how good these fisheries can be.

About Jim Saric

Jim owns Jim Saric Outdoors, Inc., which is dedicated to elevating the sport of musky fishing to new levels by educating anglers through print, web, and television. He is the publisher, editor and owner of Musky Hunter Magazine and the Executive Producer of The Musky Hunter television series. Jim has over twenty-five years experience fishing lakes, rivers, and reservoirs from Minnesota to New York and all across Canada. He has boated more than 100 muskies exceeding 50 inches in length, the largest weighing 53 pounds.

Recommended Articles

Four Seasons of Bass in Ontario

Northern Ontario is home to year-round bass.

5 Places to Shore Fish

Fish’n Canada shows you where to go shore fishing in Ontario.

Lake of the Woods

10 Facts You Didn't Know

Top 5 Flies for Smallmouth Bass

The inside scoop on bass flies from the hosts of The New Fly Fisher.

Discover the 3 Best Bass Fishing Lakes in Ontario

Check out these lakes for hard-fighting smallmouth bass on your next fishing trip to Northern Ontario.

Top 5 Baits for Smallmouth and Largemouth Bass

What baits do you use to target bass? Find out why these 5 are the best!

3 Great Ontario Walleye Destinations

Karl of Extreme Angler recommends must do walleye lakes in Ontario.

Dream Fishing Trips

These two Ontario lodges, just across the border from Minnesota, offer anglers the chance to fish multiple species.

Fishing and Foraging

Add some fresh foods and forage to your fishing adventures!

Terrestrial Flies for Brook Trout

These fish feed like crazy and look for opportunities for a big protein meal.

Don’t Be Afraid Of Muskies

Muskies are fish of 10,000 casts and are found in large bodies of water in Northwestern Ontario.

5 Canoe & Kayak Fishing Destinations

Where to go canoe and kayak fishing in Ontario.

Eating Northern Pike

The Best Recipe to Cook This Fish

Ontario Brook Trout

Fish these 10 sweet spots.

Catching Ontario Walleye

Pro Tips for Bait and Walley Presentations

Planning for Pike

Start Planning for Trophy Fishing

Five Brook Trout Flies

What flies to bring when fishing for brook trout.

Top 10 Fly Patterns for Brook Trout

Learn Brook Trout Fly Pattern Choices for Surface Fly Fishing

Top 5 Musky Destinations in Ontario

The Musky Hunter shows you where to land the best musky in Ontario waters.

Wind, Cloud & Walleye

How Weather is Important to Walleye Anglers