A Remote Fishing Adventure with White River Air

A Do It Yourself fly-in fishing trip for Brook Trout

This spring I had the opportunity to do one of my favourite things—travel up to Northern Ontario with a friend for a do-it-yourself fly-fishing trip. Even better, the target species for this trip were right in my wheelhouse: light-rod Brook Trout between 12-17 inches. Needless to say, I could hardly wait to start packing and hit the road. I invited my good friend Rob Voisin to come along. In my experience, it's always best to have another person join you on these remote adventures…plus who wouldn’t love to indulge in some epic Brook Trout fishing with a friend.

Rob and I met one morning a few days before our trip to plan out the essentials for a remote DIY fishing adventure- food, safety equipment and (most importantly) fishing gear—and it wasn’t long before we were on the road. The drive from Southern Ontario was spectacular, with breathtaking scenery around virtually every bend. If you’re lucky on a drive through the north, you may even have the chance of seeing the odd moose or bear along the side of the highway. For those who don’t love road trips, you can also take the train from Sudbury straight to the town of White River. This is a great way to break the drive for those travelling a long way.

We got a room at a comfortable motel in White River when we arrived that evening. The whole travel experience to the outpost was very easy, with the airstrip only a quick five-minute drive from our motel, and a short twenty-minute flight with White River Air to our final destination. We were pleasantly surprised by how clean and welcoming the outpost was. There was even the fun bonus of indoor plumbing, an outpost first for both Rob and me. The two boats provided for us were in great shape. We had zero issues with the engines, and they were super easy to start—both key factors in a remote setting like this one. Finally, after getting everything set up and put away, it was time to fish.

The little lake we were on was 100% Brook Trout, and needless to say, Rob and I were just rearing to get our flies wet. The lake is bounded by two rivers, and we were hoping to have the chance to explore, as we’d been told that dry fly fishing can be phenomenal at certain times of the year, depending on the conditions. Unfortunately, the weather wasn't on our side during our stay, with high winds and very cold temperatures, but that didn't matter. We still had a lake full of Brook Trout to ourselves, and nothing but time. We put on sink tips, tied on mid-sized streamers, often favouring Woolly Buggers and Zonkers, and not surprisingly, got into the fish right away.

The action was steady all day long. We found the most success when fishing boulders and rockface walls. The average size was about 14 inches, which will definitely put a bend in a 4-weight rod and give you an epic fight. We even netted a few Brookies in the 17-inch range which were all coloured up, showing off their pure beauty.

Between the fishing, the BBQs, and the good conversations around the bonfires at night, Rob and I had a fantastic time. The DIY trips are all about getting away from civilization for a few days with family or friends, and if you plan them properly, they are about as much fun as an angler could hope for.

About Mikey Metcalfe

Mikey Metcalfe is a life long fly angler based in Fergus, Ontario. He is a Federation of Fly Fisher’s certified casting instructor who specializes in teaching beginner anglers the nuances of fly fishing, and runs the  Metcalfe School of Fly Fishing. The Grand River is his home water, but he guides all year in the tributaries of Southern Ontario.

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