Top 10 Ontario Fly Fishing Hotspots

Ontario is home to 400,000 lakes, rivers, and streams.

Every spring, the crew at The New Fly Fisher starts comparing notes about the fly fishing season ahead: favourite streams we’ve been dying to get back to, new spots we’ve heard good things about, and our favourite lodges and outfitters from years passed.

With 400,000 lakes, rivers, and streams in Ontario, it can be daunting to know where to start, even if you’ve been fishing Ontario for decades. After long discussions, some thumb wrestling, and solitary reflection, we’re proud to present our list of the Top 10 Ontario Fly Fishing Hotspots we’re most excited about. What criteria did we use for picking a hotspot? Affordability, great fishing, and accessibility were critical to our list.

From April to November, these 10 Fly Fishing Hotspots offer a wide range of angling challenges. Fly fishing for massive northern pike on a fly has really grown in popularity, and Northern Ontario lodges offer some great locations to catch them with big streamers and topwater flies in shallow water.

Smallmouth bass are particularly popular with fly fishers because they are such strong fighters. Smallmouth bass here are commonly caught in 5- to 7-pound sizes on a fly! Best patterns for smallies include Clouser minnows, muddlers, poppers (especially in yellow), crayfish patterns, and woolly buggers.

For those that love brook trout, Ontario has some truly exceptional dry fly action to offer. Brook trout in Northern Ontario average 2-3 pounds and specimens up to 8-10 pounds can be caught. Fly fishers should bring a wide range of flies for brookies including dry flies (Adams, stimulators and caddis patterns); for streamers, we recommend woolly buggers and muddlers. Don’t forget to bring some mice patterns as big brook trout here love to eat these small rodents of the forest. The takes are explosive and violent when brook trout are on mice.

Steelhead fly fishing on the St. Marys River in Sault Ste. Marie is outstanding! Whether you want to use single or double-handed rods, there are lots of big steelhead to catch with a swung fly. The St. Marys is popular because there is lots of room to fish and best of all, you never know what you will catch. All the hosts of The New Fly Fisher liked to call it a “box of chocolate fishing” because you never know what you will get! The river has Pacific salmon, Atlantic salmon, lake trout and even brown trout!

The hosts of The New Fly Fisher love coming to fish in Ontario and this list of 10 Ontario Hotspots will help you to discover some of the outstanding fly fishing that exists for anglers – all within a reasonable budget!

Sault Ste. Marie Steelhead

Location: Sault Ste. Marie
Main Species: trout, salmon
Why it is famous: Great abundant fishing, reasonable cost and easy travel
Video: Guided Fly Fishing in Sault Ste. Marie

Sutton River Brookies

Location: Polar Bear Park / Hudson Bay with Hearst Air Service
Main Species: brook trout
Why it is famous: world-class brook trout fishery
Video: Brook Trout on Mice Patterns

Perth Area Bass

Location: Perth and Surrounding Area
Main Species: smallmouth bass
Why it is famous: affordable, superb bass fishing

Hawk Lake Lodge

Location: Sunset Country
Main Species: smallmouth bass
Why it is famous: catch and release policy has led to big, strong and aggressive smallmouth 
Video: Big Smallmouth Topwater Action

Fireside Lodge

Location: Little Vermillion Lake near Sioux Lookout in Sunset Country
Main Species: smallmouth bass, northern pike, muskie
Why it is famous: for trophy-size smallmouth bass
Video: Fireside Lodge offers some of the best topwater Smallmouth action around

Kag Lake Pike

Location: Nakina with Leuenberger Air Service
Main Species: northern pike, walleye, brook trout
Why it is famous: the pike are big, numerous and very aggressive. The hidden bonus of brook trout!
Video: Kag Lake: Monster Northern Pike on a Fly

Brace Lake Outfitters

Location: Nakina
Main Species: northern pike, walleye
Why it is famous: superior service and fishing.
Video: Brace Lake Outfitters: Spring fed lake mean Big Northern Pike for Fly Fishers

Agich’s Kaby Kabins

Location: Kabinakagami Lake
Main Species: northern pike, walleye
Why is it famous: early season pike fishing
Video: Algoma Country’s Kaby Kabins: Known for Walleye fishing, find out how Fly Fishers catch Northern Pike

Kesgami Lake Wilderness Lodge

Location: Kesagami Provincial Park in Northeastern Ontario
Main Species: northern pike, walleye
Why is it famous: massive trophy pike
Video: Kesagami Lake Wilderness Lodge offers large and aggressive Northern Pike, perfect for Fly Fishers

French River

Location: Northeastern Ontario between Lake Nipissing and Georgian Bay
Main Species: muskie, walleye, bass
Why is it famous: It’s a fly fishing mecca
Video: French River Muskie: The best fly fishing in Ontario

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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