Trophy Fishing at Branches Seine River Lodge

Discover fishing on the massive Seine River—it's filled with loads of different species.

Sunset Country in northwestern Ontario – you won’t find any place like it. There are over 70,000 lakes and rivers and finding uncrowded angling opportunities is never difficult. Sunset Country is located directly north of Minnesota, just 70 miles east of the Fort Frances/International Falls border. Nowhere else do the lakes offer such a variety of species. Trophy-size Smallmouth Bass, Walleye and huge Northern Pike, with some lakes offering musky.


One of these special places is Branche’s Seine River Lodge. Owned and operated by Quenten and Lori Branch. Recommended to those who want a drive to a location with outstanding smallmouth bass fishing, and that offers both housekeeping and American plans. The Seine River is very large, and it really seems like a chain of lakes. Best of all the structure of the lake spells “Smallmouth Bass” The river has many sunken islands, rock drop-offs and deep underwater humps.

The New Fly Fisher has been at Seine River Lodge a total of 3 times. Each visit is at a different time of year. Although Quenten will point you to the most productive waters here is what to look for in the spring, summer and fall.

Spring pre-spawn


Look for shallow back bays and shallow shorelines that warm up first. These conditions attract bait and thus attract smallmouth. Look for water temperatures that are between 55F and 60F (12C and 15C). Smallmouth Bass start to put on the feedbag when the water reaches that temperature. Cast tight to shore (almost onshore) around a rock or fallen wood. The bass primarily feeds on baitfish (cisco) or crayfish. Once the water reaches 70F the fish start to spawn, we recommend not fishing at this time of year.

Post Spawn

Once the spawning is over the fish will feed heavily to regain their strength. This is the magic time a popper works the best and the fun begins. Some of the largest fish of the season are caught with topwater poppers.



Once the water is too warm in the shallows the bass will move to deeper water but remain close to shallow water to feed in the morning and evening. This is when you look for sunken islands with sudden drop-offs to deep water. Also, look for deep water near shallow structures. This is when you search out beaver lodges near deep water and fallen trees. I find at this time of year streamers work best. The Gamechanger is one such streamer. Just deadly. Also, Scotty’s McFly.

Now, that said if the lake is dead calm in the morning or evening try a popper. I’ve seen smallmouth rise from deep water to take a noisy popper on the surface.



At this time of year, the fish are moving to deep water, and they start to school. In the fall if you find fish don’t leave. If you take one fish, chances are there are more in the vicinity. Fish mostly deep sunken humps. This is when the sonar is worth its weight in gold to find these underwater depth changes. Use full sinking lines and drag the bottom. Let the wind drift you over the humps and twitch the fly with your rod. You must slow down your presentation. Also, use a heavier rod such as a nine-weight to give you enough hooking power with the fish being deep. Fly lines do stretch a lot so the extra backbone of a heavier rod will increase your hooking averages.

Branches Seine River Lodge

Toll Free:1 (866) 443-4414
Local: (807) 947-2391

About Mark Melnyk

Currently, Mark is the host and producer of The New Fly Show. With a passion of fly fishing, the shows 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. 

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