Wilderness Walleye on the Chapleau River
There is something very special about planning a fishing vacation to one of Ontario's northern wilderness lodges for walleye.
How is the fishing? What are the accommodations like? When is the best time to go?
Thankfully, the www.northernontario.travel website is available to visitors all across the globe, assisting them with lake information, fish species selection, northern regions, and a host of awesome fishing lodges and resorts that do everything in their power to ensure your trip is a memorable one.
With so many locations, lodges, and lakes to choose from, how do you know which one is right for you?
On a recent road trip to Algoma Country, we visited one of these lodges, except it’s not on a lake. Instead, it's located on one of the most breathtaking, picturesque rivers we have ever fished, the Chapleau River from Kanipahow Wilderness Resort.
Pronounced (Ka-ni-pa-how), the owners of this resort, Joseé and Jamie, have carried on the tradition which has a history of over sixty-plus years of operation. They work hard to continue the tradition of excellent customer service and fulfill the promise of a true northern Ontario fishing and hunting experience out of their Chapleau, Ontario location, and four drive-in/boat-in wilderness outposts.
Upon our late afternoon arrival, we settled into our cabin on the water's edge and pondered our BBQ dinner options when the owners suggested we “go fishing” for the famous jumbo perch that call the Chapleau River home.
No one has to twist my arm to go fishing, so we grabbed a few rods, and some basic terminal tackle including slip bobbers, worm hooks, and sinkers, and off we went with Joseé, the Jumbo Perch Queen of the Chapleau River.
A short boat ride from the main resort put us onto the edge of some standing weed beds on a turn in the river. With our anchor in place, we literally fished right beside the boat in four to five feet of water, placing our hook and worm presentations right on the edge of the weeds, and not two minutes into making my first cast my slip bobber danced and popped a few times before shooting under, signalling a bite.
First fish in the boat, and what a fish it was! A jumbo yellow perch in the 14-inch class with a head and shoulders that resembled a Great Lakes yellow perch, but with awesome dark bars and magnificent coloration due to the stained water conditions of the river and weeds these jumbo perch reside.
I was impressed.
But it did not stop there.
Joseé and I came back to the resort with a small basket of fresh-caught jumbo perch, all in the 12- to 14-inch class, which would be cleaned for a future fish fry with other guests the next night.
I like this place.
Kanipahow Resort offers five fully-equipped modern waterfront cabins with housekeeping, satellite TV, WiFi, all the kitchen and cooking utensils you'll ever need, large clean beds, plenty of space for all of our fishing and filming gear, and an incredible view out of our large waterfront window to the slow-flowing Chapleau river.
The resort is located a short three hours north of Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario and also offers remote wilderness fishing at the outpost camps which have fully equipped housekeeping cabins with only one cabin per lake for a true northern setting offering incredible wildlife viewing and exceptional fishing for lake trout, walleye, northern pike, and whitefish.
Our plan was to fish for a few days with Bobby, the resort’s resident guide, who was born in the area and knows the river like the back of his hand. Bobby gave us a brief rundown of the places he wanted to fish for walleye—river turns and neck-down areas where the water flowed a little faster than the rest of the river and provided slightly deeper holes for the resident walleye population.
The boat rides both up and down the Chapleau River were half the fun. The pristine, wilderness setting of Northern Ontario truly is breathtaking regardless if you're visiting Algoma, Sunset Country, Northeastern Ontario, and any place in between—we truly are blessed to have these opportunities and unspoiled natural landscapes.
Bobby and I visited various “neck-down” areas where the current was slightly quicker than the main flats of the river and managed to catch some more walleye for our resort fish fry. I even managed to catch a bucket-list fish of my own—a true “blue walleye” while drifting a small jig head and minnow under a slip bobber through one of the neck down areas.
We had several additional opportunities to fish with the Jumbo Perch Queen and caught some larger jumbo perch and northern pike and had an absolute blast with these friendly folks.
Come north to Chapleau, Ontario once and I am sure you'll be hooked for life.