The Bear Hunt Is BACK

marten river is a top destination for bear

Up the ridge, beyond the wetlands, something was moving through the late summer foliage. Soon, two bear cubs stepped into the open, then, more cautiously, a sow.

Even from 100 yards, she looked exceptional. Her back was as high as the bait barrel which she cleared of rocks with alarming ease. Though she was easily 300 pounds, I never shot. Her cubs were too small. Even so, it was a great start to my late-August hunt at Marten River Lodge.

Situated on a scenic, 24-kilometre stretch of the Marten River that provides fine fishing between hunts, the lodge is definitely unique. There's a tennis court, ATV rentals, satellite TV, Internet access, dartboards, a pool table, horseshoe pits, a basketball court, and a fine beach to ensure you're never bored. Add to that a tuck shop, dining hall, nine cottages, and RV hookups and you've got a hunting and fishing oasis in the midst of northern Ontario.

beach front marten river lodge

(Photo credit: Randy Therrien)

Customer service, second to none

Modern, clean, log cabins boast all the conveniences, and bottles of locally made wine and maple syrup awaited us on the kitchen table. We soon discovered that this hospitality and attention to detail is what sets this place apart.

interior of cabin marten river lodge

(Photo credit: Randy Therrien)

Owners Tom and Nadine Rinow know a thing or two about customer service. Tom was formerly a Vice-president of Operations and Customer Service at a major U.S. airport; Nadine was a Manager of Operational Performance.

Exceptional services like the cleaning, maintenance, and vacuuming of rental boats after every outing were the norm. The meals were amazing too. And, each night, after the hunt, the hunters and guests would circle the campfire for drinks and hors d'oeuvres, listening for the call that signaled another bruin down.

No shortage of bears

During that week, every hunter had several opportunities, and four out of five filled tags. Mine came on the second last day, when I glimpsed a small black back clearing the rise, 60 yards away. It wasn't a trophy, but my schedule didn't allow another bear hunt that season, so I took it.

One well-placed shot put it down in less than 10 yards. And though guides Dave Simpson and Bill Tregenza teased me for picking on a little guy, I was happy.

Better bears were taken, including a 350-pounder that Shane Futrell of Michigan arrowed -- one of seven that visited his bait that night. Two others also took bears exceeding 200 pounds. And the last hunter passed upon several.

The lodge caters to anglers from mid-May to the end of October, with guided trips to backcountry lakes available. Pike, walleye, lake trout, smallmouth bass, and panfish as well as moose and grouse hunting opportunities exist. Our fishing on the Marten River yielded some impressive smallmouth bass and perch. Others caught walleye and pike.

Marten River Lodge
36 Marten River Road, Marten River ON P0H 1T0 Canada
PH: (705) 892-2351 or Toll Free 1-800-561-2067

About Steve Galea

Steve Galea is best known as a humour columnist, but if it relates to hunting or fishing, he's serious about it. As upland game editor, he enjoys spending time in tangled places gunning for ruffed grouse and woodcock, especially in good company. When he's not there, he's chasing turkeys, stalking squirrels, hunting waterfowl, pursuing whitetails, or fly fishing. It really just depends on the season.

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