Exploring the Marten River System
It’s quite unique to be able to launch a boat in a river with access to a chain of lakes and a variety of fish species to choose from. That's just part of why I loved visiting the Marten River in Northeastern Ontario over the summer. Of course, the fishing was quite memorable too!
Checking in At Beaverland Camp
While in the area, I stayed at Beaverland Camp, located directly on the shores of the Marten River. Lori and Mike are wonderful and friendly hosts, both with a love of fishing and a great knowledge of the river system and the various lakes in the area. Beaverland Camp dates back to the early 1900s, once a logging camp, later becoming a fishing camp in the 1920s.
Lori and Mike have maintained the original charm of the camp while having made updates and additions to this now family-friendly, accessible resort. It is the perfect place to relax and enjoy the outdoors. This beautiful area is known for frequent moose and bald eagle sightings, among the other wildlife living here.
Beaverland Camp is located a quick boat ride from the entrance to Little Marten Lake. From there, you can also access Big Marten Lake, Bruce Lake, and McPhee Lake. Fish species in the area include walleye, lake trout, perch, smallmouth bass, northern pike, and more. With lots of rock shoals to navigate, be sure to chat with Lori and Mike before heading out on the lake. They have created a detailed map for guests, with suggestions for fishing hot spots as well. Upon arriving at the camp, Mike was so kind as to take us out for a quick ride in his boat to show us around the lakes.
Working the Shoreline
The following morning we started off picking up a few smallmouth basses at a honey hole recommended by Lori and Mike. We then worked our way around exploring shorelines on Big Marten Lake, which is where we spent most of our time. Our most effective presentation was a Ned Rig cast at sloping shorelines that had chunky rock and boulders. The shorelines with the absence of the stones didn’t produce much fish if any, so it was a fun pattern to catch on to.
Another popular presentation that worked was brightly coloured spinnerbaits as this water was tannic (tea coloured). I picked up my nicest smallmouth of the day off a sandy point and was actually able to sight fish this smallie. It’s always a thrill when you can watch them bite.
Giant Pike Sightings
A really unique and haunting experience also took place during our visit to the Marten River (in Big Marten Lake). Eric and I ventured into a bay that had some shallow scattered weeds sloping to deeper water. I was casting a spinnerbait and he was throwing a lipless crankbait.
As I worked my spinnerbait over the weed tops with Eric casting on the deeper side, I had a hit that didn’t fully commit and we both looked up to see a quick glimpse of the tail end of a pike booking in the other direction. It looked to be a large fish and we were both amped up. Moments later, Eric hooked up with a fish briefly that broke him off. It was definitely something big.
Eric quickly re-tied, putting on a spinner bait. Soon thereafter a giant pike swiped at his spinnerbait boat-side and missed. We both caught a glimpse of this fish and it was huge! "Are you sure there’s no musky in here?!” I asked half-jokingly.
There are not any musky on this river system but these pike sure were big. These sightings and missed chances were enough to keep us in the area for a while. We explored around some more and even had a nice gentleman on shore offer us a cold drink of water and a break from the sun, but we were too determined at getting another shot at a huge pike to accept! Still a lovely offer.
Unfortunately, we didn’t see another pike, but it was certainly memorable—and even a little haunting. I love big predators and those fish certainly gave us some excitement after a fun day of catching bass. We loved our experience on the Marten River!