Spring Smelt Fishing in Ontario

Algoma Country is a smelt fisher's paradise.

I’m sure everyone’s anxious to get out onto the water, once the ice completely melts, and start catching some fish from the boat. Luckily, Sault Ste. Marie and Algoma Country in Ontario, Canada have some of the best smelt fishing in the province.

Every season, I'll make my daily drive over the St. Joseph Island Bridge and see more and more open water emerging which is always exciting. Heavy rainfall makes the ice disappear more quickly. Soon, everywhere I can see is open water. Even though ice fishing is a ton of fun, it’s time to get back onto the open water and do some smelt fishing in Ontario!      

Carter Dorscht4

When Is Smelting Season? 

Smelting season starts in the spring when the ice melts. Last season, I got out for the first time April 27th in Gawas Bay on St. Joseph Island. I would say there were about twenty other people there that night. While the smelts weren’t running full force yet, we netted enough over the course of about an hour and a half, for a decent-sized snack. They were delicious! I went back again the next night and had a lot more success. Between the four of us, we managed to get a decent haul. We also tried out some of our secret spots, but there were only a few smelts to be found. They should be running at peak in the next night or so. However, the recent rain has increased the water levels and they may be more difficult to find.


Lake Trout and Whitefish

Spring also marks the opening of many fishing seasons in the area. April 26th fishing season opened up on Big Basswood Lake back behind Thessalon, which becomes a fish sanctuary from October 1st to the 4th Saturday in April. There was still enough ice left on the lake to safely fish and I saw many pictures of some nice lake trout and whitefish pulled out through the holes.

Smallmouth Bass

Since 2014, smallmouth bass is open year-round in most parts of Ontario Fisheries Management Zone 10. Zone 10 covers all inland lakes in our area. This is exciting news for many local bass anglers, who’ve usually had to wait until late June to catch smallmouth.  

Northern Pike

May 1st marks the opening of northern pike in Zone 14.  Zone 14 covers the St. Mary’s River and out into Lake Huron.  Walleye also opens up on this day for Zone 14, but there is a major exception for our area.  From the locks in the Sault east down the St. Mary’s River to Eagle Point, walleye does not open until the 15th of May.  Walleye opens back up again in Zone 10 on the 3rd Saturday in May, which is the 17th this year.  As I mentioned above, Zone 10 covers all the inland lakes in the area.  Make sure that you refer to the Ontario Fishing Regulations for more information on what I mentioned above.

Carter Dorscht5

I’ll be out fishing as much as I can over the next few weeks, before heading to Lake of the Woods for the summer.  

Good luck to everyone as they begin their spring fishing!

Algoma Country is home to some of the very best fishing in the world. There are many resources available to help anglers discover everything this region has to offer, and the best place to start—for tips, tricks, outfitter information, vacation packages, and more—is the official Algoma Country Tourism website:

About Carter Dorscht

Carter Dorscht is the owner of Fishing Algoma which promotes fishing within the Algoma District.  He was raised on St. Joseph Island and has been fishing his whole life.  Carter mainly fishes for walleye, northern pike and smallmouth bass during the summer and lake trout through the ice in the winter.  He is proud to be on the Pro Staff Team for both Amundson Outdoor Products and Denali Rods.


You can visit www.fishingalgoma.com find out more about fishing in Algoma. Fishing Algoma started out as an Instagram account created by Carter Dorscht in July of 2013.  The account quickly became very popular and gained many followers.  Soon afterwards, a Facebook and Twitter account was created for Fishing Algoma.  Their purpose was to do more than just post photos.  They provided followers with information about fishing in the Algoma District.  Due to their success as well, the website was created so that even more information could be accessible! Visit Fishing Algoma's FB page!


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