Fly Fishing in Northwest Ontario

A World Class Fly Fishing Destination in Ontario's Superior Country

Today is the day! We are headed north of Nakina to the world renowned Albany River system with Wilderness North in Ontario's Superior Country. A key waterway in the fur trade and development of the north, we head to Miminiska Lodge in search of brook trout, pike and walleye…on the fly. As the plane touches down on the runway behind Miminiska Lodge, you can feel the excitement in the air sizzle. With a cheer, the door opens, and we are welcomed by the lodge staff. We make our way up to the lodge for orientation and a quick bite to eat, before heading to our cabins to gear up and head out.

Today we are on the hunt for big pike and of course, native brookies. After a quick rundown of the motor and boat, we head with a map, our downloaded GPS app, a packed lunch, and determination for our mission. Our first stop is Mim Falls, located at the outflow of the Albany River. We haul the boat up on shore and wade down near the falls and cast in the rapids, among the boulders. We throw dry files. I finally relax and let the repetitive motion of my casts calm my soul. It’s the first time using my new 6 weight rod, I watch the flies skip on the water and finally my persistence pays off and I’ve got one on the line. I reel in a beautiful 16-inch brookie, take a pic and release it back. We hook into several more respectable ones ranging in the 13–17-inch range. When our arms tire, we decide to call it a day and head back to the lodge for some pre dinner cocktails and a homemade dinner. Heading back to the cabin, we spend some time star gazing, it’s amazing how much light is still in the sky at this time of the year. 

We wake up to the sound of coffee being delivered and I rush out to enjoy my first cup on the deck as the sun rises. What a spectacular sight. Properly caffeinated, we head to lodge for breakfast and chat with the staff about the day’s plans. Today is a big day, we are headed to Eskakwa Falls—an all-day guided experience, we rush through breakfast and make our way to the dock to meet our guide, Keith.  Within minutes we are off to Snake Falls. After an hour’s boat ride, several bald eagle sightings and one almost run in with a caribou, we arrive. We heel up to shore and hike the trail up past the rapids. Water level is still high, so the sounds of the rushing rapids lead us to the head of Snake Falls. It’s early in the season, so brook trout can be found hunting in the foam in the eddies right along Snake Falls. The waters between Snake Falls and Middle Falls are littered with large boulders and have many icy cold creeks running into them. This is the perfect habitat for beautiful brookies, lying in wait in the cooler waters. Once we get to Middle Falls, we leave the canoe and walk along another cleared portage trail, where a drift boat is ready to jump into and we make our way upriver to Upper falls. We stop in several “fishy” spots along this stretch of water—we catch and release a dozen fish along our way. I’m throwing a wooly bugger and Chernobyl ants. Keith takes us to his secret spot, a place the locals call “God’s Ice Box” a small creek of extremely cold-water feeds into the Albany River. Here we sight cast for brookies in less than two feet of water. It’s truly a remarkable spot. A few hundred metres up from there is Upper Falls where there are countless rapids and waterfalls to explore. Arms sore, we stop for lunch and enjoy our surroundings. What an amazing day!! We fish a bit longer and decide to start the journey back to the lodge. The average fish size here was 16-18 inches, with our largest caught being a gorgeous 21 incher.

Exhausted, but happy, we chat with the other lodge guests about our day, showing pictures and sharing our tales of the day. The manager pours us a stiff scotch and we toast an amazing day—probably one of the best I’ve had.

We decide to sleep in a bit the next morning, to recharge our batteries. Taking it easy, we head over for a late breakfast. Big pike are on the to do list today and we make quick work of breakfast and get out on the water. We are headed to Ferguson Bay, where the dockhand says a 42-inch pike was caught and released last week. We start by casting 4–6-inch streamers out of the boat and immediately have hits from some respectable 30–35-inch pike. The fight is unreal. While the 40 incher remains elusive, we are pumped about the sheer quantity of fish caught and released that morning. We head to join the lodge staff and the rest of the guests for shore lunch. We kept a couple walleyes we managed to hook onto as our contribution to the feast that awaits us. For anyone who’s never experienced a shore lunch, cooked outdoors, you’re missing out. The beauty of the experience at Mim is that you provide the fish, and it’s cleaned and cooked for you. Fried potatoes, homemade baked beans and tartar sauce and coleslaw accompany this shore lunch. We catch a quick nap on the rock as the staff cleans up after serving the epic lunch. After a quick chat with the manager, we head off to the west arm to round out our pike day. Stopping at the Walleye mine, a big pike feeding ground, doesn’t leave us disappointed. We rally and conquer and end up with our forty!

A prime rib dinner awaits us back at the lodge. We decide to hit the honey hole after dinner. A short 5-minute boat ride away and we are hooking into walleye after walleye. In the hour and a half, we float through this channel, we hook into 65 walleye each…all on the fly. I threw 2–4-inch streamers here. Utterly exhausted we head back and hit the sheets to prepare for our last day on the water.

Today we are headed to the mouths of the Little Freestone and Freestone Rivers. We will start at the Freestone and then head to the Little Free after lunch. Under advisement we wear bug jackets as today, the flies are in full force. A quick and easy portage gets us into some nice pools, where we float more dry flies (Hoppers and Chernobyl Ants).

We get a couple to rise but lose them when retrieving. Hard to say the size, but they seemed big! We head back to the boat to enjoy lunch and gear up to head up the Little Freestone. We start to trek up the river, keeping to the shoreline, pushing our way on to the pool marked on the map. It’s hard work, but worth the effort. After a little rock mishap and a cool down in the river, we start to get down to business. This location produces our best fish to date. We work the pool and get into some gorgeous fish. Fewer in quantity, but their quality is apparent. Our largest brookie of the trip is caught and released here on a wooly bugger—a beautiful 25 incher.

We are in awe. We head back recounting all the high points of the trip. After dinner the staff does a master angler presentation where we receive pins for our trophy pike and brook trout. It’s a cool ceremony that brings the whole group together. The next morning, we wake up sad, but content about our trip. We experienced so much in such a short time, worked hard and it paid off. As we take off and head back home, I can’t wait to return again next year.


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