12 Places to Go Walleye Fishing In and Around Thunder Bay

Catch your limit and experience the province's best angling near this Northwest Ontario city.

Thunder Bay has some of the most diverse walleye fishing in the province.

The Thunder Bay District has benefited from a history of adult walleye transfers that created vast fisheries where none existed before. We can thank the Ministry of Natural Resources for most of these fisheries, as they did the stocking.

Walleye fishing is consistently good in the Thunder Bay area, and there is a real chance at a trophy-class walleye of 10 pounds or better. Mostly, however, there will be good numbers of eating-sized walleye from 14 to 16 inches. Here is a guide to a few good spots.

Spots To Fish For Walleye Within or Close to City Limits in Thunder Bay

There is walleye fishing right in the Thunder Bay harbour and in several of the larger urban rivers right in City of Thunder Bay limits. The size of some of these fish is surprising.
1. Kaministiquia River

Some nice walleye are caught here each year, including a few genuine trophy fish. Hotspots include near Fort William Historical Park, below the mill and around Stanley. Also some bass, pike and crappie.

2. Current River

Walleye and pike at the mouth of the river. Some smaller walleye upstream of the Boulevard Lake dam and around .

3. Hazelwood Lake

Good walleye fishing, plus some pike and perch. Located at the end of Hazelwood Road. No gas motors are allowed at Hazelwood, but canoes work well. Good shore fishing spot in the spring. Bring the kids.

4. Hawkeye Lake

Walleye, pike  and bass. Not an easy walleye bite but a few good ones.

5. Dog Lake

Thanks to a successful adult walleye stocking program in the 1970s, Dog Lake now has a naturalized walleye fishery. Most of the fishing in the spring is centred around the inflowing rivers, and these are generally a good bet on opening day.  A forage base of smelt  - and some super deep water  - ensures the walleye fishing on Dog Lake will never be predictable.

North Up Highway 527 (Spruce River Road)

(Turn off Trans Canada Highway – just east of Terry Fox Information Centre in Thunder Bay)

6. Eaglehead/ DeCourcey

Tough fishing, but decent walleye for those with patience. Try pitching jigs to rocky, windswept shorelines.

7. Poshkokagan Lake

Excellent walleye fishing, but a smaller average size. Nice eaters. Best spring fishing  is found near the river mouth.  Usually busy on opening day.

8. Smiley

Another sleeper, stocked many years ago with walleye that have taken hold. Try a Little Joe and minnow.

Lac Des Mille Lac - Heading West on Highway 11/17  

9. Lac Des Mille Lacs

This is the region's most popular walleye lake. It remains a good opening season bet, and thanks to a 13-inch minimum size limit the fishing has remained good. The top spots include the Savanne River,  Sawmill Bay, Sand Point, Poplar Bay, Honkonen Narrows, and  Rock Bay. It’s a busy lake, but there are usually lots of fish to catch.

West to Atikokan on Highway 11

Access this huge area by turning west on Highway 11 (just past Shabaqua) as you drive north of Thunder Bay. You can also drive east on Highway 11 from Fort Frances to reach Atikokan.  

10. Shebandowan Lakes

Really three separate lakes: upper, middle and lower Shebandowan.  Thanks to spring river mouth closures on the lake's major spawning rivers, the walleye fishery here has come back nicely. Also some big pike and great bass. Check Ontario regulations for sanctuary areas on the lake.

11. Kashabowie Lake

Good walleye fishing and a chance at a wall hanger. Some nice pike and bass. Decent boat launch.

12. Athelstane Lake

Some big fish are caught here every year. In the spring, anglers often travel to nearby Modo Lake. Low water may affect where anglers can access, however.

About Gord Ellis

Gord Ellis is a lifelong resident of Thunder Bay, Ontario and a full time journalist, broadcaster, professional angler and guide. He is the senior editor of Ontario Out of Doors magazine, Canada's best read fishing and hunting magazine. Gord is a regular on CBC radio's Superior Morning and writes a monthly column on Ontario for the Northern Wilds magazine, in Minnesota. He has written over a thousand feature articles and columns for publications as diverse as Sentier Chasse Peche, in Quebec, the Financial Post and the Globe and Mail. He is a long time member of the Outdoor Writers of Canada and has won better than 25 national awards for his writing and photography. In 2018, Gord was inducted into the Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame in Hayward, Wisconsin.

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