Canada is awash in rivers, lakes, oceans and fishing. Plenty of folks head to the Canadian wilderness to fish for trout, steelhead, salmon, walleye, muskie, northern pike and even halibut. They often find other outstanding fish such as largemouth and smallmouth bass, grayling and crappie. Here’s a list of the best Canadian fishing destinations.
Four Of The Best Summer Canadian Fishing Destinations
The Tatshenshini River — Welcome to the Yukon
The Tatshenshini River stretches across southwestern Yukon and into British Columbia. Its headwaters begin in British Columbia, wind through the Yukon, and return to British Columbia over a 140-mile course. This was a native trade route and later served as the home of Jack Dalton’s trading company and the Klondike Gold Rush.
The quality of Canadian fishing destinations here may seem like a fisherman’s tale. You can expect trophy fish such as 40-pound lake trout, 25-inch rainbows, 70-pound king salmon and 20-pound silvers. In addition, fishermen enjoy big northern pike, Dolly Varden, arctic grayling and sockeye salmon. The local area provides access to over 20 bodies of water including the Kathleen River, Frederick Lake and the Tatshenshini River. If you like the sound of “fish on!” then the Tatshenshini River is calling.
Lake of the Woods
Known for producing trophy fish, Lake of the Woods spills across the Canadian borders of Ontario, Manitoba and into Minnesota. The lake takes water from the Rainy River Shoal Lake and Kakagi Lake before it spills into the Winnipeg River.
The ragged shoreline stretches for 65,000 miles around the lake and offers hidden bays, quiet pools, 14,500 islands and a plethora of underwater structures that create a haven for producing trophy fish. The lake is 70 miles long. Expect big, 45 to 60 inch fat muskie, 1 to 10 pound walleye, 3 to 18 pound lake trout, and 45 inch (or longer) northern pike. There is a healthy population of 4 to 5 pound smallmouth bass and 10 to 15 inch crappie, too.
Restigouche River — New Brunswick, Canada
The Restigouche River meanders for 120 miles through the northwestern area of New Brunswick and into southern Quebec. Its tributaries include Kedgwick River, Patapedia River, Matapedia River, Upsalquitch and the Gounamitz River. It empties into Chaleur Bay. With an amazing habitat, the primary target here is the Atlantic salmon.
The run begins in mid-May and continues through most of September. The early season — from mid-May to mid-June — opens with a huge run of large, chrome salmon. Expect to also target sea trout as they race behind the salmon to feed on the salmon smolt returning to the sea. From mid-June to mid-July, the salmon continue with more males, and grilse replace the sea trout. This is one of the best times for fishing here.
Mid-July to mid-August offers a different experience. The salmon are still present, but the river changes. The spring melt gives way to crystal-clear waters where fly action becomes the premier venue. By mid-August to September the salmon run increases. In addition, expect to target those big brown trout. This is an amazing destination as the river continues to change throughout the fishing season. Pick your time carefully so you gain the advantage of both the presence of fish and the types of water you love to fish.
Haida Gwaii — Pacific Ocean Fishing With the Orcas
Perched above the Pacific Ocean is the island of Haida Gwaii. Here you find king salmon, silver salmon, ling cod and rockfish. This is also the place where you battle big Pacific halibut. This is as far west as British Columbia stretches. It is a place of rugged beauty and outstanding fishing. People come from all over the world to fish amid the orcas, sea lions, dolphins and eagles. The island is home to black bears and black-tailed deer, but it is the fishing that continues to bring people back.
Any of these four Canadian fishing destinations offer something all fishermen should experience —adventures for big trophy fish including 50 pound muskies, 100 to 400 pound Pacific halibut, or 70 pound king salmon. The fishing season in Canada is just getting started. You have time to make reservations, pack your gear and visit some of the world’s most pristine fishing waters.
Author bio: Dave Swistun is Owner and Manager of Duck Bay Lodge, a fishing resort in Lake of the Woods, Ontario, Canada. Built more than 60 years ago, Swistun and his wife, Sheree, are the fourth owners who welcome fishing and outdoor enthusiasts to their patch of unspoiled wilderness.