The Woodsman Magazine

Picture Yourself Fishing in Ontario

By Babe Winkelman

I was flipping through some photo albums with my daughter the other day,
 looking at fish pictures taken over the years. Naturally, most of the
 photographs were of camera-worthy specimens: big bass, pig pike, mambo
 muskies, walleyes, trout and other trophies. My daughter wanted to hear the
 stories behind every one. As I told the tales, it occurred to me that many
 of them had one thing in common: Ontario. I suddenly realized that of all
 the big-fish destinations I've been to, I've probably caught more and bigger
 fish in Ontario than in any other Canadian province or US state.


Not surprising, since Ontario has more than 400,000 lakes, rivers and
 streams. In fact, 15% of the world's fresh water is in Ontario, and all that
 water means infinite opportunity for big fish. So if you're considering a
 family fishing vacation, or a trophy pursuit with a few pals, there's no
 better place on earth to experience the trip of a lifetime.


Most of the lakes and rivers offer a smorgasbord of different species. Of
 course there are a variety of ways to catch them depending on season,
 weather conditions, water clarity, etc. But a great way to succeed on a
 multi-species lake that you've never fished before is to concentrate on
 obvious structure (points, islands, rocks, weedlines, etc.) and throw baits
 which have universal appeal AND can cover a lot of water fast. Crankbaits
 and swimbaits are top producers for every predatory gamefish. Pack a half
 dozen of each in a variety of colors and you'll be set. Also bring an array
 of jigs and soft plastic bodies, again in a range of colors, particularly if
 you¹re targeting walleyes and bass on your trip. Remember that Ontario has a
 lot of monster pike with razor-sharp teeth, so don't forget to bring some
 steel leaders to keep them from stealing all your baits. Medium to
 medium-heavy casting or spinning rods will give you a lot of versatility on
 your multi-species trip.


Where should you go in Ontario? I mean, it's a big place. And since they
 have more lakeside resorts than anyplace else in the world, where do you
 begin? Well, that's pretty easy actually. Hop on your computer and type in When you get
 there, click on Welcome to Ontario. Here you'll get a quick overview of
 what you can expect on your adventure. A section called Fish Of Ontario gives you a rundown of all the species swimming the waters, along with facts
 about that fish, provincial records and the average sizes you'll encounter.
 There's even a quick link for each type of fish that routes you to a list of
 lodges specializing in that species.


But the best part of is the Fishing Trips selection.
 This is where you begin turning your dreams into reality. You click that,
 then select the fish species you're after, the type of accommodations that
 suit you, and the region of Ontario you want to visit. Then click Find A
 Trip and you'll instantly see dozens of destinations tailor-made to your
 search, along with a brief description of each destination and what a trip
 costs in both American and Canadian dollars. See one you like? Click that to
 learn more and to find a link to that lodge's website. Comparison shopping
 for a fishing trip has never been easier or more fun.


Let's say that you're the die-hard fisherman in your family and the others
 want some additional activities to enjoy. Boy are you in luck! Because it's
 not only incredible fishing that makes Ontario so great. There are tons of
 other things to do. Canoeing, kayaking, hiking, biking, shopping, dining,
 entertainment, museums, cosmopolitan cities, you name it. So there's always
 fun waiting for anyone who wants to take a day off from fishing (even though
 that someone probably isn't you).


There are many Americans who have some misconceptions about Ontario
 vacations. The first is that a Canadian fishing trip is expensive. Not so.
 In fact, they're incredibly affordable. You'll see that when you check out
 the website. Others assume that international travel
 must be complicated. Again, nothing could be further from the truth. If
 you're driving by land into Ontario, the border crossings are quick and easy
 and do not yet require a passport. Air travel does. In today's age of
 security, that's understandable. My recommendation to any American sportsman
 or woman is to get a passport now, regardless of your future travel plans.
 Because you never know when an opportunity to travel out of the country
 might pop up.


I have an Ontario fishing trip planned for this summer, and the thought of
 it keeps me up at night. I can hardly wait! Because when I go there, there
 are two things I can always count on: First, I know I'll catch fishS lots of
 fish, and big ones too. Second, I know that the people I'll encounter at the
 lodge, and in all the communities along the way, will be some of the nicest
 people I¹ve ever met. There's a friendliness to Canada that's as enjoyable
 as the fishing. Who knows, maybe I¹ll see you there. I hope so.


Good Fishing!


Babe Winkelman is a nationally-known outdoorsman who has taught people to
 fish and hunt for nearly 30 years. Watch his award-winning Good Fishing
 and Outdoor Secrets television shows on Versus (VS.), Fox Sports Net, Wild
 TV and many local networks. Visit for air times where you

Like The Woodsman on Facebook!