The provinces of Ontario and Manitoba are well-known for their fishing. In the north, remote fly-in lakes hold monster fish that rarely see a lure. Big rivers cut across both provinces, offering amazing angling both in their main stems and in countless tributaries. There are hundreds of easy-access lakes in the south that will impress any angler, and the massive expanse of the Great Lakes offers some of the best fishing in the country. No matter where you choose to go, great fishing awaits. Here are a few of our favourite fishing hot spots to give you an idea of where to get started.
Assiniboine River (Manitoba)
Flowing from Saskatchewan to the Forks in downtown Winnipeg, this meandering river has over 2,300 Master Angler records. Trophy-sized fish found here include black crappie, bullhead, burbot, carp, channel catfish, freshwater drum, goldeye, mooneye, northern pike, perch, rock bass, sauger, sturgeon and white bass. Lake sturgeon are stocked around Brandon and good sized carp are found around the Brandon locks. The river can also be fished right in Winnipeg along the Assiniboine River Walk.
Athapapuskow Lake (Manitoba)
This big, deep lake (up to 62 metres/203 ft) is found in between The Pas and Flin Flon and is known for its incredible lake trout fishing. In fact, a world record lake trout was once pulled from its waters, weighing a whopping 28.8 kg (63.5 lb). The lake has also produced a world-record burbot, weighing over 10 kg (22.8 lb). While you are more likely to catch lake trout in the 2-4 kg (3-7 lb) range and burbot in the 4 kg (8 lb) range, this still makes for some fine fishing. Northern pike, perch, tullibee and whitefish round out the fishery here.
Eagle Lake (Ontario)
Covering 27,692 hectares (1,710 ac), this Northwestern Ontario lake is known for its monster muskie that can grow up to 27 kg (60 lb) in size. Other species you can find here include walleye, northern pike, smallmouth bass, lake trout, burbot and whitefish. Lake trout are best fished in the lake’s west arm, while Bear Narrows are the spot of choice for ice fishing.
Georgian Bay (Ontario)
Part of Lake Huron, this is one of Ontario’s most scenic fishing destinations. Lake trout, rainbow trout, chinook salmon and walleye can all be found here in good numbers, with the springtime being especially productive. The Bay is also home to some excellent smallmouth and largemouth bass fishing, especially in Owen Sound, Melville Sound and Colpoy’s Bay. Target the shoreline in the spring and fall for some large northern pike.
God’s River (Manitoba)
One of the best-known fly-in lakes in Canada, God’s River holds some monster brook trout. Fishing for northern pike, walleye and whitefish can be amazing as well. There are some terrific mayfly and golden stonefly hatches in June and July for fly-fishers, with the best results usually coming from streamers. Fishing for brook trout here is catch and release.
Grand River (Ontario)
In recent years, extensive restoration work has transformed the Grand River into a world-class fishery. The Grand River watershed has fast-running cold water tributaries that are home to trout, and slower moving stretches filled with largemouth and smallmouth bass, pike and walleye. In fact, over half of the sportfish species in Canada can be found in the Grand. Be sure to check the regulations before fishing this Southern Ontario waterway.
Lake of the Prairies (Manitoba)
Stretching across the Saskatchewan border, this man-made lake is known for having some of the best northern pike fishing in the province. There have been over 1,550 Master Angler sized fish caught here, and the locals will be quick to tell you there is rarely a bad day on Lake of the Prairies. Anglers can also expect to find some huge walleye and perch while fishing here.
Lake Simcoe (Ontario)
The largest lake in the Trent Severn Waterway, Lake Simcoe covers 72,500 hectares (179,075 ac) and is home to numerous species of sportfish including bass, muskellunge, pike, walleye, brook, brown, lake and rainbow trout and several species of panfish. In the summer, look for smallmouth bass around the lake’s shoals and islands, while walleye are known to congregate around the mouth of Talbot River. In the winter, this lake becomes an ice hut shanty town, and for good reason as the fishing stays good throughout the year.
Lake Temiskaming (Ontario)
Anglers in Northeastern Ontario come to Lake Temiskaming for the chance to catch a wide variety of trophy-sized fish. Lake trout, northern pike, smallmouth bass, walleye, whitefish and yellow perch can all reach some large sizes here. In the summer, try focusing on the shoreline and shoals, while ice fishing can be very productive in the winter.
Nueltin Lake (Manitoba)
Located 300 km from the nearest road, right along the Nunavut border, this lake is not easy to access. However, anglers that do make their way here (most often by floatplane) can expect some truly phenomenal fishing. The lake has produced record-breaking Arctic grayling, lake trout and northern pike, with the largest lake trout ever caught in Manitoba pulled from its waters in 2001. That monster measured 137.2 cm (54 in) in length.
Ottawa River (Ontario)
Flowing for 1,130 km (700 mi), this river offers a lot of fishing options. Although heavily dammed, there are numerous access points to the river including 15 public boat launches in the Pembroke District. Smallmouth bass, northern pike, muskellunge and walleye are all known to grow to large sizes, and lake trout are stocked near Mattawa. Anglers will also find sturgeon and whitefish, though the sturgeon must be released. With so much river to explore, you will not have too much trouble finding the perfect fishing hot spot to target on this Ontario river.
Rocky Lake (Manitoba)
Found north of The Pas right next to Highway 10, Rocky Lake is an incredible Manitoba lake fishing destination. At last count, there have been 752 Master Angler fish pulled from these waters, including a 113 cm (44.5 in) northern pike, 80 cm (31.5 in) walleye and a 58 cm (23 in) tullibee, which was Manitoba’s largest. A provincial park and several resorts on the shoreline make access to the lake easy.
For detailed info on these and hundreds more fishing destinations across the region, check out BRMB’s latest GPS Maps combo for Ontario and Manitoba. Featuring detailed descriptions of hundreds of lakes and rivers, industry-leading cartography and bathymetric data (depth charts) for many of the region’s lakes, these maps will give you a clear advantage on your next fishing adventure. Or, get your hands on a printed copy of the maps with our Manitoba and Ontario Backroad Mapbooks.
Did we miss your favourite Fishing Spot?
For detailed info on these and hundreds more fishing destinations across the region, check out BRMB’s latest GPS Maps combo for Ontario and Manitoba. Or, get your hands on a printed copy of the maps with our Manitoba and Ontario Backroad Mapbooks.
Featuring detailed descriptions of hundreds of lakes and rivers, industry-leading cartography and bathymetric data (depth charts) for many of the region’s lakes, these maps will give you a clear advantage on your next fishing adventure.