National treasures: Eastern Canada
Hook a trophy in these picture-perfect lakes, wild rivers and unique landscapes
From incredible vistas and unique landscapes to watery wonderlands, these are the top spots to fish and take in Canada’s awesome natural wonders
ALGONQUIN PROVINCIAL PARK, ONTARIO
Painting-perfect wilderness and backcountry fishing
OTMPCCelebrating its 125th anniversary this year, Ontario’s first provincial park boasts an impressive 2,400 lakes, 1,200 kilometres of rivers and abundant wildlife including bears, wolves, moose and loons, all amid 7,653 square kilometres of rugged Canadian Shield. And remarkably, Algonquin lies a mere three-hour drive from Toronto or Ottawa. Once there, you enter a landscape of lush forests and pristine waters that still resemble the Group of Seven paintings they inspired a century ago. The vast park remains undisturbed by motors and cellphone service, while offering plentiful bass, brook trout, lakers, muskies and pike. Naturally, the deeper into the backcountry you paddle and portage, the better the fishing gets. Just be sure to bring plenty of tackle—and well-rested shoulders.
Learn more: www.ontarioparks.com
NIAGARA GORGE, ONTARIO
Brawling river and incredible multispecies fishing
Tony HisgettAfter the Niagara River pours over the iconic Niagara Falls, all that water surges into the Niagara Gorge—a geological formation that’s just as spectacular, complete with a fantastic fishery. First, the river blasts through a steep canyon as class VI rapids, then turns sharply to create the Niagara Whirlpool. Spin and centrepin anglers willing to hike the 250-metre drop down the escarpment can cast from shore into the huge, swirling vortex. There you can catch steelhead, lakers and brown trout from November to April, as well as chinook and coho in fall. The river calms down enough for boating farther downstream, where anglers can catch salmon and trout, as well as walleye, smallmouth bass and muskies, all while marvelling at the towering gorge’s unique geology.
Learn more: www.castadventures.ca
MANICOUAGAN CRATER, QUEBEC
Ancient meteorite impact site and wilderness fishing
Tourisme Quebec/H.WittenbornQuebec’s fifth-largest lake measures 10 kilometres across on average, and from a boat, it appears only about 50 kilometres long. Yet when travelling down Manicouagan Reservoir, you never quite reach the end. Instead, you keep turning, almost imperceptibly, in the same direction until you’re back where you started 200 klicks later. That’s because the lake forms a near-perfect, 70-kilometre-wide circle, with a circular island in its centre. Visible from space, the “Eye of Quebec” was blasted into existence 210 million years ago by a massive meteorite, causing unimaginable devastation. Today, nature is doing just fine, with the crater offering excellent wilderness fishing for brookies, lakers, northerns and even landlocked salmon—just what you’d expect after a 10-hour drive northeast of Quebec City.
Learn more: www.pourvoirierelaisgabriel.com
PERCÉ ROCK, QUEBEC
Geological wonder and inshore saltwater fishing
Le Quebec Maritime/Jean-Pierre Huard
Jutting out into the Gulf of St. Lawrence at the tip of Quebec’s Gaspé Peninsula, Percé rock is one of the world’s largest natural arches surrounded by water. An iconic symbol of Quebec’s maritime region, this massive limestone formation is 433 metres long, 90 metres wide and 88 metres at its highest point. It’s one of the first things you see as you enter the quaint seaside village of Percé, where you can arrange a trip aboard a local fishing boat. From July to September, Captain Michael Moreau takes visitors out for cod, mackerel and striped bass. Or if you’re there in late April to late June, you can try your hand at catching lobster, learning how to bait traps and haul them in.
Learn more: www.onthesea.ca