HOSTS BILL SPICER, JENNA MCKEOWN, MARK MELNYK & COLIN MCKEOWN
These wild fly-fishing waters have huge pike, brookies, lake trout, bass, salmon and more
To compile Outdoor Canada’s 2020 fishing hot spots feature story, we turned to our friends at Sportsman Channel Canada. The hosts of 19 Canadian fishing shows agreed to reveal their top choices, along with tips on when to go and how best to tackle the fish. For all the hot spots, see our 2020 Fishing Special issue, or check out the growing list at www.outdoorcanada.ca/2020HotSpots.
ABOUT THE SHOW
Featuring expert guests, animated graphics and underwater video, The New Fly Fisher aims to educate viewers about all aspects of fly fishing, from rod building to angling techniques to fish behaviour. The show covers all of North America’s sportfish, with visits to top angling destinations. Learn more: www.thenewflyfisher.com
CREE RIVER, SASKATACHEWAN: Northern pike
THE ATTRACTION: Fishing out of Cree River Lodge, where 40- to 45-inch pike are common, anglers have the chance to catch a record-breaking northern on the fly.
BEST TIME: June to September
TOP TACTIC: Choice flies include the Northern Magic (invented by guide Chip Cromarty), Whistler and Bunny Leech.
CROOKS LAKE, LABRADOR: Brook trout
THE ATTRACTION: Anglers can expect to catch numbers of three- to eight-pounders on dry flies.
BEST TIME: Mid-June to mid-July
TOP TACTICS: Dead-drift dries such as the Parachute Adams and Black Gnat; skitter the likes of Goddard Caddis and Elk Hair Caddis across the surface.
ESNAGAMI LAKE, ONTARIO: Brook trout, northern pike & walleye
THE ATTRACTION: Esnagami Wilderness Lodge’s conservation program ensures anglers have a high chance of catching and releasing trophy fish.
BEST TIME: Late May to early July
TOP TACTICS: Choice flies include Chernobyl Ants (brookies), large Deceivers (pike), and Woolly Buggers (walleye).
GANDER RIVER, NEWFOUNDLAND: Atlantic salmon
THE ATTRACTION: Along with healthy year-over-year salmon returns, the Gander features many public access points for fishing the numerous pools.
BEST TIME: Second and third weeks of July
TOP TACTICS: Swing a small, riffling-hitched wet fly down and across the current, or dead drift a Bomber.
HAWK LAKE, ONTARIO: Northern pike, smallmouth bass & walleye
THE ATTRACTION: Fishing out of drive-to Hawk Lake Lodge, anglers also have access to multiple other lakes with giant fish and zero pressure.
BEST TIME: May to September
TOP TACTICS: Choice flies include poppers, Woolly Buggers and Scotty McFly streamers (bass), sculpin patterns (walleye), and large streamers (pike)
HUDSON BAY COAST, MANITOBA: Sea-run brook trout
THE ATTRACTION: Fishing out of Nanuk Polar Bear Lodge, anglers have access to numerous wild rivers with runs of giant brookies from Hudson Bay.
BEST TIME: September
TOP TACTIC: Swing black Bead-Head Woolly Buggers, white Zonkers and olive-and-white Double Bunny streamers, then strip them back.
LITTLE DUCK LAKE, MANITOBA: Arctic grayling, lake trout & northern pike
THE ATTRACTION: The Lodge at Little Duck is quickly gaining a reputation for outstanding fly fishing in the remote sub-Arctic wilderness.
BEST TIME: End of August to mid-September
TOP TACTICS: Choice flies include the Royal Humpy (grayling), Murdich Minnows with rattles (lakers), Weedman’s Sliders (pike).
MILTON LAKE, SASKATACHEWAN: Northern pike
THE ATTRACTION: With the pike remaining in the cold shallows through the summer, guests at Milton Lake Lodge can enjoy outstanding spring-like fly fishing all season long.
BEST TIME: May to September
TOP TACTIC: Target the dark, shallow back bays with large poppers, duckling patterns and Deer Hair Sliders.
SOUTHERN ALGOMA COUNTRY, ONTARIO: Multi-species
THE ATTRACTION: Staying at Birchland Cottages or Birch Lake Resort along the Trans-Canada, anglers have access to the area’s countless lakes and rivers.
BEST TIME: All year
TOP TACTICS: Choice flies include Murdich Minnows (walleye); large Deceivers (pike); Blood Dots (Steelhead); and crayfish patterns (bass).