Fish, hunt, paddle or simply some to soak up the scenery; northwestern Ontario is the place to be for nature lovers in Canada. Thick with forests and flush with lakes, the over 60 000 square miles of pristine nature is a sight to behold. Wildlife like bear, deer, eagles and moose are plentiful, while the thousands of bodies of water are home to many species of fish.
The whole region is full of lakes and rivers, with about 70,000 bodies of water teeming with fish. Known as “Canada’s Premier Fishing Destination,” schools of fish are waiting for anglers. Depending on where you’re going, driving, flying or boating in to your destination may be the best way to get here.
There’s rarely a crowd on the water, so feel free to drop your line and try to haul in trophy walleye, northern pike, trout, bass and more. Many species of panfish, like crappie and perch, are also easy to spot. Those who want to fish should know that a catch and release system is common; enjoy a shore lunch of panfish, but let the trophies back in the water. This ensures that the great fishing in the area is maintained for generations to come.
Northwest Ontario is also known nationally for its big game hunts. Moose, deer and bears all call the woods home. With well-preserved boreal forests stretching across the region, food and cover are easy to find for the game, and makes the game nice and big as well. For those in search of avian species, ducks, geese and waterfowl are all well-spotted in the area. Some outfitters specialize in certain species, so make sure you do your homework!
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If you want to dive into nature head-first, consider booking a fly-in fishing trip. Regarded as the premier fishing experience, head into the wilderness and experience it in a way you can’t anywhere else. Fly-in outposts are the most remote and secluded type of excursion; it’s likely you won’t see anyone else during the trip. Trips with pre-cooked meals and other considerations also offer the remote experience but with some creature comforts and the details taken care of.
Many resorts and lodges offer full-service packages, giving you the chance to relax and not have to think about what’s for lunch. Get the gorgeous scenery, amazing fishing and more, and have a meal ready when you come back in every evening. Other common additions include guided trips and amenities like a licensed dining room, a games room and more. This type of full service can also be called American Plans
Another popular option that many choose are housekeeping cabins. These are more flexible and allow you to fish or venture out when you please, as there are no set meal times. Multiple bedrooms and amenities like in-cabin kitchens and bathrooms make this an ideal choice for family vacations.
If you have a recreational vehicle, there are also many campgrounds to choose from nearby and adjacent to fishing areas. While you might hitch your boat to your RV and make the trip, there are some providers that rent out boats as well for ease of travel. Make sure you check ahead to see what services, like electricity, are available.
Bring a canoe (or rent one from your accommodations if they have it) and hit the water to see a little more of what’s in store. By water is the only way to see some of the most remote nooks and crannies of the area. In the area, there are five parks, including Wabakimi, Quetico and Woodland Caribou Provincial Parks, that are popular for their canoeing areas. If you’re feeling adventurous, paddle north and skim the Hudson Bay shoreline while keeping an eye out for polar bears and belugas.
Many routes are already established, but there’s plenty of water to safely explore as well. Guided or not, you or your travel buddies can enjoy the sights of Northwestern Ontario by canoe.
If you’ve driven in by car or RV, most accommodations are close by to towns or cities with other activities to do. Every community has its own traditions, heritage and something to experience. Local attractions like museums or a “house special” at a community dining institution are easy to stumble across. Some highways, like Highway 599 Wilderness Corridor and Highways 17 and 11 wind through beautiful nature and are dotted with photo opportunities. Don’t feel like a day without fishing is a day wasted — there’s plenty to see and do!
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