Why Fish in Algonquin Park?

Ontario's best backcountry fishing

There are some lakes in Algonquin Park where you can fish from a motorboat, complete with all the electronic accoutrements of modern fishing. Too often, unfortunately, the quality of the fishing in easily accessible areas deteriorates over the years due to a variety of factors, including over-fishing and the weakening of natural fish populations when hatchery fish, non-native fish stocks or invasive species are introduced. Fortunately, there are places, like the interior of Algonquin Park, where the native fishery remains more or less undisturbed and is naturally reproducing. This is why dedicated fishermen will leave their metal-flake bass boats at home and fish from a canoe, deep within Algonquin Park.

Know Your Fish

Studies show that the most important factor affecting fishing success (or lack of it) is the angler's knowledge. Like any other sport, you must first master the fundamentals before you can expect any great success. Visiting a new area presents a fresh set of fishing conditions to learn about and understand.

Principal Fish of Algonquin Park

Brook Trout
Speckled (Brook) Trout

"Specks" are among the most sought-after game fish in North America. Extremely sensitive to pollution, the range of speckled trout has narrowed considerably in recent years. Algonquin Park is fortunate to have strong naturally reproducing brood stocks of these beautiful fish in its interior lakes. Found in both streams and lakes, these fish are widespread throughout the park. Trout season opens on the fourth Saturday in April and closes on September 30th, with the best fishing generally being in May or June. They can be taken on fly or spinning tackle with lures like small spoons, spinners and flies. Expert fly fishermen enjoy success in streams all season long.

Lake Trout
Lake Trout

The “laker” is possibly the most widespread fish in Algonquin Park. Many people think the only way to catch them is to troll deep with specialized tackle but, during May and June, lake trout can be caught at or near the surface with spinning or fly equipment. The best method is trolling spoon lures along rocky shorelines or over shoals. As the water warms, lakers typically go deeper and specialized tackle is required; only about 10 percent of a lake is likely to be productive at that time. The season is the same as for brook trout.

Small Mouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass

The smallmouth was not one of the original piscine inhabitants of Algonquin Park. Introduced at the turn of the century, “smallies” are found in more easily accessible lakes than trout, often those with road access. Bass season opens on the last Saturday in June and continues through November. The smallmouth typically feeds at or near the surface and can be caught on light tackle throughout the season. One of the most exciting methods of fishing for bass, though, is with a fly rod and popping bug.

Largemouth bass
Largemouth Bass

The largemouth bass is olive-green right after ice-out occurs and, later, is generally grey hued. The sides of the fish are marked with a series of dark, sometimes black, blotches forming a jagged horizontal stripe along each flank. The upper jaw extends beyond the eye socket. In comparison by age, a female bass is larger than a male. The largemouth is the biggest of the black basses, reaching a maximum recorded overall length of 29.5 inches (75 cm) and an unofficial weight of 25 pounds, 1 ounce (11.4 kg). It's an uncommon catch in Algonquin Park, however, since few lakes have them.

Walleye (Yellow Pickerel)

The walleye is also a relatively recent addition to the Algonquin fishery. These fish are found only in the northern part of the park, in lakes near our Brent base on Cedar Lake, and downstream from there in the Petawawa River system that feeds lakes like Radiant. The season opens on the third Saturday in May and continues through November, with the best fishing in late May and early June. Yellowish jigs and lures seem to be the most effective.

Northern Pike

The "water wolf" has a relatively limited range range inside Algonquin Park; it's found in a few lakes that are accessible from access point #17. The northern pike is most often olive green, with shading from yellow to white along the belly. The flank of the fish is marked with short, light bar-like spots. The fins have darker spots and are sometimes reddish. Younger pike have yellow stripes along a green body; later, the stripes divide into light spots and the overall hue shifts to olive green. The lower half of the gill cover lacks scales and there are large sensory pores on the head and underside of the lower jaw, which form part of the lateral line markings on its belly. Northern pike are known to strike fast and be aggressive.

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