Drive-to Angling in Algoma.
by Mark Melnyk, host and producer of The New Fly Fisher show
Like many families who love the outdoors and have children, my wife and I along with our two very active young boys, are always on the lookout for exciting, wild destinations to visit—places that offer new outdoor experiences and challenge our sense of adventure. But most of these are in far-off locations which are very expensive to visit and largely cost-prohibitive for the average family. However, as most Canadians are blessed with such places in our own backyards, there is no need for expensive travel arrangements. Here in Ontario, there are a number to choose from—all unique in the mix of outdoor experiences they offer.
Of these, one of my favourites is Algoma Country in North Central Ontario—a destination which is very accessible by rail and road, and even by air if desired. Algoma offers year-round angling opportunities for a wide variety of species in both lakes and rivers, especially for the fly fisher. These range from expensive fly-in operations to much more affordable do-it-yourself, drive-to destinations.
Taking advantage of motel or campground accommodation and using local guides is the most affordable way to experience Algoma fishing. We especially recommend the following three full-time professional guiding services: Tyler Dunn Guiding, John Giuliani Fishing Adventures, and Angling Algoma with Adam Vallee, all of whom specialize in fly fishing. While all three operate out of Sault Ste. Marie, they are intimately and extensively familiar with the fisheries of lakes and rivers throughout the whole region. They also operate throughout the year.
Drive-to Housekeeping Lodges
Housekeeping lodges provide all the accommodation, including bedding and basic amenities—all that is needed for a solid base to make drive-to trips in the area on your own schedule. All you have to provide is your food. These lodges also have facilities for taking your own boat along. There are many such lodges in Algoma—some on spectacular waters. These include Loch Island Lodge (Localsh Cabins), Birch Lake Resort, and Birchland Cottages. All offer superb drive-to fly fishing for multi-species—pike, walleye, bass, as well as brook trout. These three lodges are located in Trophy Alley—the region stretching from deHavilland Bay west of Sault Ste. Marie to the Spanish River east of that city, and north from Highway #17 for about 30 miles. A bonus attraction of the region is that smallmouth bass fishing is open 365 day a year on a strict catch-and-release basis.
Drive-to Full American Plan Lodges and Outfitters
These lodges and outfitters offer the ultimate in drive-to destinations in Algoma, providing the all-in fly fishing destinations we all dream about. Just drive to the facility and park your vehicle—everything else is looked after for you. You don’t have to lift a finger except for catching fish and eating them! Meals are prepared for you every day, boats and prepped and fueled, and guides are often provided as well as entertainment—even alcoholic beverages. We particularly recommend Waterfalls Lodge, Airdale Fishing and Hunting, and The Outpost Lodge, all of which look after you every step of the way, providing the ultimate fishing vacation.
Algoma Country is well known as one of the premier drive-to destinations in Ontario. With so many choices of where to go, how and what to fish for, and when you want to visit, there is something for every angler looking for great fishing in a fantastic location! Give yourself some time when you drive to Algoma. You’ll want to explore, take in the sights and venture off the beaten path – to Adventure!