Algoma Wild Brook Trout Primer.
Catching beautiful brook trout (called “specks” in Northern Ontario) on a fly rod is one of the best aspects of coming to Algoma Country. From dry fly fishing to streamer fishing, it’s one of the few places left in North America where you can catch truly wild brook trout in their natural habitat. This primer will provide information on where & when, rods/reels and fly patterns to help you get started in Algoma.
Seasons for Wild Brook Trout
In Algoma you can catch brook trout throughout the fishing season (May to September). However, some locations are better for early season then others. In May through to early July, we like places like MarMac Lodge, Lodge 88, Esnagami Lodge, Leuenbergers Air Service and Blue Fox Camp. Most locations have rivers and streams that run into the main lakes where brook trout exist in large numbers. You can fly fish for pike or lake trout one day in the main lake and then go on a hike on a local river the next for brookies on dry flies. In northern Algoma locations like the Sutton River have exceptional brook trout fishing all season. Some locations are strictly early season hot spots while others are all season long. It is best to call operators to ascertain the ideal timings for brook trout at their facility.
The size of Algoma brook trout can vary greatly from location to location. On average you can expect to catch brookies of approximately 3lbs but in some locations they can go to 5-7lbs. My favourite all-around rod to use is a five weight in a 8 ½ to 9 foot length. A medium-fast to fast action is ideal. In most places you can catch them on dry flies and mice patterns, so the five weight give you the ability to cast either pattern size with ease. A simple click-pawl reel is best for most of the brookie action.
I recommend you bring several types of flylines. Of course, a standard dry flyline such as WF in a 4-6 weight is perfect choice. There are lots of good specialized lines in this class from manufacturers such as Orvis, RIO and Cortland. The second flyline I would bring is a short sinktip line which can help you get streamer and woolly bugger flies down in the water column. By short I am referring to a 6 to 12 foot sinktip. Usually I like to use a fairly fast sinktip, something in the type 3-5 weighting (3 to 5 inches-per-second).
For leaders and tippet, I usually bring tapered leaders in the 8-10 foot length with a 3x end. If I need to go lighter for the tippet, then I just add some material to my leader. Usually I bring 2x to 6x tippet for most of my dry fly and streamer action. When casting streamers for brookies I have often hooked into some really big smallmouth bass which will truly test your rod and setup, so try to use the heaviest tippet you can for the conditions.
Most generic dry fly patterns for brook trout will work well in Algoma. For dry flies stimulators, wulffs, adams, and BWO patterns all work well. One of my favourite tricks is to use a long leader (10 foot) coupled with a Goddard Caddis (size 14), casting the fly out then holding the rod high, I would dance the fly across the surface back to my position. The brookies will savagely slash and attack the caddis pattern, it is quite exciting to watch.
For streamers we have found muddler minnows in brown and white effective in sizes 4-10. Woolly buggers always seem to work in black, white, purple and brown in sizes 6-10. Also, large streamer patterns such as Zoo Cougars and Strip Leeches in olive, black and yellow work effectively for the big fish.
You can still catch large fish on dry flies, but during the day mouse and streamers are definitely your best choice. One pattern that is a must-have in your flybox is mice patterns. Big trout want big meals. There is nothing quite as exciting as seeing your deer hair mouse pattern, swallowed whole by a large brook trout. In many locations, such as the Sutton River, the brook trout are quite focused on mice as a food source. Deerhair or foam mice patterns in size 1/0 to 4 are excellent choices. You can also use bass bug patterns like poppers to attract trout to the surface. This can be explosive topwater action so bring stout leader/tippets for using mice. You will see some truly massive trout using these patterns.
You don’t have to take an expensive flight to northern Quebec to catch big brook trout. In Algoma you can catch lots of trout and at a very reasonable cost. Using this primer as a guide, we recommend you contact some of the operators mentioned in this article to find the type of fishing that matches your budget. Algoma does truly have the best mix of affordable and accessible fly fishing for wild brook trout!
Algoma Brook Trout operators
Blue Fox Camp – Lake Brookies
Esnagami Wilderness Lodge – River Brookies
(519) 474 -6988
Hearst Air Service – Sutton River
Lauzon Aviation – Lake Brookies
Leunebergers Air Service (Kag Lake) – River Brookies
Lodge 88 or Mar Mac Lodge – Lake Brookies
Soo North Flyshop – River & Lake Brookies