Ritchie Falls Resort
by Mark Melnyk, producer and host of The New Fly Fisher show
There is a special time every spring when the stars align and everything works out perfectly for us as anglers—a time when the confluence of natural factors combine to create the perfect scenario for catching fish in unique ways. This happened to Colin McKeown and Bill Spicer this past spring at Ritchie Falls Resort. And it was a week neither of them will ever forget!
Ritchie Falls Resort is a full-service drive-to fishing lodge in Ontario’s Algoma Country. Located just north of Highway 17 at Massey, north west of Sudbury, the resort is smack dab in the middle of numerous lakes and rivers teeming with wild lake trout and wild brook trout. It’s a short four-hour drive from Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan and 2.5 hours from Sudbury, Ontario, both of which are accessible by air via nearby connecting international airports
After The New Fly Fisher crew arrived and got settled at Ritchie Falls, they anxiously awaited first light to head out in search of big brook trout. However, Mother Nature had different ideas, delivering a cool, cloudy, rainy morning, which was far from ideal for brook trout. But all was not lost, as head guide Jimmy Mitchell informed them that the low light, cool temperatures, and the late spring of the year created a unique fly-fishing opportunity, and suggested that they head out in search of shallow water lake trout.
Because ice-out had been delayed by weeks, suckers were still spawning in the shallows of lower Ritchie Lake, and the lake trout had pursued them into the same shallows, where they were feeding heavily on sucker eggs. This feast of protein is a welcome metabolism boost for lakers before the water warms up and they head comfortably deep again. Casting flies in 4 to 12 feet of water was the ticket, as trout would chase almost anything thrown at them. The crew had a fantastic day until mid-afternoon when the skies cleared and the sun came out, driving the trout back into the dark security of the depths.
The next day, the clear weather held, bright, sunny, and warmer—perfect for brook trout. They drove out to a back lake, but as they were starting to get rigged up, they noticed movement in the water of an extensive gravel flat close to the launch. It was serendipity—Mother Nature had lined things up one more time. For there were thousands of suckers swarming all over the flat performing their spring ritual.
The flat was edged by a 40 foot drop-off, from which brook trout were coming into the shallow flats picking off sucker eggs, much like the lakers of the main lake they’d encountered the previous day. Bill and Colin threw a variety of flies at cruising brook trout often finding success mere feet from the launch. There was a short period of time where the fish would even eat dry flies as well. By the end of the day, Bill and Colin had released dozens of fish in the 2- to 5-pound range, until they were final forced to leave when it got dark.
Equipment used for Ritchie Falls Resort is as follows: #5 and #6 weight fast action 9-foot fly rods with both floating and intermediate lines to match and 3X tapered trout leaders in the 9- to 12-foot range. The most successful flies were a mix of weighted Bunny Streamers and Wooly Buggers in black, olive, and crayfish colours. The top dry flies were Goddard Caddis in tan and brown.
The accommodations at Richie Falls Resort are elegantly rustic with all the amenities you’d ever need. The food is excellent, as well as the overall service experience. The fishing? Incredible, with all the stars lining up to help create a trip to Algoma Country that The New Fly Fisher crew will not forget!
Watch the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VgKbKTqe6J8
This article was first posted on the Northern Ontario Travel website, January 2020, https://www.northernontario.travel/fishing/