Northwest Ontario
Fishing, Hunting & Travel Map

Ontario Canada Fishing Regulations:

Please note that this is a general overview of the regulations - you MUST check for any exceptions in the Fishing Regulations. For a full report of the regulations, download the latest publications from the MNR.

Ontario fishing in Canada's Heartland is such a prized destination because of our thousands of lakes- all of which boast good to excellent fishing. Most have a wide variety of fish types including walleye, northern pike, muskie, smallmouth bass, lake trout, perch & whitefish, with many trophy lakes. The fishing has been kept consistently great due to conservation efforts, so that you and your kids can experience the type of exciting fishing vacation that they had in the good old days.

Relax in the boat, catch a few fish, enjoy a fresh walleye or northern shorelunch or get out there and get at it with exciting smallie action or tackle the renowned musky. These are just few of the typical scenes you will experience on Canada's Heartland lakes. People from all over the world come here to experience unique wilderness trophy fishing or just to take a laid back outdoor vacation. Whether it's walleye fishing for the pan or exciting northern fishing action you seek, you will find the trip of a lifetime is waiting for you in the Heart of Canada's Great Outdoors the "Patricia Region" of Ontario

Fish Species
Northwestern Ontario common species of fish you'll find in lakes in Canada's Heartland include Walleye, Northern Pike, Muskellunge, Smallmouth Bass, Lake Trout, Whitefish, Perch, Brook Trout & Sauger. Not all species are found in all lakes.

Walleye - World Record: 25 lb WalleyeOur premier sport fish. Slender fish moderately compressed. Generally the color is brassy yellow and gold shading to olive and yellow mottled with brass. Belly and sides are white tinged with green; head is slender and tapered; lower jaw slightly shorter than the upper. It has two separate distinct dorsal fins and the mouth is well supplied with strong teeth. Flesh is white, firm and delicately flavoured. Also known as 'pickerel'. Click here to see our list of walleye fishing outfitters

Northern Pike - World Record: 55 lb Northern PikeElongated slender fish with a color of bluish and greenish grey with more or less purplish luster on back and sides. Yellowish below and white on belly. Sides with irregular rows of small round yellowish and gold spots. Sides with irregular rows of small round yellowish and gold spots. Top of the head is dark olive green; mouth slender and large. One of the most consistent marks is that the entire cheek is scaled while only the upper half of opercle is scaled and the lower part is bare. Also known as 'jack fish'. Click here to see our list of northern fishing outfitters

Muskellunge - World Record: 65 lb MuskellungeColor is dark grey; sides having broken and unbroken stripes on a silvery background; the head is larger than that of the northern pike and both the cheek and opercle are scaled above but unscaled on the lower halves. Also known as 'muskie' or 'musky'. These are large trophy fish. Click here to see our list of muskie fishing outfitters

Smallmouth Bass - World Record: 11 lb Smallmouth Bass General color is dark golden green with a brownish luster which may be blotched with darker spots along the sides. The mouth is large but the corner of it does not extend past the eye. Sometimes called 'smallies'. Click here to see our list of smallmouth bass fishing outfitters

Lake Trout - World Record: 66 lb Lake Trout A white spotted fish black on top, gradually blending to light grey on the underside. These are large trophy fish found in cool, deep waters. Click here to see our list of lake trout fishing outfitters

Whitefish Whitefish A light grey spotted fish with a white underbelly. The head is smaller then other fish and they tend to stay in deeper waters. Click here to see our list of whitefish fishing outfitters

Perch - World Record: 4 lb Perch Although small, it reaches a length of twelve inches. Body is slim and considerably compressed; sides and back greenish grey to golden yellow with seven broad bars of a dusky color extending from the back to below the middle of the sides. Belly is white and sometimes yellowish. Click here to see our list of perch fishing outfitters

Brook Trout - World Record: 14 lb Brook Trout General color is black and may be more or less mottled or barred with red spots along the sides. The body is oblong, moderately compressed. Striking white fin edges separate it from the others. Click here to see our list of brook trout fishing outfitters

Sauger - World Record: 8 lb Sauger A dark and light brown grey fish with a patched blend on it's sides. Two distinct dorsal fins on top are spotted with dark brown, and the tail is evenly stripped. Click here to see our list of sauger fishing outfitters

Outdoors Card

Non-Canadian residents need an Outdoors Card to fish in Ontario if they are 18 years of age and over (NOTE: Non-residents 65 years of age or older are not exempt from requiring a licence). The sportfishing licence tag (1 one year or 8 day) or the conservation fishing licence tag (1 year or 8 day) accompanies the plastic Outdoors Card.

If you have never had an Outdoors Card, you can purchase a "Non-Canadian Resident Temporary Fishing Outdoors Card and Application" from a licence issuer or online at a cost of $9.68 (plus $2.26 service fee). The fishing licence tag will be a separate paper permit. The temporary Outdoors Card and paper licence are effective immediately. Your plastic Outdoors Card will be mailed to you and is valid for 3 years. The link to do this online is

If you are renewing your Non-Canadian Resident Fishing Outdoors Card, you may do so online at

Fishing Licences 2015

Like most places you will need a fishing license to legally fish in Ontario. Licenses (both fishing and hunting are readily available throughout the area usually through bait and tackle stores or most of the Region's outfitters. Licenses come in several flavors but generally are either a Sportfishing licence (full limit) or a conservation Licence (reduced limit). Many lodges and outfitters now include a conservation licence as part of their packages. Just ask!

For Holders of a valid Outdoors Card (in Canadian dollars including taxes)
Fishing licence fees for non-residents are:

Fishing Seasons

Some article and tips:

There are also some Fishing Tips and Articles on this site to help you get started on planning your fishing trip to Canada.
Click here for a list of Fishing Articles.

Before you start fishing:
When making a fishing trip to North Western Ontario (Canada's Heartland), you should always make reservations in advance to ensure that you have a place to stay. Most fishing lodges and outposts book up well in advance of the season. We suggest you book your accommodations as soon as you have your trip dates setup. American Plan Fishing Lodges and Resorts can usually supply ( on request) most everything you need for your trip and basic plans include most or all of your meals. If you want to get the cost down a bit you could consider a Housekeeping Plan Lodge or Camp where you can do your own cooking and cleaning. This will help make the trip more affordable. Another option is to go on an Outpost Adventure where the Outfitter flies or boats you in and sets you up at a wilderness cabin (often the only one on the lake) for a real total wilderness experience.
Click here to find the one best lodge/ Outpost for you and your family.

Ontario Fishing Regulations:

"Make sure you know the fishing regulations" says the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR). They release updates of the fishing regulations each year. You can either pick up a hard copy of the fishing regulations by stopping at many of the local Bait and Tackle Stores or the local MNR office. Or for online details on Ontario Fishing Regulations, Click here.

Let's talk fishing in Canada's Heartland: is a Canadian Fishing & Hunting specialized chat forum (featuring fishing reports for the Canada's Heartland area). Here fishermen and hunters are able to exchange experiences and share insights with each other as well as read what the latest fishing has been like in the Patricia Region. Click here to visit the fishing forums on

Rod. Reel and Tackle Suggestions:

For information on where to purchase fishing equipment, tackle, and gear locally - see our listing of Allied Members in the Northwest Ontario Region. Or simply do a search by business sector.

Walleye Gear:

Rods, Reels, Line:
Light to Medium Light 5'6" - 6'6" graphite rods with fast action tip, reels to match rod for weight and balance 6-8 lb. test line

Artificial Baits:
1/8 - 1/4 oz. jig heads - good colors are chartreuse, white, black yellow and pink
Twister Tails 1 1/2 - 2 1/2" long, Lindy rigs
Spinner Minnow Rigs - Little Joes 24" long with a 3/4 oz in link sinker
Road runners, Berkley Power Grubs, Fuzzie grubs, Floating Jig Heads, Rapalas, Shad Raps, Thunderstick, Rat -L-Trap, Bagleys, Hot & tots
Sinkers - Bullet (1/8 oz-3/8 oz for spinner rigs) Lindy Type (1/8 ox - 3/8 oz for Lindy Rigs), Split Shot(BB-5), bottom bounces (3/8 oz - 2 oz)

Live Bait:
Minnows, night crawlers or leeches.
(No live bait can be imported into Canada except for night crawlers and they must be in worm bedding - no dirt!)

Northern Pike Gear:

Rods, Reels, Line: Medium to Medium Heavy 6' - 7' graphite rods (medium heavy when using monofilament lines and medium action when using spectra and kevlar type lines), bait casting reels to match rod weight and balance, 10-15 lb. test line.

Johnson Silver Minnow, Red Eye Spoons, Dardevle Spoons, Suicks, Rapalas, Super Shad Rap, Mepps, Tandem Spinner Baits, Slug-go, Blue Foxes, Little Cleos, Large Bass Spinner Baits and Big Rat-L-traps Steel Leaders Recommended

Fly Fishing Gear for Northern Pike:
Fly Rod - 9 wt
Fly Reel - 7-10 wt
Fly Line - Floating/Sink tip - 9 wt
Leader - 30-40#
Flies - Whitlock's Hare Water Pup, Whitlock's Hare Worm, Dahlberg Rabbit Strip Diver
Clouser Minnow, Lefty's Deceivers, Sizes 3/0 to 2.

Muskie Gear:

Rods, Reels, Line:
Medium to heavy action rod with 14-20 pound test line

Artificial Baits:
Jerk Baits - Suick, Reef Hawg, bobbie,
Crank Baits - Magnum Rapala, Cisco Kid, Depth Rader,
Top Water Baits - Tally Wacker, Giant Jackpot, Prop Type Baits
Bucktails, Spoons, Jigs and Bass spinner Baits.
Steel Leaders Recommended

Lake Trout Gear:

Rods, Reels, Line:
Medium Heavy to heavy 6' - 7' rods with roller tip when using wire line Penn 209 or Daiwa line counter reels or similar type and cap. Spectra and devlar equipped rod and reels could be used with 280-300 yds. line cap. 14 pound test line is recommended.

Sutton spoons # 1 choice. (Gold & silver works best.). Big Rapalas, Shad Raps, Rat-L-traps, Red eyes, Doctor Spoons, Northport Nailers, Flutter spoons and 2 oz. jigs for dead bait rigs. For late summer fishing you can use a 3-way swivel and snap swivel to handle 2-8 oz weights. Dipsey Divers also work well to keep your lure running deep. In spring, use in line planers such as Yellow Birds to spread your surface runner baits.

Small Mouth Bass Gear:

Rods, Reels, Line:
Medium action rod - Spinning or Bait cast with appropriate reels 6-8 pound test line

Artificial Baits:
Bass spinner baits and Buzz Baits- 1/8 to 1/4 oz. jig and twister tails - 2 1/" - 4" long, Power Grubs, Top Water Baits, Rapalas, Rattle & Raps, Mepps, Beatle Spinners, Devil Horses

Live Bait:
Leeches are the # 1 choice or night crawlers work well also.

Fly Fishing Gear For Smallmouth Bass
Fly Rod - 6-7 wt.
Fly Reel - 5-7 wt.
Fly Line - 6-7 wt.
Leader - Cortland, 4X to 2X, 9 ft
Flies - Crayfish, Muddler Minnow, Marabou Leech, Woolly bugger, Dahlberg Diver, Sizes 2-6.