Smallmouth Bass on the Fly

A Visit to Trophy Alley

Updated: By Colin McKeown

Bass, both smallmouth and largemouth, are arguably one of the most popular species of fish to target with a fishing rod. They are also, arguably, one of the strongest freshwater fish pound-for-pound anglers can catch and release. These are but two basic reasons why bass is so popular to target on a fly rod. That, coupled with the fact that they are “generally” very keen to eat an angler’s offering makes them the perfect species for beginner and seasoned fly anglers alike.


In Algoma Country, there are ample opportunities to target and catch both largemouth and smallmouth bass on the fly.  Throughout the three soft water seasons in Algoma, fly fishers make the spectacular trek to the region specifically to target the bass of what we call Trophy Alley.

Though the fishing is exceptional throughout Algoma Country, Trophy Alley is a stretch of Algoma travelling east from Sault Ste. Marie to the Spanish River system and spanning north about 30 miles. It’s peppered with drive-to lakes and rivers that house multiple fish species reaching trophy proportions. Two of those species are…wait for it…smallmouth and largemouth bass.


In Algoma, north of Ontario’s Trans Canada Highway 17, there is a season for catch-and-release bass all year long (outside of open bass). This provides fly anglers with the opportunity to fish for ice-out fish through to freeze up effectively allowing the full gamut of understanding as anglers how to target fish throughout their year. From the smelt run of ice-out spring to the feed bag belly fattening bass experience before freeze-up, now, Ontario fly anglers can present techniques basically all year. Ripping streamers such as springtime Murdoch minnows and game-changers, to summer topwater popper patterns right through to throwing large articulated baitfish patterns in the fall, Trophy Alley has you covered.



There is a myriad of places to stay while in Algoma Country’s Trophy Alley that accommodate almost anyone’s budget. Guided adventures provided by full-service lodges ensure you’re dialled into the fishery right from first feet on the boat to the final handshake at the dock.

For those who have a boat and want to do it yourself, there are also outfitters that cater to both DIY anglers and those looking for a housekeeping option offering unique fishing adventures and multi-levels of service for anglers.


And finally, there are guide services for fly anglers in Algoma catering to those who want the chance to catch trophy bass without any of the hassles all season long.


Algoma Country bass is easily accessible, with opportunities for travellers to have greatly legitimate chances at catching and releasing world-class bass.  Consider Sault Ste. Marie, Algoma’s jump-off point to all things angling in the region. World-class fishing, on a budget for one of the world’s most sought-after gamefish? Sounds just about perfect!


About Colin McKeown

Colin McKeown is the producer of The New Fly Fisher Television Series and several documentary series for the Outdoor Life Network, the Discovery Channel and the History Channel.

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