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The Bass & Trout of Algoma

Updated: By Mark Melnyk

The word “world class” gets thrown about a LOT and has almost become a cliché in the angling world, however, if you are truly vested, take your time and do your research, you will find World Class angling opportunities right here. Opportunities for trophy fish in the Algoma region are basically endless no matter the species of fish that call Algoma’s waters home – but you have to do your homework.

The Algoma region encompasses a large area in Ontario and is internationally known for outdoor recreation including fly fishing!  Anglers in search of some of the fiercer fighters our waters hold, will, and do travel great distances. All to target species which provide tremendous opportunities for great numbers of quality fish. Two of these more-sought-after species are Smallmouth Bass and our Eastern Brook Trout.  What’s wonderful about both of these adversaries is they are readily caught and released on fly!

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Angling seasons for Smallmouth Bass in much of Algoma are literally open all year long.

With a hitch.

North of highway 17 throughout the region is open for catch and release fishing for Bass 24/7, 365. This offers all anglers the opportunity to catch smallmouth bass all year long, where many other regions are closed. For fly anglers, the fun starts as soon as the ice melts and continues right through until freeze up in the fall. When the ice is off the lakes and rivers, the feeding frenzy begins and can last all season long!

Brook Trout seasons are a little different. Fly anglers can generally target brook trout as soon as the ice is off the rivers and lakes, however the angling season for our “Jewels of the North” run from January 1st until Canadian Labour Day or the end of September for some Algoma Fishing regions. Regardless of the species you target, giants do abound!

That Big

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Smallmouth Bass and Brook Trout are revered for their pound-for-pound size and power. Aggression is guaranteed when both fish eat, and they have the ability to grow to enormous sizes.  Big fish do equal a big fight on fly.  It’s not uncommon to release bass in the 4-7 lb range in Algoma as well as Brook Trout in the same size category. Both fish inhabit lakes and rivers and are cold, clear, clean-water species.  Substantive surface flies such as poppers and mice as well as subsurface flies such as streamers and nymphs will readily fool these angry predators. Come well prepared with a variety of flies to cover the entire water column for best results.

That Beautiful

There is nothing quite like the moment you lay eyes on a big “lit up” Smallmouth Bass either in your net or more often than not, in the air.  The fish’s iridescently green football shaped body, mottled with vibrant brown or black vertical bars remind many of the Aurora as they appear, fade and reappear again before release. Their eyes are unmistakably red with meanders of orange and rust speckled throughout.  A bass’s wrist, (or short section before its tail) is often its most impressive trait with a thickness indicative of pure power and solid strength. The wrist is the engine which drives a Smallmouth bass’s powerful propeller.

Brook Trout are arguably the most beautiful freshwater fish to swim in Algoma Country. Spanning from bright silver to a darkly mazed back, then fading to a bright orange belly, speckled with pink to red dots is truly something to behold. Then, when you notice the unique blue halo surrounding each and every spot, it’s hard to believe that mother nature herself didn’t hand paint each brook trout individually. The only flaw in the brook trout’s design is the white leading edge of each of its fins which will ever-so-often highlight a bird of prey to its location in the water.  To catch and release an Algoma Brook Trout back into the river is an experience every fly angler should experience at least once in their lives.

Fly anglers the world over are in constant search for new adventures. Adventures which take them to incredible places, to chase even more incredible fish species.  Whether you search them out as you “do it yourself” or you access one of Algoma’s remote fishing lodges, the Smallmouth Bass and Brook Trout of Ontario’s Algoma Country are unmistakably World Class.

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About Mark Melnyk

Currently, Mark is the host and producer of The New Fly Show. With a passion of fly fishing, the shows goal is to help both novice and veteran fly fishers everywhere by giving them a top-quality fly fishing series that will make them better anglers.

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