Have you ever wondered if the last Muskie or Pike you caught was male or female? It's a common question that everyone has when you're learning about trophy freshwater fishing. Gendering a Muskie or Pike is quite simple, have them fill out a form! Sexual differences between Female & Male Muskies Jokes aside, the simplest way to identify an Esox's gender is to support and gently turn the fish over. On the underside of the Muskies and Pike is a visible pinkish-red urogenital opening (a.k.a. "vent") near the anal fin. Male fish have a "key-hole" shaped vent while females have a "pear" shaped vent. Female Esox have larger vents than males to help release BB-sized eggs during spawning. While the difference is minor, Northern Pike and Muskies have slightly different internal and external urogenital anatomy. In Pike, the genital and urinary ducts open directly to tREAD MORE >
Canada has held a long tradition of conservation. It first started with First Nations (Native Americans). Next, was the movement of university-trained foresters and industry leaders near the end of the 19th century. The work of “Canada’s first celebrity conservationist”, Jack Miner, led to the Canada-US Convention Protecting Migratory Birds. This paved the way for future conservationists and biodiversity research to protect our ecosystem. Since 1994, Ontario has enacted slot limits to help preserve our fisheries. Today, many anglers take part in “catch and release”. Which ensures the long-term health of Ontario’s vast ecology. Equipment & Landing It’s always a good idea to prepare for the catch of a lifetime. Understand the kind of fish species you will be targeting and the potential size you have to land. The fishing net isREAD MORE >
What’s the difference between Pike and Pickerel? A seemingly simple question but one that can have confusing answers depending on where you are. I grew up in a fishing camp in Northeastern Ontario, Canada and had great opportunities to meet many individuals from all across the US, Canada, UK, Australia and many other countries. What can be fascinating are the names we give fish that are similar and yet can be wildly different. For those in the US, when asking this question they may have the idea of a Northern Pike vs a Chain Pickerel. Whereas here in Canada, Pickerel refers to Walleye in the US or Zander in other parts of the world. French River Northern Pike - Northeastern Ontario So who is right? Perhaps our confusion in North America can be thanked by the late British Rear-Admiral, Sir John Franklin. In Chapter 3 of his book “The Journey To The PolREAD MORE >
Muskie and Northern Pike are North America's two favourite trophy game fish. Both swim silently through the turbid waters of the French River, Ontario. Before exploding into action, striking unsuspecting prey from cover. At a glance, these two slender and toothy apex freshwater predators can be easily mistaken for the other. Just like walleye and sauger, identifying subtle differences between “Muskie vs Northern Pike” is key to understanding their respective habitats. Mike Elhers holding a 55 inch French River Muskie in front of Bear's Den Lodge Are Muskie and Pike the Same? In short, no. Despite their slimy disposition, Northern Pike and Muskie are only close relatives. Both species are from the genus “Esox” along with other members of the Pike family such as Amur Pike, Chain Pickerel and Southern Pike. They are all differeREAD MORE >
Spring is a lively and a prime fishing time for northern pike on the French River. In Northern Ontario, after the spawn is a period that offers excellent odds for catching trophies; as well as catching copious amounts of energetic young-lings. Depending on weather and water temperatures, a variety of fishing patterns and baits are effective to reel in the new season. Joe Barefoot, M.B. with a 38 inch French River spring northern pike. Habitats and Areas of Interest Early Spring In the early spring, pike migrate into warmer waters of tributaries, bays and sloughs when water temps are above 40°F (4.5°C). Targeting pike in funneled areas boosts your odds for catching. Structures like channel edges, points, old weed lines to rock piles are prime areas to fish first in the spring. When the water temperatures on the French River reach 55 – 60°F (12.8 –&nbsREAD MORE >
On his first trip to Bear’s Den Lodge, 10 year old Tommy L. caught this 24 pound, 47” musky on a white spinnerbait. In addition, a total of 131 pike were boated by the group in 3 days of fishing with his father and grandfather on the French River. A trip that Tommy will never forget! Will you be next?READ MORE >
4 Tips for Spring pike fishing from local legendary French River fisherman & guide, Art Barefoot - owner of Bear's Den Lodge. 1. Look in the shallow dark bottom bays along the edge of emerging weed beds. 2. Great lures to use at this time of the year are spinnerbaits in white, yellow or chartreuse with spoons in the 5/8 - 1 oz sizes. 3. If you are only finding small "hammer handle sized" pike, turn around and look at the back of the boat and cast deeper. 4. Larger Pike are usually in deeper water, staging on structure to ambush the smaller pike that are traveling in and out of the bay. By Joe Barefoot Click here for more pike fishing tips.READ MORE >
As the long winter is nearing its chilly end and the warm spring around the corner, many anglers are preparing their fishing gear for the new year. On the third Saturday, May 19th, Walleye and Northern Pike will kickstart the Spring Opener for the 2018 season on the French River. So What Does This Mean? Spring can be the most rewarding time of year to fish for either walleye or pike, but it can also be the most challenging. Finding either species, usually is the hardest part of catching them after the spring thaw. However, if you tailor your search methods to the water color and temperature then you'll be on the biggest game fish of the season in no time. So Where Am I? Walleye fishing is about being at the right place at the right time. In spring, some of the largest factors depend on the weather and water conditions as they can affect when walleye and other specREAD MORE >
Would you like to Experience Fishing? Did you know that Bear's Den Lodge is a pilot site for this exciting program to help educate "women, children and new Canadians"? What about adults, yes, we will also teach adults. The pilot program was launched in the French River under the French River Resorts Association with hopes to spread the program idea to other outfitters in the Northern Ontario Region showing the opportunities that it creates. 2017, TNO's (Tourism Northern Ontario) Experience Fishing Pilot Program was introduced to the Northeastern Ontario Region because of a growing concern that our fishing heritage has was not being passed along to newer generations. These aims of educating younger generations of new anglers would keep the tradition alive along with revitalizing that particular section of the tourism market by making it fun and safe experience. BeREAD MORE >
The Outdoor Journal Radio Show is live every Saturday morning 8:05AM EST. If you're in southern Ontario (Canada), tune your radio to Sportsnet 590 The FAN AM or visit www.odjradio.com and listen live online. Angelo Viola has hosted Sportsnet 590 The FAN's "Outdoor Journal Radio Show" since 1996. Traveling around the world to produce popular television programs such as "The Fish'n Canada Show" and "The Outdoor Journal", Ang and fellow explorer Pete Bowman are no strangers to outdoor life. They use their experience and a unique sense of humour to cover the environmental issues and events that are important to the Canadian Outdoorsman. Listen to our Online Radio Outdoor Journal Radio - Bear’s Den LodgeREAD MORE >
As every fishing enthusiast can tell you, every fish is a predator. Northern Pike are no exception to this rule as their primeval morphology has not drastically changed over the 60 million years. Their sharp needle like teeth, vacant eyes, thick sticky slime and serpentine shape has them suited to be one of the most dominate freshwater predators to take reign in the freshwaters of the Northern Hemisphere. While there are several species of Pike in the Nearctic and Palearctic realms the most common in Ontario is the Northern Pike (Esox lucius). They reside in places like the French River where aquatic life and wildlife are abundant and have little in the way of natural predators for Northern Pike. Because of this, they are very populace and average around 4 -10 lbs (1.8 - 4.5 kg) but are considered a trophy when over 20 lbs (9 kg). Prime times for fishing Northern Pike on the FREAD MORE >
Know Your Cast, Fall Pattern Fishing. Northern Pike are an aggressive freshwater fish with an attitude of its own. These predators chase, attack lures and are very territorial. As fall approaches, weeds tend to die causing these fish to establish new habitats and hunting grounds during the cooler waters of autumn. During this period, they hang over hard bottom with green weeds until vegetation wanes and depletes oxygen necessary for aquatic life. This puts strain on pike in the noxious environment, causing northerns to seek new cover habitats over saddles, points, rocky reefs or shelves that descend into deeper water. [caption id="attachment_1084" align="aligncenter" width="960"] Catching Pike on the Cast[/caption] Weed edges over muddy bottoms normally die faster than solid bottoms. Cast for pike on weed edges of green vegetation. Often times in the fall, trolling spoonsREAD MORE >
Canada has held a long tradition of conservation. It first started with First Nations (Native Americans). Next, was the movement of university-trained foresters and industry leaders near the end of tREAD MORE >
From swimming to fishing, every year Canadians and tourists alike experience the abundance of aquatic activities through thousands of different waterfronts. Of those who experience and explore these wREAD MORE >
Life is a journey that can be full of challenges and unexpected surprises hiding behind even the most simple rock structures. For Chris and his son Austin, they visited the lower French River Delta fREAD MORE >
What’s the difference between Pike and Pickerel? A seemingly simple question but one that can have confusing answers depending on where you are. I grew up in a fishing camp in NortheasREAD MORE >
"Ever since I was a young boy I always had fond memories heading north and fishing with my brother in Ontario," says Art Barefoot (Co-Owner of Bear's Den Lodge). "From the people, the sights, and evenREAD MORE >
2870J Hartley Bay Rd.
Alban, Ont. P0M 1A0
Tel: (705) 857-2757
124 Shagbark Rd.
Alum Bank, PA 15521
Tel: (814) 839-2443
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YOUR Canadian COTTAGE FOR YOUR NEXT GETAWAY! French River Cottages available May, 2023 - 0ctober 2023. 3 day minimum charge per person applies. Prevailing rates available for shorter stays. Less than 3 days have added charges and are available. Make memories with family and friends on the French River, arrive as guests and leave as family!View Promotion