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 genitalREAD MORE >
Fall is a fantastic time to fish in many of Ontario’s rivers, especially the French River Delta. You don’t have to be a professional to catch trophy Largemouth Bass at this time of year! For over 30 years, we’ve witnessed many guests catch bigger bass on the French River, especially during our shoulder seasons. Below are five simple tips for Ontario fall river bass fishing: Shrinking Habitat Fall fishing in Ontario usually lasts from late August to October. You can split the fall season into three sub-seasons: Early fallIndian SummerLate fall As the days cool, this affects the fish’s habitats and feeding zones. Early Fall Largemouth Bass fishing on the French River Provincial Park, Northeastern Ontario. During the early fall, fishing will be similar to summer fishing as the waters remain warm. But, Largemouth wREAD MORE >
The most sought after gamefish in Ontario is the Walleye. Their meat tends to be sweet and savoury, while being simple to filet. Walleye are also known as Pickerel in Canada, they are the largest member of the Perch family. Catching Walleye can be challenging for beginners fishing throughout Ontario's many watersheds. Yet, learning how to fish for them in rivers is greatly rewarding. Before discussing further, this guide assumes you have a basic understanding of rod handling and etiquette should you fish with a friend or guide. If you need a beginner’s guide to fishing, see the Experience Fishing program we offer for more. Walleye Rods, Lines & Reels Just like a rod for bass fishing, you need the right tools for the task. If you have only one choice for a Walleye fishing rod - select a Medium power rod with a Fast action. Medium power rods are the most versatiREAD MORE >
Trophy Northern Pike fishing in Canada is among the most exciting experiences any angler should hook into. In my experience fishing the French River, Pike that grow to 28+ inches develop personalities like Muskie. They can explode into action with ferocity like their prized cousin and give anglers a great fight to reel in. With their voracious appetite, there are plenty of opportunities for Pike fishing the French River in Northeastern Ontario. Below are some simple fishing tips to land your next trophy. Important Tips for Pike Fishing Location - Pike are aggressive hunters and will strike your lure within their territory. Weeds lines, bottlenecks and rocky drop offs allow these fish to ambush unsuspecting prey. If you are catching small pike, turn around and fish over deeper water. Larger Pike will eat smaller ones, just like how Muskie feed on them. If fishing isREAD 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 >
Largemouth and Smallmouth Bass are North America’s two favourite sunfish and are among the most popular freshwater game fish. Many fishing tournaments occur annually, along with many fishing shows and of course the amazing destinations you can go fishing for them. Largemouth and Smallmouth Bass are popular for many reasons and among many more anglers. For myself, they’re always a simple feisty joy to hook back into my youth — fishing with my mother and father out in our guide boat on the French River. Photo of Mom and Me holding a French River Largemouth Bass before the release. While these two bass may be similar such as their shape, sizes or even a shared river between them. Let’s discuss the differences between Largemouth and Smallmouth Bass and how to catch these fish on the French River. How to Tell the Difference Between LargemouthREAD MORE >
Selecting the right bass fishing rod will help you be a better angler. The fishing rod is one of the most important tools for catching and landing bass. The fishing rod is the foundation of your entire angling setup and can influence your choices in bass baits. In some regard, fishing can be similar to golf where different types of irons, woods and hybrid clubs are preferred for different terrains and distances on the golf course. Likewise, the fishing rod comes in various lengths, materials, power and actions. Choosing a fishing rod can make your head spin with a variety of things to consider. With that in mind, I’ve summed up the most important things you should know, as well as the pros and cons of various types of fishing poles out there. So let’s dive in! Dina Emery of GCFA holding a French River Largemouth using a solid bass fishing rod. Types of Bass FiREAD 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 >
"The Government of Canada remains committed to keeping Canadians safe, particularly during these unprecedented and challenging times. Each year, the launch of the North American Safe Boating Awareness Week is an opportunity to remind all Canadians to put their safety and the safety of their families first, and I know that I can count on recreational boaters to do their part to adhere to safety measures and put into practice the recommendations of local public health authorities to help reduce the spread of COVID-19."Marc Garneau (2020), Former Minister of Transport After the end to the Stay-at-Home order on May 19, 2021, many Canadian residents will return to the water. Currently that's over 16 million Canadian's who recreate on the many rivers, lakes and other various bodies of water. As with last season, safety should be a priority with Covid-19 for many who will be traveling.READ MORE >
"The water you touch in a river is the last of that which has passed, and the first of that which is coming; thus, it is with time."Leonardo Da Vinci Spring is often ripe and plentiful of fresh opportunities to start a new fishing season. It is this time each year fishing enthusiasts shed their winter coats and clean their tackle boxes eagerly waiting for game fish to finish spawning. But there are also great opportunities to be found among “pan fish”. One of the most sought-after pan fish in the French River is Crappie, specifically black crappie. Black crappie is very similar to white crappie in body shape, sizes and habits. Key differences between the two crappie species are: Black crappies are darker in colour and are black spotted. Black crappies have seven or eight spines in their dorsal fin. Whereas white crappies, have only five or six dorsal spines. CraREAD MORE >
With the holidays being near, now is a good time to impress your family with one of the juiciest and tastiest Turkey Dinners. While there are other methods of cooking from deep fry, slow cook or grill - roasting a whole turkey is very simple and traditional for the holidays. To make it simpler, faster and safer this recipe will NOT include filling as you can make lip smacking dressing as an alternative. Roast Turkey What is needed? Before we begin, we need to prepare. If you have a fresh turkey, feel free to skip the first step. 1. With a frozen turkey make sure you have time and space to leave the bird thaw in either a fridge or cooler for about 3 – 4 days before roasting depending on size. If not fully thawed before cooking place the turkey in cold water to finish as you prepare the roaster and cooking area. 2. Prepare your roaster by spraying the pan anREAD MORE >
The Value of Experience of Fishing Have you watched the excitement in a child’s eyes when you share the experience of fishing? They are overjoyed with the opportunity to learn how to fish. Of course, fishing does not mean they will catch a fish. Rather, a child’s excitement glows at the opportunity to learn something new. Fresh air, a new “toy”, something that mom or dad have talked about awaits. Pride and joy abound in the great outdoors. Water has a sense of refreshing and relaxing. And then, that first yank on their rod. The rod bends and it is an event to get hooked. They squeal or cheer at the sight of their first fish and then they want to catch another. They want to cast the line; they want to bait their own hook and it is the beginning of a lifetime of pleasure. There is nothing like the thrill of catching your first fish.READ MORE >
Warm weather is near as the ice begins to melt, we say our heartfelt goodbyes to winter as we pack away our ice fishing tackle. To warm our hearts with the fiery ambition to catch trophy spring walleye we mark our calendars for the 3rd Saturday in May. Anglers who enjoy fishing walleye-rich waters of Northeastern Ontario should visit the French River Provincial Park. There’s approximately 110 kilometres between Lake Nippissing and Georgian Bay. In our area, there is 65 square kilometres (40 square miles) to fish in the Lower French River Delta with varying depths ranging from 1 foot to 180 feet in the spring. The Lower French River system has 3 major inlets flowing into our section of the river. They are the French River, Pickerel River & Wanapitei Rivers that will help narrow your search along with 2 major outlets that flow into Georgian Bay. A happy guest holdingREAD MORE >
Spring walleye fishing in Canada is bountiful and a great start to any angler’s fresh fishing season. Although there’s much more about walleye fishing than this brief tips and tricks guide, the following information is bound to give you a great spring start. You should, however, consider visiting a walleye fishing hot-spot in Canada (such as Bear’s Den Lodge) to get the best fishing experience! One of the many French River walleyes to be found during spring. Tip #1 – Tools of the Trade: In order to begin walleye fishing a recommended tool is obviously a fishing rod, but what rod should you use? At Bear’s Den Lodge we recommend that many of our guests fishing the French River should bring a fast to moderate action rod in graphite or carbon for jigging. A shorter and faster action rod (generally 5.5 – 6 ft rod though varies per person) is preferable foREAD MORE >
In early spring, right after ice has thawed, walleye will spawn shortly after. The next ten days from pickerel spawn, they become rather lethargic - not wanting to go very far from their spawning beds and put in little effort to catch bait fish. By two weeks, they return to normal schooling patterns and continue through the French River System. After returning to their normal patterns, the walleye will search through the waters for the recent perch spawn, shiners and other bait fish during their spawn. Sometimes, they will even go out of their way to target bass spawning beds since largemouth and smallmouth bass spawn later in the season. A good fisherman or fisherwoman would be wise to bring a selection of lures to mimic the local prey. Even better is the use of minnows for the picky pickerel. Article by Joe Barefoot, M.B.READ MORE >
Friends and family vacations can be adventurous, exciting, and memorable when planning for a successful safe French River wilderness adventure. This may be that once in a lifetime dream holiday and Bear’s Den Lodge wants to see that everyone remains safe. BEFORE YOU PACK TO LEAVE Planning a safe travel trip is important for you and your group or family. Several important factors to consider whether you are traveling within Ontario, Canada or from abroad: Please check your health insurance policies and make sure your covered while visiting abroad and have the appropriate medical insurance numbers to contact. Simple over the counter medications may make your stay more pleasant if you are prepared during your travel and may include antacids, antihistamines, cough drops for that nagging cough, Tylenol/Ibuprofen or other pain relief for finding those muscles or occasionalREAD MORE >
Where do I start? There are so many options and choices for those who wish to travel and select a "plan" or "package" for your stay in Northern Ontario. It becomes very confusing when seeing different terminology going as far back as even the 1940s still in use. Some younger generations may see terms like 'European' or 'American' Plans and think well I'm a Canadian, Chinese, German, or any other country they are traveling from and ask, "where's my plan?". [caption id="attachment_2266" align="aligncenter" width="300"] French River Shore Lunch[/caption] American Plan vs Housekeeping A good way to plan for your Great Canadian escape is to ask yourself what you and your friends or family want to experience? Do you wish to have no restraints on the time you can go out fishing and exploring the Ontario Park or would your rather not worry on having to prepare your own meals? [captiREAD MORE >
“Most of the world is covered by water. A fisherman’s job is simple: Pick out the best parts.” – Charles W. Waterman It’s a passion that etches itself into an individual’s spirit. Each cast is like a painter’s brushstroke in the canvas of the soul where nature is the setting and the passion for the sport are the various colors that breathes life into the angler’s work. Every scratch on the lure, frayed line, and even every reel that lost its crank are all part of the sport we call musky fishing. Musky fishing is not something for the faint of heart as it takes time and dedication to find those “best” spots, earning one of its various nicknames’ “the fish of ten-thousand casts”. Chris Burnette and Harry Haddix, returned to Bear’s Den Lodge because of their successful previous outings fishing the French River, Ontario. [caption id="atREAD 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 >
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 wonderful activities to reconnect ourselves with nature, there is always a need to stay smart and stay safe. Because of our countless opportunities to be in, around, or even on the water; tragically there are hundreds of Canadians who drown each year according to the Canadian Red Cross and the Lifesaving Society. For those who know me, would understand why I have decided to write this short article. I have had my own experience with near drowning, but what caused me to speak out about these sometimes avoidable accidents was a news article of a 69-year old local man who unfortunately passed away on October, 15th 2016. While I never knew this man, I can empathize for his family. Below, I havREAD MORE >
Returning to the French River Bill and Nancy Hamblin talk to the lodge owners, Art & Brenda Barefoot, before the hunt for the elusive French River Muskie. The weather conditions for the day were spotty with high winds and choppy waters but no musky can be caught without putting effort into it. In their search for the massive monster, Bill trolls his chartreuse bladed black bucktail and bam, the fight begins! Within the first two hours after to their arrival to the Bear's Den Lodge Bill hooked into an impressive 45.5 inch Musky, creating the first of another successful muskie hunt. [caption id="attachment_1465" align="aligncenter" width="578"] Bill's first day French River Fishing , an impressive 45.5 inch Musky[/caption] On day two, just after breakfast at the Lodge, Bill and Nancy went searching for another French River Musky. Once again after several hours of dedication in flailiREAD MORE >
Walleyes (a.k.a. Pickerel) are known to be a finicky fish. Some anglers describe walleye feeding habits as something of a constant “tap-tap” feeling or a bump. But, there are occasions when they are less weary and strike out of instinct; sometimes greedily as they pursue lures meant for large Pike and Musky. While those instances are not unheard of for French River fishing spots, especially during the early spring and fall months, more often than naught, walleye have to be tempted and teased using live bait presentations which account for the vast majority caught. Walleyes, like perch, are a schooling fish. They cluster around structural elements like rock humps, inside turns, break-line transitions, shoals, sunken logs, fallen trees, and docks on the French River Delta. Depending on the time of the season, they will migrate and follow schools of baitfish. Other times, they will laREAD MORE >
Are you planning for a camping trip this year? Already shopping at your favourite retailers and outdoor suppliers? Are you prepared? Something that I’m sure has been bothering many, or at least gaining interest, is the rising concern for the Zika Virus. We have been hearing about it on TV, in newspapers, and even the various social networks. Various media outlets are bringing to light different advisory warnings for those traveling to countries with the outbreaks. While various regions all over the world are still in their winter seasons the virus will have a harder time spreading until spring peaks with the mosquito population. Do not fret! This short article will detail import things you should know about the virus and ways you can stay healthy in the great outdoors! The most common way to contract the virus is from mosquito bites. According to the Centers for Disease CoREAD MORE >
French River Delta landscape of granite rock, pine trees and more to appreciate. Does nature inspire you? If yes, Bear's Den Lodge would like to share an inspiring "place" some call a "special plREAD MORE >
One of the most popular freshwater fish species in North America, are different members of the Sunfish (Centrarchidae) family that come in a huge collection of shapes, colours and sizes. Because of sREAD 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 catchiREAD MORE >
Walleye fishing in the French River Delta and Georgian Bay has one of the highest rod hours in Ontario Canada. Ever increasing numbers, these fish naturally spawn in the Delta of the FREAD MORE >
Have you ever wondered what birds see? Imagining yourself flying over any obstacle and taking in the vastness that is the open skies? We always look for ways to immerse ourselves, to reconnect withREAD MORE >
2870J Hartley Bay Rd.
Alban, Ont. P0M 1A0
Tel: (705) 857-2757
124 Shagbark Rd.
Alum Bank, PA 15521
Tel: (814) 839-2443
The NOHFC promotes economic prosperity across Northern Ontario by providing financial assistance to projects – big and small, rural and urban – that stimulate economic recovery and growth, job creation and skilled workforce development.
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Destination Northern Ontario coordinates, aligns and invests in sub-regional programs and leads in identified pan-northern management functions; co-ordination of marketing, product development, workforce and industry training, and investment attraction with the ultimate goal to significantly increase tourism revenues in Northern Ontario. Increased visitation and yield are achieved by delivering programs designed to enhance existing tourism products and developing new tourism opportunities for the North.
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Situated at the entrance to the North Channel amidst sparkling white quartzite peaks and pink granite
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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