Summer is a time of love and many love to fish. In Northern Ontario, many anglers’ passion is the long warm days of Walleye fishing. For the French River, Walleye are active and move from their spring time patterns to deeper waters and current. Early Summer Walleye Locations? Early summer Walleye fishing is like Spring Opener. Typically, they are near shallows and sticking with vegetation and shadowy structures. They hunt for fish eggs and fry, bug larva and minnows while the waters are cooler. Just like how you like room temperature, Walleye prefer to stay in water temperatures around 19.5°C (67°F), but will tolerate water temperatures between 10°C ~ 24.5°C (50°F ~ 76°F). In the French River Provincial Park, the best places to start for early summer are in the Northern sections of the Lower French River. Your primary areas to target would be shallow bREAD 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 >
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 >
Every fishing season, many Ontario anglers who went jigging for walleye (pickerel) may have caught sauger without ever blinking an eye. Sauger are great impersonators of their larger cousins. Often sauger school in similar habits and hunt in similar territories and structures as walleye. Because of this, it’s not uncommon to see hybrids called “Saugeye” between the two species. The differentiation could be even more confusing as sauger count towards your walleye limit, so distinguishing them from walleye can be helpful when you have a good fishing day on the French River! Size French River Sauger as seen with its Black Blotches on Back Sauger are smaller than adult walleye with them averaging between 10 – 16 inches (24 – 41 centimetres) and weighing between 0.2 – 0.9 kilograms (0.5 – 2 pounds) according to studies by Ministry of Natural Resources and ForesREAD 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 >
As days become shorter and the leaves begin to change, walleye fishing too turns over a new leaf. Fall is a fabulous time for walleye fishing on the French River! Schools of walleye return from the Georgian Bay to join the resident walleye population for spring spawn. Measuring a French River Walleye Finding Baitfish In preparation for the winter & their seasonal spawning, walleye form hunting packs looking for a variety of baitfish. While there are many species of minnows, including emerald shiners and northern redbelly dace; the most productive and best areas to fish are ones that hold lake herring (cisco). Image provided by Wikipedia Cisco are a fatty-oily fish that are part of the salmon family. They are a tasty treat to help fatten walleyes in the fall. You can find schools near the water's surface as they pop like popcorn on calm days. However, it is diffiREAD MORE >
We did not have too many highlights this year, but here are a few photos from our 37th year. The first 2 photos are of the biggest pickerel caught (and released), a 23", by my boat partner, Terry. The next 2 are of Eric and his battle in heavy current to hook & land a rare species called a 'Rock Fish' (or a chip off the old Canadian Shield block). Weighing in at approximately 2 lb., this epic battle ended with expert netting by his boat partner, Murray. Terry is a little upset, as he had held the previous 'Rock Fish' record! However the 'Rock Fish' had the last laugh as it somehow managed to eat his minnow! The last 2 photos are of pan-size pickerel caught by Carl & Adam.Thanks for another great stay at Bear's Den & see you next year!- Carson.READ 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 >
Welcome back to the French River! The fishing has been excellent with smiles galore. The trees are picture perfect in the windswept landscape. Come see for yourself what your next adventure entails in Northeastern Ontario!READ 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 >
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 >
Ready for the spring fling? Ontario Spring Walleye Many seasoned fishermen are currently relining their reels and sharpening their hooks for the anticipation of the Walleye Opener for May 20th (3rd Saturday of May) on the Lower French River. Unlike other large bodies of water like Nippissing, Lake Ontario and even Georgian Bay, the French River is unique. The river is a confluence of five different rivers coming together to form different tributaries. The water is constantly flowing and mixing oxygen from top to bottom (up to depths of 110 feet) through the deep troughs created by glaciers millions of years ago. The remaining granite rock has created structure throughout the French River System, providing areas to hold schools of walleye or pickerel. Example of Spring High Water Runoff from snow and frozen ground of previous winter usually leaves the French River at a high wREAD 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 >
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 >
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 French River under the protection of slot limits since 1994. Walleyes or Pickerel, as locals call them, grow large and fight hard in this great Canadian wilderness river system. They have large cloudy light sensitive eyes. Walleye have adapted the stained waters of the French River Provincial Park and Georgian Bay. They tend to feed at sunrise, sunset or at night in the clearer water areas. Migrating walleyes head for the Georgian Bay by late summer. They begin to return late August to prepare for spawning in the spring. Many large walleye remain in the French River all summer, providing fisherman trophy walleye fishing all season. We recommend using live bait rigREAD 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 BeREAD 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 adulREAD 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 >
Do you have that special outdoor lover and need a special gift for the holidays? Have you bought every lure possible for the tackle box? Christmas is closing in quickly and still don't know what to doREAD MORE >
We are not open yet but the Covid-19 situation seems to be improving. "Private parks, marinas, golf courses, and animal boarding facilities can reopen on Saturday [May 16, 2020]." - Doug FordYahooREAD 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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