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Hello, I am a newbie fisherman. I have gone fishing multiple times in the gta with no luck (5 times lol). I was wondering if there are any parks or spots that are (1) willing to be shown to me physically (2) anyone is willing to write here. I have been trying different locations and they do not seem that good. I understand that the GTA may not be the best place for fishing but as a young adult that does not have the most free time or money, I’m looking for options that are somewhat local and more accessible. I also understand that someone wouldn’t probably share their spots, but this is a shot in the dark. Thank you
The Plan Last year during our trip to and American Plan Lodge our crew started discussing our next trip - and there was some dissension in the ranks - I think the convo went like this: I want to try a week long paddling trip in Quetico, Umm dude that seems like a stretch - we don’t paddle, haven’t camped in 20 years and we have found stuff to complain about here - where basically everything but a$$ wiping is done for us! So - we decided this summer to embark on a 3 day, two night trip to the Algonquin Interior - actually started researching and getting input on outfitters on this very forum - and one member really helped out (Thanks Mike) The plan was set - we were going to enter at the West gate, head down through Smoke Lake and into Ragged Lake to explore, remember how to camp, learn how to paddle and ideally do some smallmouth fishing We booked our trip in February but little did we know it would change at the last minute The in Between We stayed at one of our members cottages which is conveniently located 30 minutes from the West Gate I think we all had visions of taking it easy that night - we needed to be up early and would have 3 to 4 hours of paddling to get to our destination the next day - hangovers would not be a good idea. Well - we didn’t listen to ourselves - the beers, the Scotch, the stogies and the wood fired Sauna were too tempting - so with swollen heads we headed to meet the outfitter and get ready for the trip Well - we arrived on time, unfortunately our outfitter wasn’t ready - the people working the counter weren’t even aware that we were showing up or ready for us. Turns out that the owner of the outfitter was overbooked that weekend and had sub contracted our group to another outfitting company. The bad news - we were an hour early, we were hung and slightly annoyed that even though we booked 6 months earlier, had talked to the outfitter consistently over that time - plans had changed The good news - As a savvy businessman (sarcasm) the outfitter had a deal for us - the new outfitter was a guided service - even though we hadn't planned on taking a guide we were going with one and it would only increase our cost by $55 per person - we begrudgingly agreed Turned out to be a great call The Trip Well everything had changed – we now had two guides (one main guide - Alex, and one trainee - Andrew), one who was an avid fisherman and would be able to help us with spots and tackle tips and we were not doing Smoke to Ragged but Canoe to Joe to Tee Pee through the Little Oxtongue River, a quick turn through Little Doe to our ultimate destination Tom Thomson Lake (can you hear the Tragically Hip) Here are our guides - Alex and Andrew Here’s a shot of the crew on the beach at Canoe Lake – waiting to head in A quick canoeing tutorial and then a short paddle without gear around the buoy in Canoe and we were ready to load up our gear and head out. We would be 3 guys in 2 canoes (2 of us plus a guide) and the most experienced paddlers in our group would ride tandem The paddle in was tough – probably not for experienced paddlers but 12 KM for newbies into a headwind on Canoe, Joe and Teepee was hard slogging – the portage at Joe however (400 metres) was pretty easy. The lead boat on the way in actually spotted a bull, cow and calf Moose on the little Oxtongue (sadly my boat was chasing my snag and missed it) The guides were great though – they stopped when they knew we were flagging, pointed out some interesting attractions (Tom Thomson’s cabin, The Totem Pole, the camps along the route) Once we got to camp we quickly settled in – the tents, tarps and hammocks were already set up – we unpacked our gear and explored our site – it was beautiful, a windy point with a great swimming spot, places to cast a line off shore, a huge fire pit and a thunder box (this was a pleasant surprise for me – I figured we would be really going back to nature) The guides started getting ready for dinner while we cast a few lures, had a swim and did a firewood run The Fishing Tom Thomson has lake trout and smallmouth - Alex our guide thought we were better off targeting bass as the lakers were still deep – after a nice dinner of steak, green beans and spaghetti (weird combo but really good) we headed out for the evening fish Alex had a bay he wanted to hit at dusk but on the way he wanted to target a few of the shorelines where there were weeds and lots of laydowns The fish pics are of me only - only fish that made it into the boat were mine First fish We headed into the bay and the smallies were rolling everywhere – we had to missed fish and then I went to an old faithful - a floating rapala – cast it out, twitch it on the surface and then begin a slow retrieve – 3rd cast this guy smoked it on the surface That was it for the night – in for a camp fire, adult bevvys and cigars – great first night The next day we were up early - breakfast prepared for us and then we headed out into the canoes for a morning fish – we targeted a different area of the lake – still focusing on shorelines with lots of cover - the sun was high and I thought we were wasting our time but coming around a corner I got this guy on a wacky rig – a beautiful smallie pushing 4 lbs We hooked up with everyone for a shore lunch at an empty camp sight, collected some firewood for the evening and then fished our way back to camp, no more fish boated but my boat partner had two smallies jump off at the canoe - same pattern logs/laydowns but the key was they needed to be very close to deep water (tough to pattern in a canoe though – what I described would account for 70% of the shoreline and we would have had to keep checking every area as access to deep water was the key)– most of us were ready for a siesta We headed out again that evening – tried a few spots to end up in the same bay that I had success in - our boat was skunked with another lost fish and one of the other canoes lost a monster on a topwater right at the boat We didn’t have nets for the canoes – and it requires some patience, trust and skill to land a big smallie in a canoe without a net – the key was to take your time and at the boat let the fish make as many little runs as he wanted to let it exhaust itself Total fish count (for 6 fisherman) - 10 smallies boated, lots of other lost, a few perch for about 6 or 7 hours of fishing time Back to camp for a fire, more adult bevvys and stogies – the trip was winding down and tomorrow we would be up, east breakfast, pack up and head out The next day the guides gave us the option of fishing our way out and taking it easy – but with a 3+ hour paddle and a drive of a similar distance we just wanted to get on our way. We did stop at the Lookout off of Joe Lake to have lunch and take a breather – it was awesome Here is the crew on top of the lookout Thoughts The guides were awesome – both because they were nice, easy going dudes but once they realized that we were interested taking this up, doing it again they were constantly pointing things out to us, making recommendations about spots, gear and food. And they were accommodating to our endless questions (re why hang the barrel there, why do you use that stove, those pots, make meals like that, why a gravity bag filter instead of a pump) – im sure they felt like I do when my 4 year old gets on a tear I’m not going to lie – I was definitely a tad worried about bears or other large creatures attacking us at night – no such thing and after doing the trip you realize that the prep and maintenance of your sight and common sense go a long way This is something we will do again – ease our way into it, not buy all the gear but get some, try it again without a guide I think we would all like to get a little more remote – Tom Thomson was a beautiful lake and the campsite rocked and while we couldn’t see anyone from our spot – we could definitely hear them (never mind the group of teenage girls who paddled by our site during the afternoon singing a Smashmouth song at the top of their lungs – awaking me from my nap in the hammock) I am fine with fishing at dusk or early in the AM for an hour – I’m a pretty big guy at 6”3 and after an hour or so in the canoe casting and paddling my legs and back were done. I want to catch a trout – next trip may involve brookies or lakers in the spring or fall when they are shallow Good gear is worth it – we were in 2 Scott Swift Kevlar canoes and a Souris River Kevlar canoe – I paddled both and found the Souris to be much more stable (guide mentioned it was the style of the gunnels) For a trip that started dicey it ended up being an absolute blast and highly educational. This type of trip won’t replace an annual (or bi-annual) fishing trip for me where it’s all about the fishing but I can definitely see most of our group if not all trying to do one of these weekend trips every year A few more random shots Cheers Gordy