Summer is here, and with it are warm days, clear waters and the endless possibilities that await through fishing in the Fort Frances area.
There are so many opportunities to fish in Fort Frances – it’s no wonder we’re a top destination from US visitors (complete with boat and trailer) who want to explore our quiet and well-stocked lakes and river systems in search of ‘The Big One.’ We share a border with Minnesota and are within a short commute to tons of major Midwest US cities, so Fort Frances is a natural arrival point for both casual and serious anglers to put their boats in the water.
Fishing is proving to be a hugely growing hobby, and its popularity only seems to be on the rise. And we can see why – it’s not difficult, it’s family friendly, and it’s a great opportunity to spend time in the outdoors, with a tasty reward for a day’s work.
Fort Frances is nestled right next to Rainy Lake, a sprawling body of water famous for its smallmouth bass fishing, of which Fort Frances is host to one of Ontario’s largest annual fishing tournaments, The Fort Frances Canadian Bass Championship. This catch-and-release tournament attracts competitors globally to compete for a prize pool of up to $50,000, and bragging rights to friends and foes alike – previous winners have amassed catch weights in excess of 60 pounds over the multi-day tourney. Winners bring in their catches much to the delight of raucous crowds – when you combine it with all of the contests, kids activities, markets and street sales and downtown concerts, it’s very much a weekend-long party atmosphere!
Outside of the tournament, bass fishing is a hallmark of Fort Frances – they can be caught in shallows and even off the shore. They’re a great fish for kids because they love bait and lures, are a nice size and aren’t as aggressive (or pokey) as some other species. And they taste pretty great too! (Just to be clear, I’m talking about the fish, not the kids!)
But it’s not just the bass that are drawing attention to Fort Frances – record-setting walleyes is also becoming a quick favourite from locals and visitors alike.
The walleye (aka the pickerel) in particular is becoming a calling card for Fort Frances. They’re one of the most sought after fish in Canada, and for good reason – they’re plentiful, are not a huge challenge to catch, and most importantly, they’re absolutely delicious! Found in most deep, cold water bodies of water in the Fort Frances area, walleye are at peak during the July-August and can be plentiful to those with access to a boat to get the deepest parts of the lake where they thrive.
If it’s the ultimate selfie you’re looking for, there’s fishing for that as well. Here, Pike fishing yields specimens up to 30-pounds, and the occasional Muskie, which still roam some of the larger bodies of water, can weigh as much as 70 pounds. These two species are most active in the shoulder seasons, and can attach to your line without warning – there are more than enough stories of world records being shattered by unsuspecting fishers out looking for something else!
Even if you’ve never fished before, there’s an opportunity to toss a lure in the water along Fort Frances’ fully developed waterfront and pathways. It’s easily accessible (many spots you can park for free) and it’s only steps to the water, looking across the longest unprotected land border on Earth, with a great view of Ranier, Minnesota.
The great thing about Fort Frances isn’t just the fishing, but it’s all of the great services that are tied into fishing that make the whole experience something special. With so many great stores that sell bait and tackle, to specialized gear and equipment, to boats and engines, and all of the hospitality services one could ever need, it’s easy to make fishing a big part of your Fort Frances experience.
Outfitters, many staffed with guide services provide a unique experience that brings you right into the action, while others prefer to stay in one of Fort Frances’ great hotels and motels and head onto the waters self-guided. The choices really are endless, and luckily, Fort Frances provides you with different options for your budget, skill level and more, and with great value on the US dollar and exciting package deals, it’s a great way to spend the summer months connecting with nature and the outdoors.
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