Less than fifteen minutes after starting our Lake Huron fishing charter, I felt a strong tug on my line. Our first fish, so soon? And it was no ordinary fish. It was a northern pike, the legendary toothy predator of the deep. These sleek fish are aggressive and voracious…and incredibly fun to angle for. 

The reason for my snappy fishing success was twofold. First, I was angling on Lake Huron in northern Ontario, one of the best pike fishing locations in North America.

Second, I was with Adam Vallee, a full time fishing guide with Angling Algoma, who is as familiar with the waters of northern Ontario as the back of his hand. Probably even more so. It was a perfect case of right place and right guide. The timing? Well, that was all Adam too. 

If you too are looking for an unforgettable angling trip (and maybe catch your own lake monster or two), read on to discover more about fishing on Lake Huron. But let’s start at the beginning, If, like me, you’re not local to Ontario or Michigan, you may be wondering where exactly I’m talking about. 

Gemma sat on fishing boat holding large northern pike fish, Lake Huron
Typical fishing on Lake Huron! My northern pike and I
Lindsay fishing on Lake Huron, from Angling Algoma fishing boat
Fishing on Lake Huron with Lindsay from I’ve Been Bit Travel Blog
Adam from Angling Algoma returning a northern pike to the water on a Lake Huron fishing charter
Returning a northern pike to Lake Huron

Where is Lake Huron?

Lake Huron is the second largest of the Great Lakes in North America. It is located between the shores of Canada and the USA, sitting to the south west of the province of Ontario and north east of the state of Michigan.

The Wyandot people referred to the lake as karegnondi. As well as simply translating to mean ‘lake,’ this has also interpreted to mean ‘freshwater sea.’ Early French explorers called the Wyandot ‘Hurons’ and in turn, the lake they lived close to ‘Lake Huron

Here’s some more quick facts about Lake Huron:

  • The shoreline length is an incredible 6,159km (3,827 miles)
  • Average depth is around 59m (195ft), but the maximum is 230m
  • Being so big, Lake Huron is like an inland sea, with rolling waves, 
  • There are over 30,000 islands including the world’s largest lake island, Manitoulin Island
  • A ridge at the bottom of the lake was used as a migration route for caribou over 9,000 years ago
  • The five Great Lakes together contain 22% of the world’s surface freshwater
Red and white lighthouse building on treed peninsula of McKay Island
McKay Island lighthouse on Lake Huron
Boating on Lake Huron, water and island view with side of boat
Boating on Lake Huron, Ontario
Angling Algoma fishing boat next to dock on Lake Huron, reading for our northern pike fishing trip
Angling Algoma boat waiting to take us northern pike fishing on Lake Huron!

Fishing on Lake Huron – what you need to know

Before you even consider planning a trip or putting your fishing rod into the water, here’s some basics about fishing on Lake Huron. 

  • Lake Huron’s interesting structure (lengthy shoreline, underwater reefs, drop offs and so. many. islands) provides many healthy and varied coastal fish habitats. The deeper areas of the lake are generally less productive. 
  • The lake is fished most often for trout, but there are also opportunities to fish northern pike, large and smallmouth bass, muskies, walleye, yellow perch, lake sturgeon and whitefish. Salmon fishing is also possible. 
  • Seasonal regulations and closures vary depending on where you want to fish on Lake Huron. And, of course, the weather plays its own part. Lake Huron does not freeze over in winter but it can be too icy to fish until May. 
  • It is a mandatory to have a valid fishing licence when angling on Lake Huron. Keep in mind that Ontario and Michigan have different licensing bodies. In Ontario, you must have an Outdoors Card as well as the licence. The fees are different for residents and non-residents in both Ontario and Michigan. 
Fishing rod reeled out on Lake Huron
Fishing on Lake Huron is easy when you have the right equipment and guidance

Lindsay looking excited about a northern pike on a her line while Adam reaches into the water to unhook it

Lindsay holds a huge northern pike towards the camera
Lindsay and Big Berta, the largest northern pike on our Lake Huron fishing adventure

Lake Huron fishing charters

Fishing charters are usually fully guided angling trips on a private boat. The fishing equipment, navigation and angling location will all be taken care of by the guide. A variety of fishing charters and guiding companies are based on or around Lake Huron. 

If you’re a novice or visiting angler, taking a Lake Huron fishing charter is a great idea to maximise your experience.  I wouldn’t call myself a complete beginner but I admit I am not hugely experienced at fishing. JR and I always seem to spend a lot of time attaching (and losing) lures as well as untangling lines.

With Adam at Angling Algoma, I spent more time than I ever had actually physically angling and catching fish. Using a fishing charter or guide make it possible to do more of the fun bits of fishing (i.e. catching fish) and less of the dull stuff (i.e. unsnagging lines).

Using a guiding company is also a great idea if you are not local to the area. With Lake Huron being so big, it can be difficult to know where to start planning a fishing trip. 

Already familiar with the Lake Huron area and/or a pretty experienced angler? You could still benefit from a Lake Huron fishing charter. With Angling Algoma, the priority is put on the guiding aspect of the trip.

Not sure what type of lures the local fish prefer? Have no idea where the fish have been biting lately? The local knowledge of angling guides can be invaluable. Simply put, you’ll probably catch plenty more fish. And have a lot more fun. 

Yellow and white wildflowers in front of dock, with fishing boat moored behind
Beautiful mornings on Lake Huron
Bench on dock looking out at Lake Huron
The dock at Bruce Bay Cottages, Ontario

My Lake Huron fishing experience with Angling Algoma

Having always fished independently, I wasn’t sure what to expect from a guided fishing trip. I had hoped to see some big fish, but I was still surprised when I reeled in that first northern pike and it loomed huge next to the boat. And it was only a sign of things to come. I caught another within ten minutes and then the real pike fishing session started.

By the end of the morning, all three of us fishing novices had caught half a dozen northern pike, each seemingly bigger than the last. We had learned the proper technique for spincasting, baitcasting, trolling and surface fishing. The last lesson was a little more awkward to learn – how to hold a pike without getting impaled by their huge teeth (trust me, they’re sharp).

Northern pike can weigh up to 20lbs in the the northern channel of Lake Huron. While anything that big did manage to get away, fellow fisherlady Lindsay (from the excellent I’ve Been Bit travel blog) did win the title of biggest catch of the day with a pike we nicknamed ‘Big Bertha.’ It’s hard to imagine any pike larger than Bertha, but Adam assured us that they’re out there. 

We returned to shore with a couple of smaller pike for dinner, which Adam expertly cleaned and prepared in front of us. Less than an hour later, we ate pike goujons with a view of Lake Huron. It doesn’t get much better than that. 

You may notice that Adam is quite wrapped up in these photos, despite the beautiful weather. Unfortunately, anglers are at high risk for developing skin cancer due to spending so much time in the sun. For this reason, it is good idea to wear clothing with a high UPF rating, lots of sunscreen (reapply regularly!) and a hat when fishing on Lake Huron. 
Adam from Angling Algoma fishing off boat on Lake Huron
Adam doing what he does best while we ate lunch – I can only aspire to catch as many fish
Catching a northern pike in a net while fishing on Lake Huron
You’ll need a big net when fishing on Lake Huron!

Where to stay on Lake Huron

With Lake Huron being so huge, there is a multitude of locations in which to base yourself while visiting. There are no major cities situated right on the lake, so most accommodation options are generally smaller scale – think B&Bs, motels and cottage rentals.

The latter, in my opinion, is the best way to truly experience this beautiful area. There’s nothing quite like living the cottage lake life! As well as Airbnb, there are many specialised cottage rental websites for Lake Huron vacations. 

Two Adirondack chairs in front of a campfire at Bruce Bay Cottages, with a cottage behind
Living the lakeside cottage life at Bruce Bay Cottages and Lighthouse near Bruce Mines, Ontario
Bruce Bay Cottages signs on trunk - office, cottages, lighthouses
Navigating Bruce Bay Cottages

Bruce Bay Cottages, Ontario

An ideal base for your Lake Huron fishing trip is Bruce Bay Cottages and Lighthouse in northern Ontario. Here, eight cozy (and uniquely decorated) lakeside cottages sit on two private islands, watched over by a heritage lighthouse.

The cottages at Bruce Bay range in size (1-6 people) and have fully equipped kitchens, indoor washrooms and charcoal barbecues. Prices are super reasonable, even in the height of summer. 

Walk the trails by day (look out for foxes!), go for an evening kayak paddle, watch the sunset from the beach, enjoy a campfire and then fall asleep to the sound of Lake Huron’s waves in your private cottage.

And, of course, book a Angling Algoma fishing charter for the morning! Adam will pick you up right on the French Island dock. 

Wooden cottage with steps leading to porch, with red barbecue on the side
Cottage no. 4 at Bruce Bay Cottages near Bruce Mines, Ontario (the crutches are all mine – I hurt my foot the day before flying out to Ontario)
A wood stove in front of artwork, with wood stacked besides
Inside one of the cottages at Bruce Bay – each has a unique layout and is individually decorated with artwork
Campfire surrounded by Adirondack chairs on lake shore, with cottage behind
Each cottage has a lakeside campfire
Cottage buildings at Bruce Bay Cottages are seen from the lake
Bruce Bay Cottages from Lake Huron – note that the water level was historically high during this spring visit

The McKay Island Lighthouse

For a particularly special stay, book the McKay Island Lighthouse. It dates back to 1907 and has been lovingly maintained by Bruce Bay’s owners, Pat and Larry. The panoramic views from the restored living room are fabulous, especially on stormy evenings. 

It is possible to go climb all the way up to the light, though you have to brave some pretty steep stairs! The lighthouse sleeps up to six people in three bedrooms but you must book early. 

Bruce Bay Cottages is located just outside of the community of Bruce Mines, about a 60 minute drive from Sault Ste. Marie. Lake Huron, by the way, isn’t the only fishing destination within convenient accessibility to Bruce Bay Cottages. There are dozens of inland lakes less than 30 minutes drive from Bruce Mines. 

White and red lighthouse perched overlooking Lake Huron
McKay Lighthouse dates from 1907 and has uninterrupted views of Lake Huron
An elevated view from the top of McKay Lighthouse, looking down to Lake Huron and a modern lighthouse
The view of Lake Huron from the top of McKay Lighthouse
Bruce Mines brick building with bright yellow painted bike underneath laundromat sign
Bruce Mines
An artist's easel and stool next to the Bruce Mines shoreline, marking the inspiration of the area for the Group of Seven
The landscapes around Bruce Mines inspired the Group of Seven artists, specifically Tom Thomson’s View Over a Lake, Shore with Houses. There is an interpretive sign near the marina in Bruce Mines

Final thoughts on Lake Huron fishing

Hooked on the idea of a Lake Huron fishing trip? (Yep, I’ve been waiting to use that one) I don’t blame you! While I’d love to tell you exactly where we went on our Lake Huron fishing trip, I can’t. It was a secret location. That is precisely one of the many good reasons why it is a good idea to use a Lake Huron fishing charter like Angling Algoma.

While you may initially go to northern Ontario for the incredible fishing opportunities, I’m sure, however, that you’ll stay (and return, again and again) for the friendly and relaxing vibe along the shores of Lake Huron. With a guide like Adam and hosts like Pat and Larry from Bruce Bay Cottages, I have no doubt. 

Thank you to the wonderful Pat and Larry for hosting me at Bruce Bay Cottages, Adam from Angling Algoma for two days of fishing guiding on Lake Huron and Sault Ste. Marie Tourism for the opportunity. All opinions remain my own and I really did catch that big northern pike!

If you are looking for an unforgettable northern Ontario angling trip (and maybe catch your own huge northern pike or two), click here to discover more about Lake Huron fishing!

Gemma
Author

One half of a Canadian/British couple currently based in British Columbia, Canada. Gemma is happiest when hiking on the trail or planning the next big travel adventure.

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