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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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One half of the Canadian/British couple behind Off Track Travel, Gemma is happiest when hiking on the trail or planning the next big travel adventure. JR and Gemma are currently based in the beautiful Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, Canada