Kayak Fishing in Canada has been at the top of my bucket list for years and I was able to fulfill that dream last october. After preparing for weeks and watching musky fishing videos on YouTube every night, my family took me to the airport in my hometown of Bremen in Northern Germany.
The first destination was the huge airport in Frankfurt and from there I flew to Montreal. A very enjoyable long-haul flight, even though my neighbor moved restlessly for eight hours in her seat. The entry into Montreal went very smoothly (Europeans need an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) and a current passport to fly to or transit through Canada) and after another security check the destination Ottawa was reached with a small airplane in less than 30 minutes. Here I could already see from the air how many huge lakes and rivers as well as beautiful forests will await me in the next two weeks. All in all, I was on the road for 16 hours, had traveled well over 6,000 km and was finally picked up by my buddy James at the airport. Arrived at his home we had delicious seafood, a cold beer and I made my tackle ready for the next day. I had no time for a jet lag, after six hours of sleep and breakfast at Tim Hortons we drove across the Trans-Canada Highway to Algonquin Provincial Park (200 km away), to spend the next two nights in the wilderness. By that time, I had seen Canada only in the dark, but as the sun came out, I could see the incredible beauty of different colored trees in the fall. Like in fairy tales!
The 7,725 km² Algonquin Park with over 2,400 lakes is the most beautiful national park in Canada’s east and is far from civilization. The landscape is breathtaking, that’s how I imagined Canada! The stay in the park costs a few dollars per night and every visitor must sign up when entering and also check out when leaving the park. This ensures, among other things, that search parties have to be sent in case you have messed with one of the many black bears.
After many kilometers on a dirt road and arriving at the beautiful Lake Traverse we had to leave the car, because from here we had to paddle with our complete equipment on the kayaks to our basecamp. We decided to set up our tents later in the day because we really wanted to go fishing right away! My goal was to catch at least one musky in the next two days and I could not believe it when James caught a little musky on the fifth cast who said goodbye with a big jump. OK, I thought to myself, should the fish of ten thousand casts be easier to catch? Not really, because while James had caught some more muskies and smallies, it took me a bit longer to find and understand the target fish. But then a few muskies attacked my bait and two of them hooked off next to the kayak. Full of adrenaline, I was confident that it could work out with a musky on the kayak the next day.
In the early evening we paddled to the camp, set up our tents, collected firewood and spent a great evening around the campfire with delicious steaks and a glass of red wine. The temperatures dropped to 0 degrees Celsius and the night in the tent was pretty cold. At midnight, the wolves howled under the full moon and I must admit that I was a little scarded to leave the tent for peeing at night because of the many bears in the area. In Germany there are only cows, squirrels and rabbits. Nothing that kills you.
The next day we started early in the morning with coffee and oakmeal, warming ourselves up by the campfire and paddling out into the lake in thick fog. I changed my bait strategy and tried the good old spinner. Not 20 minutes later I had my first musky on the kayak! Wow, what a feeling. Mission done, my cheer was heard throughout Algonquin Park! It was followed by some attacks until we had a another surprise guest at the kayaks. A huge trophy buck thought James was a pretty female and ran right up to him in the water. Very impressive!
At lunchtime we fortified ourselves with bacon & eggs, then James could catch a total of four muskies while I lost another musky at the kayak. It was getting dark and we paddled back to the camp, where we sat comfortably by the campfire again. The next morning we packed our tents and had a few ours left to fish. The muskies were hungry and I managed to persuade two more muskies to a photo shoot on the kayak. What a great ending to our first days fishing in beautiful Ontario, which will burn into my memory!
In the next few days we wanted to fish for bass in different lakes in the surrounding area, but first there were two days without fishing. On Saturday morning a bit of sightseeing in Downtown Ottawa, then pick up our friend Jim at the airport and finally a surprise visit to Will.
Sunday was all about Thanksgiving! My first Canadian Thanksgiving was a great day with lots of friends, family members, a giant turkey, campfire stories and live music from the Sons of Ned. Although of course a few beers were drunk, we sat in the kitchen at 7 AM the next morning to have a coffee and start the next fishing day. Finally normal people!
We loaded the Mayfly for Jim on the trailer, stopped at Tim Hortons, missed a deer on the road by a few inches and then met with our friends Roberto and Eron on a beautiful lake. Eron gave me some promising baits and good tips, but it took me some time to finally catch two nice big smallies with the drop shot rig. A great day on the water with great friends! In the evening James cooked us a Beef Stroganoff, followed by delicious pumpkin pie and frozen yoghurt.
The next day started early with a breakfast, then we met with Zack from Frontenac Outfitters at another lake. I have never seen so many beautiful lakes at once. We paddled for about 100 meters and had to pull our kayaks through a wide reed belt. I did not pay attention once and landed in the mud up to my waist. A great start to the day! The lake was not easy to fish that day and after hours of not finding bass, I changed my strategy and immediately caught a few beautiful Canadian pikes on a hardbait. In the afternoon we drove to Scott’s cottage and ended the evening with some cool beers and BBQ spare ribs.
The weather forecast for the next day was terrible and so it was that we were only a short time on the water due to continuous rain and a lot of wind. We packed our wet clothes and drove together to the Redneck Bistro for extremely tasty burgers. Then we drove home to dry all clothes and relax a bit.
It also rained a lot the next day, so we drove to the Bait Casters Tackle Shop and Cabela’s after a breakfast at Equator Coffee. In the evening we were invited to dinner with Will and June.
For the next few days we had a nice cottage right at the Ottawa River. The first night was over at 6 AM and after a boosting with eggs, bacon and cheese we paddled on the Ottawa. This location is unbelievably beautiful, endless creeks and hidden lakes, where you often have to carry the kayaks over huge beaver dams.
Throughout the day we were able to catch lots of bass, lots of pike and James also a few walleye. A really great fishing! In the afternoon we watched the rapids from the Ottawa River before we had a nice evening in our cottage afterwards.
The next day started again in the dark with frosty temperatures and lots of fog on the river. We were able to catch so many smallies and pikes that I have not even counted. And my last cast brought me a nice last pike from this wonderful trip to Canada, because the next day I had to fly from Ottawa to Montreal and via Zurich to Bremen.
This kayak fishing trip is one of the best I have ever done. This was definitely not my last time in Canada! A big thank you for great memories to James & family, Jim, Will, Roberto, Eron, Scott and Zack! It was really fun!