Fishing French River: Walleye, Canada Northern Pike Fishing, Muskie, Smallmouth Bass, Largemouth Bass, Guides, Bear Hunting, Cottages, Boats, Meals, Canada Fishing, Northern Ontario Fishing, Bear's Den Lodge

 

Fishing French River, Canada fishing has been rated as one of the top trophy walleye producing rivers in Canada and this is our most abundant game fish. Ontario fishing early spring season is best for volumes of walleye and northern pike. Late spring and summer bring the added challenge of lunker size largemouth bass, small mouth bass and dinner plate size crappies that are being caught in ever increasing numbers. Throughout the summer and well into late fall, huge tackle smashing muskie and northern pike patrol French River waters, with an appetite that increases as the water starts to cool down. The fall season is a world to itself - gorgeous color, warm days and cool nights make this our favorite time of the year. Large walleye are migrating back up the river from the Georgian Bay, the smallmouth bass are feeding in full frenzy and the muskies' appetites are at their sharpest in Northern Ontario fishing hotspot. Fishing Canada, French River fishing, Babe Winkelman muskie fishing Canada at Bear Den Lodge, Fishing French River, bass, walleye, pike,muskie, American Plan meal packages, cottages, scenery, history area information, French River lodges, historical  museum, adventure tour, adventure tours, Georgian Bay fishing, American Plan meals, cottages, fish, fishing French River tips, outdoor fun
Fishing French River, Canada, Babe Winkelman, TV host "Good Fishing," and Art Barefoot muskie fishing.  Fishing French River Delta. Fishing at a French River lodge.
Boats and Motors rentals are 16 foot and 14 foot Lund and Nadan aluminum V-hull boats with matching 25 and 20 H.P. Mercury outboard motors.  The boats are equipped with cushioned swivel seats for your added comfort. Boats and canoes rentals are fully equipped with M.O.T. approved life preservers, anchor, paddles, and safety kit. Floating bait buckets and landing nets are available upon request at no additional charge. All equipment is maintained in top condition and serviced daily.  Boats do not have running lights and are used by guests after dark at their own risk. Depth finders, trolling motors, canoes, gas, oil, worms, ice, rods and reels, tackle and groceries are available at the dock and lodge. Trophy fish. A Certified scale is available at Bear's Den Lodge.  Walleye and Pike opened May 17, 2014, Muskie opened June 7, available French River cottages. NEW: French River Bass opened June 21, 2014 and New: French River Maps available at lodge.
 
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Lund boats with Mercury Motors well maintained for an outdoor adventure or Canadian fishing vacation in Northern Ontario, Rainbow Country Travel area Canada. Enjoy angling, boating, canoeing, wildlife viewing, swimming, or exploring the Historic Heritage French River Park with Bear's Den Lodge's comfortable rental equipment. Call today to reserve your Canadian adventure getaway with American Plan meal packages, or plan your own meals and rent a Housekeeping Cottage. Fish Ontario at this premiere French River resort lodge today! Ontario fishing.

Although Guides are not required, Bear's Den Lodge strongly recommend that the first time visitor take advantage of this service. Guide duties include cleaning the catch, operating the boat and motor, and cooking the shore lunch. A good guide makes a great trip even better. Please book a guide when making reservations. A guide is a must to travel to the Georgian Bay for a day of adventure tours and fishing. The French River, Georgian Bay, Ontario fishing offers trophy walleye, northern pike, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, and muskie. See fishing French River tips and tackle below or on Facebook. Explore the French River.
 

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Guided day of fishing in the French River, Georgian Bay, Ontario, Canada. Trophy Canada Fishing. Expert outfitters, wilderness adventures, American Plan meals, and cottages.
 
Hunting Canada - Avid hunters will find plenty of game within easy reach of the lodge.  There is a large population of ducks - including but not limited to woodies, blacks, mallard, etc. and other game birds such as partridge. Of course there is trophy Black Bear Hunting at Bear's Den Lodge, French River. Bear Hunting Fishing Combo Packages are available upon request. Book your Canadian hunt for fall today. Resident Bear hunting for Spring 2015 in French River at Bear's Den.
 
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Black bear hunting at Bear's Den Lodge, French River, Canada. Ontario bear hunting.
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Bear hunting in Canada. French River bear hunt.
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French River trophy black bear squared 7 foot 4 inches. Experience a black bear hunt in Ontario, Canada. Bear Hunt with a gun, bow, archery or camera.

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Bear hunting at Bear's Den Lodge.
Canada Walleye Fishing
Canada Muskie Fishing
  Muskie Photos
   Muskie Pics
Canada Northern Pike Fishing
  Pike Pictures
Smallmouth Bass Largemouth Bass Fishing Canada
Catfish, Giant Catfish

Crappie
Salmon Fishing Canada
Sturgeon
Pan Fish, Perch, Sunfish, Bowfin, Longnose Gar, Bull Head, Suckers and Bait Fish
Black Bear Hunting Fishing Combo




 
     
Bear's Den Lodge
Hartley Bay, R.R. 2, Site 3, Box 10
Alban, Ont. P0M 1A0
Tel: (705) 857-2757
Winter Address:
124 Shagbark Rd.
Alum Bank, PA 15521
Tel: (814) 839-2443

 
  bearsdenfishing@gmail.com
 

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Georgian Bay muskie released -  guided trip. Experienced guides, outdoor adventure tours, and fishing trips offered in remote wilderness Ontario, Canada.
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Trophy river muskie released while angling French River. Best Ontario cottages.
 


WHAT TO BRING

Warm clothing (nights are cool), two piece rain suit, extra pair of shoes or boots, flashlight, camera, sharp knife, small portable cooler, swim suit, sun screen, fishing gear.  Mosquito coils and repellant with DEET is helpful. Passport or Passport Card must be valid to reenter United States. See bottom of DIRECTION PAGE for U.S. passport requirements or passport cards. In addition, for hunters - hunting gear along with a current or previous hunting license from your state or province – a must!  All guests are reminded to limit the amount of gear and weight of travel items for transport to the lodge. Please limit boxes to 70 pound weight limit for safety purposes.

LICENSES - Fishing and Hunting

Fishing, Outdoor Cards, and Hunting licenses are NO longer available at Hartley Bay Marina. Please purchase fishing licenses online, at Pointe Au Baril, French River Trading Post 9-5 pm, Canadian Tire or MNR prior to your arrival at Hartley Bay Marina.

PARKING

Please register your vehicle license at Hartley Bay Marina - after stopping to cross the high speed railroad tracks. Please request Marina staff to contact Bear's Den Lodge for water taxi, if required. Hartley Bay Marina provides valet supervised parking and valet boat launching - your vehicle keys remain at the marina.

Bear’s Den Lodge is just a 5 minute boat ride from Hartley Bay Marina. Bear's Den Lodge is located in Bear's Den Bay - three bays from the marina on the right side of channel.  Navigate in the center of channel from Hartley Bay and come directly into Bear's Den Lodge front dock where staff will assist you to unload.
 

20th Year For Fishing Slot Limits - Introduced in 1994

The introduction of a slot-size fishing program was a realistic effort to restore the sport fish population in the French River and it has definitely worked in the French River Delta, not only sustaining the quality, but improving the quantities of fish for each species.  The Ministry of Natural Resources has studied our positive results in the significant improvement of our fishery and since then, started implementing slots sizes throughout Ontario, Canada.  The slot sizes of fish represent the breeding stock of each species of fish determined from the biological research completed in the French River. Walleye Index netting - fall 2013 to report represents the best fishing in French River. Send, post or share us your fish photos from your stay at Bear's Den Lodge for Facebook.

Smallmouth Bass and Largemouth Bass Fishing in Canada - live release between 13" & 17" (Length)

Walleye - Pickerel - live release between 15.7" & 23.6" (Length)

Northern Pike - live release of all between 21" & 34" (Length)

Non-Resident Outdoor Cards - $9.68 valid for 3 years required with purchase of fishing or hunting license - Please purchase online prior to arriving at Hartley Bay Marina. 

Sport Fishing License
, an angler may keep a total of four fish of each species when fishing French River. Only one fish of each species may measure over the specified "Slot-Size" length. Non-resident 8 day Fishing License - $52.41 Canadian Funds- 2014.

Anglers with Conservation Licenses may only posses 2 fish of each species. Only one fish of each species may measure over the specified "Slot-Size" length. Non-resident 8 day Fishing License - $29.97 Canadian Funds - 2014.

Legal length of Muskie is 48 inches, however, Bear's Den Lodge has been honoring live release of all Muskies under 50 inches, while encouraging measurements - length and girth of the trophy fish, with a quick photo, then live release. A fisherman with a Sport Fishing License may posses only 1 fish over 48 inches as per the Ministry of Natural Resource Fishing Regulations in Zone 10 - French River and 54 inches in Georgian Bay - Zone 14.  See LINK PAGE or below for access to the full Fishing and Hunting Regulations.

OPEN DATES FOR FRENCH RIVER FISHING

Walleye or Pickerel and Canada Northern Pike Fishing - Walleye, pickerel, northern pike fishing open the 3rd Saturday in May, prior to this, pan fish is open for Northern Ontario Fishing.

Muskie -  Musky - Muskie or musky fishing opened the 1st Saturday in June.

Largemouth Bass and Smallmouth Bass- Largemouth bass fishing and Smallmouth bass fishing opens the 3rd Saturday in June - NEW.
 
Lake Sturgeon - 2012 Season Closed for Lake Sturgeon in the French River.

FISHING REPORTS - Northern Ontario Fishing Hotspot - Fishing Reviews

Walleye:  Catching 23" walleye off Bear's Den Lodge dock August. July 2014 produces a 30" plus walleye quickly released. 46 Walleye was caught June 9-15, 2014 by two fisherman; largest was 22", with 134 fish in total. 100 Walleye caught June 1, 2014 CPR. 9#4 oz. 27" Walleye 2014. Walleye 28" October 20, 2013 by fisherman from Fenwick, ON. 6 Walleye released by 2 fisherman during 3 day stay. 30" Walleye end of June 2013. 11 Walleye released on 2013 opening day. 24.5" Walleye released May 31, 2013. Over 60 plus walleyes caught in 3 days late May 2013 - high water levels. 9-12# walleye caught in 2012 during low water. 34" walleye released June 20, 2009 with many in 28" and smaller. May 15, 2010 with numerous walleye caught and released, some measured 27", but averaged somewhat smaller for eating. 31" released late June 2010 with a 30" released July 16, 2008.  Fisherman and guide report 40 fish caught over 9 lbs. mid June 2007. A 10 pound walleye will produce 250,000 eggs during spawn. The French River Delta in Northern Ontario is continuing to enjoy an increasing walleye or pickerel population.  A 9 year old catches his first walleye of 25 1/4 inches and measured it for the Conservation Officer! A great keeper and a definite fish mount to be proud of!  Walleye are being caught throughout the French, Pickerel River, and northeastern Georgian Bay. Several 20 inch blue walleye were caught and released in 2010-2014. 25-28 inch walleye were caught in 2010, including several walleye measuring 28 inches in June and a 31" released late August, 2010. Fishing Tips: Walleye were scattered off rock points in May, producing increasing numbers for fisherman. Check current in June for walleye in 10-20 feet. July water levels are normally changing and fish are diving to depths of 25 feet. Water levels are at normal for July 2014.

Smallmouth Bass: 2014 Bass are hitting in pencil weeds. 22 smallies released by 2 October fisherman 2013. 7 lb. smallmouth in 2012. 20" smallmouth bass released opening 2009. 31" smallmouth released July 1, 2008. Many smallmouth bass are being caught between 18-22 inches with an ever increasing population and size of smallmouth bass in the river. See more smallmouth bass pictures. Bass Season opens on the 4th Saturday in June. Smallmouth bass are quite active - 22 inch smallmouth bass released late May 2010. Smallmouth remains active off points and in current areas in July. August produced many 3 lb. plus bass in 2010-2013. When weeds are dying - fish rock points.

Largemouth Bass: Bass caught off front dock August, 2014. FishTV produced fishing show with one day's catch. May 28, 2013 produced the "largest largemouth bass in 60 years of fishing". 7 lb. plus largemouth bass released in 2012. 6 1/4# Largemouth bass released June 25, 2009 - by Mark from Ohio. 2 Kg Largemouth bass released opening 2009. 21" released by 9 year old from Altoona, PA - June 14, 2009 - Nice fish Zion!  Reports from fisherman include many largemouth bass caught between 18-24 inches. Bass are enticing the fisherman from the dock and teasing them while sitting on the deck overlooking Bear's Den Bay. French River Tips: When May flies hatch and the crayfish are molting, use gray! Lily pads are another favorite hiding spot for trophy largemouth bass. 2 Largemouth bass were released measuring 20 1/2 inches one weighed 4 lbs. and the largest was 5 lbs. late June, 2006. The Ministry of Natural Resources ask the French River Delta Association to assist in placing gravel in the Delta for bass spawning beds. Bear's Den Lodge assisted in the project July, 2006. Guests report the bass are slamming their lures and "so fat that you can't get your hand around them!" Spawning beds proved to be effective.  Top water lures are enticing the largemouth in June and July. Green and white are hot right now. Check you weed edges for action of largemouth. Largemouth continue their activities throughout August and into late fall.

Northern Pike: Fishing French River Delta - 36" Released August 2014. Many pike caught and released in June 2014 largest 36.5" Pike.  Spring 2013 reports of "catching on each pass". 17 pike caught and released opening 2009 from Bear's Den Bay - 31" largest of these.  41" Northern released July 15, 2008. Anglers are reporting many 3 foot size Canada northern pike being caught within our maze of rivers and bays. 34 inch pike caught and released by a guest off the dock while pan fishing. Stories of the larger pike having been lost and gotten away; to be caught by the next fisherman or fisherwomen.  Many slot size pike are caught and released to the French River to reproduce and be caught again as trophy northern pike. A 38 inch pike was released mid June 2006, along with 5 over 34 inches. 2007 is producing many pike some with increasing size and weight including a 36 inch pike early June and a 33 inch pike in Bear's Den Bay late August. July produced more pike around reefs and weed beds. Pike Fishing Tips: You can't beat a Daredevil for action. Fish buck tails for fall fishing on French River. Weeds are still green and fish are hitting in the weed beds. 2008 weed conditions are producing pike in the shallows.  Gar were hooked and released June and early July. 

Muskies: 49" and 42" Muskie release July 13, 2014 plus 3 more muskies this week. 52" Muskie and 45" muskie released opening Muskie 2014. 50", 45", 40" French River Muskie Released October 10-11, 2013 by 1 fisherman, 52.5" released Sept.12, 2013, 52 1/4" muskie released July 12, 2013 by 13 year old - his first muskie. 50 in Muskie marks 16th muskie over 50" for fisherman July 2013. 58" muskie caught and released while walleye fishing June 23, 2009 on 12# test then a 54" just days later by same fisherman. 49" Muskie released by Chris from Ohio June 24, 2009. July, 2009 produces 9 muskies for 4 men while hooking 7 other fish - largest fish boated was 52 inches. 43" muskie released opening weekend in May with 3 others from 6 lbs. to 36" in 2009. Breaking news! 54.5 inch muskie released opening Muskie 2008. 52 inch muskie released July 14, 2008 while another fisherman reports loosing a good heavy 50 plus incher.  50 pound plus muskie released on opening walleye season. 48" muskie released off Bear's Den Lodge dock early June 2008 and down river June 25, 2008. Muskie Canada group lost huge muskie close to 60" July 5, 2008. 56.5 inch muskie caught and released September 2006. "A true Musky of a lifetime!" June 14, 2006 a 53.5 inch Muskie was released. 55.25 inch Muskie released by avid fisherman along with 4 other muskies on annual fishing trip in August- placed as Lunker of the Month in Muskie Inc. and second largest Musky listed for Muskie Inc. 2005.  A monster 55 inch Muskie was released too. More giant trophy muskie sightings reported by musky hunters with a 51.5 inch muskie landed and released by a return guest. This brings this angler to a record of 14 fish over 50 inches, most of which have been caught at Bear's Den Lodge. 2007- 40 inch muskie released May 28th and a "45 inch muskie. Another fisherman reports in late June, "A "60 inch" muskie "fought for 45 minutes, at boat 10-12 times but could not lift it into boat. My 12 year old son was with me in boat.  Lots of fun, some pictures, fish of a lifetime."   A multiple 50 inch club member reports "his hook tangled and was unable to hook a really good fish," while 5 muskies were released, largest 37".  August produced more muskies for release with a 49".  Fishing tips: Fisherman report silver spoons, white and top water lures producing muskie this week.

Average size of muskies are 40-48 inches with many trophy opportunities over 48 inches in the French River and Northeast Georgian Bay. A Muskie Spawning Survey was completed in the Georgian Bay several years ago.- French River Delta, the Ministry of Natural Resources, and volunteers from Muskies Canada set trap nets. 56 Muskies were netted. The largest muskie weighed in at 43 lbs. The Georgian Bay French River Delta muskie area was the highest count of any surveyed in this study. Walleyes were in abundance also, some tipped the scale at 9 lbs.

2013 Several muskie 50" plus were hooked or teased anglers once again. Bear's Den Lodge remains holder of the 53.5 inch muskie, the 70 lb. Line Class World Record Catch and Release. The Ultimate world record muskie awaits the avid muskie hunter at Bear's Den Lodge, French River. Bear's Den Lodge, fishing French River lodge record, remains at 59 lbs. 11 oz. muskie - the 14 lb. Line Class World Record.

Pan Fish - Dinner plate size rock bass caught from the main dock - rock bass too big for display in the fish tank at the main lodge. Catfish, perch, crappies, sunfish keep all ages busy with action. Catfish are abundant and action is increasing for catfish. 10# catfish released early June 2008. Perch are reported increasing in size in 2014.

BEST FISHING TIMES

When is the best time to go fishing on the French River? The best fishing times, as reported by Bear's Den Lodge outfitters and lodge owners, are anytime there are three days of stable weather pattern. Fishing French River Tips: Three days of stable weather pattern creates the best fishing periods and times. Being in the right place, with the right lure, the right equipment, the right action, presentation, retrieve and landing will produce the best fishing times.  Another important fishing tip to keep in mind for selecting lure colors is the water is a tea-stained color due to the tannic acid from surrounding beaver ponds.  French River Fishing tip: If not catching fish, select black and fish deeper.

If you have any questions regarding walleye, muskie, Canada northern pike fishing, largemouth bass or smallmouth bass fishing, black bear hunting, our fly-in or boat access only lodge, our services, or would like to make a reservation, please contact your hosts, Art and Brenda Barefoot for your next Canadian vacation destination.

Fishing in Canada at Bear's Den Lodge staff will put you at some of the best fishing spots you can find. If you're looking for French River lodges, fantastic adventure fishing in Ontario, not only will you love Bear's Den Lodge in the French River Delta, you'll find our service is second to none. We are the only full service American Plan Lodge available in the French River Delta. Bear's Den Lodge is an Ontario Fishing Lodge, an informational, historical, educational site, fishing trip, camp resort and Canadian outfitter. Bear's Den is the best vacation spot in Canada! Whether you want to casually do some fishing or try some more serious angling; fishing French River Delta, Ontario is an angler's paradise. Nowhere else can boast such a diverse catch- the largest fresh water lakes and rivers in the world, a huge diversity of fish, and walleye in abundance with the least number of rod hours on the entire French River. Bear's Den offers an entire range of experiences from adventure tours to fishing trips, corporate retreats, Canadian family vacations, a get away, or respite retreat. Best cottage areas Ontario. Visit Bear's Den for all your vacation, outfitting equipment, area information, and French River history. Bear's Den Lodge is known as a "local museum" on the French River. Come equipped, rent our well maintained boats, plan a guided fishing trip, canoe, choose one of our fishing packages, or be your own guide and take yourself to where there's just you, the fish, and wildlife on the French River. Discover the beauty of a true Canadian vacation destination. Bear's Den Lodge has been known as a respite retreat for corporate executives or where corporate executives can retreat to create a team building experience and soar to new heights while enjoying the great out of doors. Enjoy a French River lodge for fishing.

Recommended Fishing Lures, Tackle, and Rods - Canadian Hotspot Fishing

Fishing Lures:

Walleye, Pickerel, and Crappie - Jigs 1/4 -3/8 oz.
Smallmouth Bass - Jigs 3/8 - 1/2  oz.

Jigs with worms and minnows, worm harnesses, Twister tails, Mepps, in colors white, chartreuse, or orange. Minnows are recommended when fishing for walleye, smallmouth bass, and crappie when water temperature is cooler. Floating head jigs with a night crawler for shallower fishing with a slip sinker is working in July.

Largemouth Bass and Canada Northern Pike Fishing - Fishing lures: Spinner baits, spoons, jigs, crank baits, Repala, and Mepps in white, red/white, silver, chartreuse. Dardevele in red/white can't be beat.

Muskie or Musky - Believers, Swim Whiz, Grandma, Big bucktails, Eagletails, DepthRaiders, Mepps, and Repala. in black, especially bucktails with orange or chartreuse spoons, perch pattern, orange, chartreuse, florescent colors.   Fishing tip: the water is a tea stain color from the surrounding beaver ponds.  Silver normally works better than copper colors. Top water lures appear to work better during cooler water temperatures. Pink and purple are fall choices when the Pink Salmon come into the French River system.

Fishing Tackle and Rods:

Canada Walleye, Pickerel, Smallmouth Bass, and Crappie - 4-8# test line
Canada Walleye, Pickerel, Smallmouth Bass, and Crappie - Light to medium action fishing rods.

Canada Largemouth Bass and Canada Northern Pike Fishing - 8-12# test line
Canada Largemouth Bass and Walleye - Medium action rods. Or try fly fishing French River.

Canada Muskie, Musky - 20-40# test line.
Canada Muskie and Canada Northern Pike Fishing - Heavy action rods.

Fly Fishing on the French River - opportunities await the fly fisherman - more details to follow.



DRUNK BOATERS CAN LOSE DRIVER'S LICENSE

Boaters found impaired while operating a boat can have their driver's licenses suspended. In 2006, Bill 209 amended the Highway Traffic Act to treat impaired boating the same as impaired driving. This means that someone caught operating a boat while impaired will face the same consequences as they would for impaired driving, including the impact on their insurance rates.

Ontario’s liquor laws may be different than your home State, and that bringing alcohol along in the boat, even for a shore lunch, is not legal in Ontario.
Boaters who are not impaired can still be charged with other alcohol offenses.

CONSERVATION OFFICERS NOW ENFORCE BOATING REGULATIONS

Safety equipment must be carried and in excellent working condition! Check your safety kits and flashlight prior to fishing on the French River. Please wear your life jacket for your own safety.

NEWS RELEASE - Zone 10 for the French River Delta and Zone 14  for Georgian Bay. Muskie size limit for Zone 14 - Georgian Bay- 54" minimum. French River Bass opens the 3rd Saturday in June for Northern Ontario fishingOntario Fishing Regulations 2014.

Northern Ontario Fishing - More details: Non-Resident Outdoors Card for Fishing French River.
 

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