Brook trout, walleyes, smallmouth bass, lake trout

Algonquin Provincial Park

A day's drive north of Buffalo or northeast of Detroit puts you in the heart of the North Woods brook trout district. You can drive Highway 60 through the southern end of Algonquin Provincial Park, but to get the most out of this maze of rivers and glacial lakes, bring a canoe and traverse the interior of the 4,800-square-mile park, more than twice the size of the state of Delaware.

The park features 1,500 kilometers (about 1,000 miles) of designated canoe routes, many of which thread through lakes and flowages that hold brookies, lake trout, smallmouth bass, walleyes and muskellunge. The best way to enjoy the park is to rent a restored backwoods ranger cabin, which will cost anywhere from about $31 per night to about $400 per week (U.S.). You can also stay in developed campgrounds along Highway 60, but be sure you book sites well in advance, as this is a popular weekend destination for Ontario families. To make reservations for campsites or cabin rentals, call 1-888-668-7275 or Algonquin Park Information (705-633-5572).

Brook trout are the target species in most of the park. Fish average 16 inches, with trophies hitting 5 pounds. Bright spinners and spoons and small crankbaits work well, as do worms and salmon eggs. Fly anglers drift terrestrial imitations such as Parachute Hoppers and Black Ants and strip big streamers in rapids to catch bigger brookies.