Trolling for Salmon on the Mighty Nipigon

August 31

Fishing time!  With it being prime salmon fishing season, I figured it would make perfect sense to add a trip to the Nipigon River to the exploration schedule for the week.  I personally am not big on fishing (something to do with patience) but I do enjoy going out a few times during the summer.  This adventure started EARLY on the Nipigon River, a short drive up Highway 527 (off 11/17 at the Petro).   We launched the boat at Alexander Dam (once again, the boys launched the boat, while I watched) and then it was fishing time.  We spent an hour and a half trolling up the river towards the buoys in front of the dam itself, then back to where we started.

A BIG shout out to my cousin Joel and buddy Liam for having to listen to me constantly complain about not catching anything.  We moved down the river farther and fished there for a while longer before deciding to troll back towards the boat launch.  Just as we were about to reel the rods in and call it a day, Joel got a bite.  Perfect timing.  He landed a beauty salmon.  We didn’t weigh it, but I would guess it to be about 12 lbs.  I wanted to get a picture of it coming in the boat, but the boys didn’t want me to publicly reveal the lure they were using!!  Well, I was thankful that they took me out, so I obliged.

When we first got to the river I was shocked at the amount of boats there were, but according to my fishing partners, it gets busier.  The Nipigon River is a very popular fishing spot.  It is about 48 km long and flows from Lake Nipigon to Nipigon Bay on Lake Superior.  The river is home to all types of fish, and during this time of the year the river is full of salmon.  Once spring hits rainbow, lake trout, perch and brook trout are plentiful.   Walleye are caught in the summer, but you aren’t allowed to keep them.  There are three dams belonging to Ontario Power Generation built along the Nipigon River.   The first dam is Alexander, while Cameron Falls is the second. Pine Portage is the third and largest dam along the Nipigon River. Although the dams are a major power source, construction of these dams reduced migration and affected spawning when first built, so much so that in 1989 a rehabilitation program was put into affect.  Since then, fish populations including walleye and brook trout, are improving within the river.

Nipigon is synonymous with fishing, and this coming weekend we celebrate this heritage with the 53rd annual Nipigon Fall Fishing Festival.   The town’s population swells over Labour Day weekend because the festival has something for everyone.  Amazing food, fireworks, entertainment, a massive slo-pitch tournament, a parade, bouncy toys, 5 km run/walk, children’s races, outdoor movie, and oh yes.. FISHING.   The two-day family derby offers a chance for the whole family to fish for salmon, lake trout, rainbow trout, pike and pickerel, always following MNRF regulations of course.

The Huck Finn derby is open to children aged 12 and under.  Children only pay their $3. entry fee when they bring in a fish.  The annual Largest Perch Trophy and Plaque has been awarded since festival began, but other species are welcome!  All entries receive a prize, so come out and join in the fun!  For more info and a full schedule, visit

This was definitely a fun adventure and can’t I wait for the next one!  Until next time, exploring the edge.

– JZ