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Muskie Fishing -> Fishing Reports and Destinations -> French River
Message Subject: French River
Posted 3/23/2023 10:44 AM (#1019206)
Subject: French River

Posts: 8

Looking at going to French river in 2024. Where is the best place to go. Upper or Lower or middle for musky fishing. Good lodges for housekeeping. Looking for any recommendations I can get. Thanks in advance.
Posted 3/23/2023 12:22 PM (#1019212 - in reply to #1019206)
Subject: Re: French River

Posts: 38

I may have only limited advise for you as I have only fished the Lower French River. Instead of going to our normal Canada muskie location in NW Ontario, we decided to travel east to try the French just for a change even though the drive was much longer. We stayed at Bear's Den Lodge and the accommodations were fine. The cabin was clean but docking space was a bit tight. We had 3 boats with 6 guys. One thing we did not realize when we went there was that there was a Marina at Hartley Bay where they put your boat in the water for you and charged a daily fee for parking. We do not have that extra parking fee in NW Ontario where we stay so this was an added expense we did not account for. You may want to just check in to that if you are interested in checking Bear's Den Lodge out. I think the rates were O.K. but in order to get gas we had to drive the couple of miles back to the Hartley Bay Marina to get gas which was the opposite direction as where we fished. During our week stay there we ended up getting a couple of nice fish 47, and 47.5. But that was between all the boats. We had very warm weather in the upper 90's during our stay and fishing was tough. But there are giant fish there! Our boat for the week only had action from 6 fish. We fished at a minimum of 10 hours per day so action for our boat was limited. BUT - we had a follow from an estimated 54" fish, missed a 52-53" fish, and had follows from a 48, 47, and a 45" fish. I also lost a 42" pike at the boat. At the time the fish I missed would have been a PB and it was a tough loss. The other 2 boats in our group moved like 10 and 15 fish respectively. They had a bit more action than we did. If I were to do it again, I would certainly stay in the main river channel more exclusively than we did. We did go as far as you could go towards Georgian Bay which was a neat area. I guess in conclusion, if you are looking for a real good opportunity at a trophy fish, this could be an excellent sport for you. I have not been back since 2010 mainly due to the time of travel it takes to get there from Southern Wis. It took us roughly 16 hours to get to Hadley Marina which did not account for the long wait over the Sault Ste. Marie bridge. It only takes us about 11 hours to get to NW Ontario. I would go back again if time would allow it. However, I will warn you that the mosquitos were the worst I have ever seen. I have been to Canada fishing probably 40 trips-worth and have never seen mosquitos so bad. There are also rattlesnakes in the Provincial Park there. We never saw any, but they are there. Oh, I am unsure if a lot of the area is well-mapped but it was not back in 2010. The structure can be crazy there going from 110 feet plus to just inches under the water in a matter of seconds. If it is not well marked/mapped now I would be careful until you get a travel route to the areas you wish to fish on your own GPS. Good luck if you go! it certainly is trophy water and very beautiful country.
Posted 3/23/2023 12:31 PM (#1019213 - in reply to #1019206)
Subject: RE: French River

Posts: 52

Feel free to PM me
Posted 3/24/2023 5:02 PM (#1019232 - in reply to #1019206)
Subject: Re: French River

Posts: 10

Location: NE WI
I've fished the French River about 10 to twelve times. Started fishing there after fishing LOTW. Found the French to be a far more enjoyable experiance . Musky pressure was very light. Many times the only boats we would see fishing musky were the guys from our party. That includes the time we went over the July 4th holiday. We always fished out of Wolsey Lodge on the Middle French R. The resort owner was always willing to share advice and they had a bait shop at the waters edge. Gas was available at the docks and free launching was available. The French River is not a numbers fishery but it does produce some monster fish. We caught very few fish under 40" but the largest was 54" and we raised some real tankers. I don't know how things have changed since I fished there because that was 25 years ago. If you want to discuss the area feel free to PM me.
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