Here in northeastern Ontario, Jan. 1 marks the opening of brook trout season and many anglers are starting to post pictures of their catches on social media sites.
As viewers enjoy the images, thoughts of fresh air, fishing, shore lunches and the still of the outdoors enter our mind. Some may think, "Maybe next year when I have the proper equipment..." while others might think, "I wish I could learn how to catch a fish like that."
One of the quickest ways to do the that is to hire a northeastern Ontario guide. Many anglers visit the area during the summer. However, they're missing out on fishing some of the best lakes during the winter that might be otherwise inaccessible during the warmer months.
Over the last two winters, this angler/hunter has been guiding for speckled trout and other fish that his clients might want to target.
This year due to requests from prior ice fishing clients, he is now offering wolf hunts. As a youth, he spent countless hours helping his father and grandfather on their trap lines, helping hone his skills in assessing wildlife behaviour. This played a key role in his decision to offer hunters the opportunity to harvest one of the apex predators of the north.
He has appeared on the Fishing 411 episode, Brook Trout Banaza, in 2014, Superior Angling - Ice Fishing for Lake and Brooke Trout in 2019, has fished in several Northern Ontario Walleye Trail events over the years, and has been previously featured in this column.
To talk more about his winter guiding trips is Brett Robinson.
Q: When did you start guiding for winter brook trout?
A: This will be my second full year guiding however have fished for them since I was four. Brook trout season is a long season. This will start on Jan. 1 and run all the way through until April.
Q: What area (city) are you guiding from?
A: I am located out of Wawa, Ont. All trips are roughly a 10-50 km snowmobile ride from Wawa.
Q: Do you supply anglers with a snowmobile or should they have their own?
A: I do offer the options of use of a snowmobile if need be. It is recommended you bring your own if you have one.
Q: Do you supply anglers with rods, reels, and lures? If not, what kind of equipment would you suggest they bring with them?
A: I always carry a wide range of equipment for the group size. It is recommended if customers have ice fishing gear to bring it. I always carry two Sonar Devices: Humminbird Helix 7 All season, Vexilar Fl-18, Rod/Reels and Tip-ups, lures, ice auger, portable ice shack/sled, heater, bait. Everything we will need, I bring and have enough for a wide range of group sizes.
Q: Are these brook trout trips catch and release?
A: Brook trout trips you are able to keep them. We fish a number of lakes that have mixed populations of natural and stocked fish. Depending on size and lake, some bigger fish would be released. We do have a limit of five fish with length restrictions.
Q: How long have you been guiding for winter brook trout or other fish species?
A: I originally started guiding in the winter a little bit last year. This winter I will be running more winter ice fishing trips for all species, although I have fished over 15 years in the area.
Q: What other fishing guiding services do you offer anglers?
A: I offer trips for any species. If there's a given species, we can find big fish to chase no matter the time through the winter.
Q: How long have you've guiding for winter wolf hunts?
A: This year is my first year running guided wolf hunts. Over the past five or six years, I have gotten a lot more into wolf hunting and have constantly hunted these animals over the past two winters putting in a lot of hours. Now I find myself running baits through the week and spending a lot of time looking for these unique animals.
Q: What were some of the reasons you decided to offer hunters a winter wolf hunt?
A: Over the past couple of years, I have gained numerous requests for wolf hunts through guiding fishing trips. A big reason I got started into wolf hunting was the high numbers of these animals in our area. This comes with helping the moose population continue to thrive in our area. Predator control is a big part of managing a healthy all-around population of all species.
Q: What equipment should a hunters bring with them for their winter wolf hunt?
A: What we offer:
• Hunting blinds
• Heater (optional upon request)
• Electronic distress calls
• Active bait sites
When a hunter comes, they will need to bring:
• Warm clothes for long sits (clothing for all temperatures)
• Firearm of choice (average shot will be between 150-250 yards)
• A heater is strongly recommended (I do offer heaters, however strongly recommended to bring your own in case of failure. This option will be arranged before a trip)
• Snowmobile helmet
Q: Does a hunter need a wolf license?
A: For resident hunters you will need:
• Valid outdoors card
• Small game license
• Wolf/coyote tag
Non-resident hunters need:
• Valid outdoors card (hunter validation required)
• Small game license
• Wolf/coyote tag
• Export permit (purchase once animal has been harvested)
Q: What caliber of rifles would you say a hunter should have for guided wolf trips?
A: There is a wide range of calibers suited for a wolf hunt. Here’s a list of popular calibers:
• 220 Swift
• 7 mm
• 300 Win
Hunters must understand shots will range widely from locations. Average shots will 100-250 Yards. This is a general ballpark.
Q: Are there any tips you could offer a hunter to be successful on his/her wolf hunt?
A: Hunters will be faced will all types of conditions. Long sits on a bait station will prove to be the most effective in seeing these timid animals. We will also be hunting through find fresh tracks and calling to these animals in hopes of cutting them off on major travel routes. Long hours and sun up to sun down hunts.
Q: Do you offer hunters the service of having you skin their wolf for them?
A: Most animals harvested will go to Taxidermy World from customers. Therefore, we provide fur bags that a full wolf fits in for traveling to given taxidermy. The taxidermist will skin wolf to given mount restrictions.
Q: How would an angler or hunter interested in one of your guided trips get in touch with you for lodging and pricing?
A: If an angler or hunter has an interest in contacting me regarding my trips and additional information for lodging and pricing, there are a couple of different options. I have a couple of different social media platforms. This consists of my Facebook Page (Brett Robinson Outdoor Adventures) or profile (Brett Robinson), and Instagram (b_robinson14). However, my business contact information is the following:
Brett Robinson Outdoor Adventures
123 Superior Ave, PO Box 1944
Wawa, ON P0S1K0
If you're sitting at home this winter with the winter blues or would like to spend some time with friends or family this winter ice fishing, be sure to drop Brett an email. Book your trip today and experience some of the best brook trout fishing or wolf hunting that you'll remember for the rest of your life.