When should fair-weather anglers visit Sunset Country?
Alyssa Lloyd
By Alyssa Lloyd

Alyssa is a photojournalist and angler based out of Kenora, Ontario.

Last Updated: August 8, 2019

"Canada is Cold" 


Canada, specifically Ontario's Sunset Country is not always cold. We happily have four fully functioning seasons. Are our winters truly real winters? You bet. Sometimes up to 4 feet of ice by March, and our lakes occasionally don't bust open until May. But our spring, summer, and fall temperatures may surprise you! Not all anglers want to brag about how they braved the cold, or how they came back to the boat launch in a blizzard. Some, just want to enjoy the ride without having to put too much thought into layers or specialty gear besides perhaps sun protection. 

Weather is the least constant or predictable factor on a fishing trip, even less predictable than the fish because, well, it sort of determines their mood. Just because the fish behave differently depending on temperature and pressure, doesn't mean they won't bite. You may just have to switch up your tactics. But we'll save that for another article. This one, is all for fair-weather anglers, and when they should visit Sunset Country for a fishing trip of a lifetime

Perhaps you have no trouble braving the elements, but your boat partners do. Below is a detailed look at how our seasons shape up and what to expect, this way you can decide for yourself which season you can handle. At the end, you can find a necessity list to make your trip more comfortable, whether it's hot or cooler. 

Spring: May-June 

Most of our spring/summer visitors don't start arriving until May, and it makes sense seeing as walleye opener is in May. May isn't the only time you can catch walleye though! In fact you can catch them year-round (when the open season) permits it. And earlier in May, depending on regulations in the area you're looking at, you can go for giant northern pike in shallow water, more times than not spotting them before you cast to them. It can make for an incredible sight-fishing experience, and I've never met someone who didn't enjoy a day of sight fishing.

Another species you can consider in early spring is lake trout. Before and during the turnover of the lakes ( when the surface layer becomes the warmest once again ) lake trout can be found feasting on everything from crawdads to mayflies in the shallows, but they'll also eat spoons, soft plastic baits and streamers for all you fly fishing finatics out there. It's a unique time of year where shallow water tactics will work on lake trout, and it's quite the riot. And your best shot at catching a laker on a fly rod

By June, most everything is open, except for muskie. Depending on the body of water you're targeting, muskie opens mid to late June in most of the Sunset Country region. Be sure to check regulations. This can be an exceptional time for muskie fishing, you'll witness the lakes fully coming to life by June and a multi-species day on only muskie baits is not unheard of. Prepare for everything from pike, smallmouth and even aggressive walleye who will even hit top water baits. 

A wonderful part of May and June 9 and the beginning of July) is our daylight stretches near midnight, giving you long days of fishing and enjoying yourself. 

Now the weather in May and June can be unpredictable, but for the most part there are warm days with cooler nights. 2018 May and June brought record high temperatures, some exceeding 30 degrees Celsius, which is 86 degrees Fahrenheit. Although uncommon, it's not unheard of. 

Our average temperatures by month in Fahrenheit are: 

  • April 29.3 (Low) - 51.2 (High)
  • May 42.8 (Low) - 66.1 (High)
  • June 52 (Low) - 73.5 (High)

Summer: July-August 

The summer months are when most fair-weather anglers will gravitate to Sunset Country. Avergage temperatures are higher and the fishing stays incredible year-round. 

July is typically an excellent month for smallmouth and muskie, both are still in shallows hunting feverishly. Pike can be found anywhere this time of year, which always makes it exciting. Top water baits are effective for most species during July, switch up you rod set-ups and have fun with multiple species all day long! 

August is considered one of the more enjoyable month by locals, temperatures are still warm but bearable, bugs are low in populations and the days are still plenty long enough to enjoy. Fishing tactics will switch up, some fish will go deeper depending on the weather patterns, but for the most part you can still use casting as your method of choice. Smallmouth, pike, walleye, muskie and pan fish are all still snapping. You can even have fun jigging for lake trout in deeper waters! 

Our average temperatures by month in Fahrenheit are: 

  • July 56.7 (Low) - 77.8 (High)
  • August 54.8 (Low) - 76.1 (High)

Fall: September- November 

Perhaps the most unpredictable weather to navigate would be from September to November. However, it's when a lot of the fishing heats up, so it's been known to cause some indecisiveness in anglers. Most anglers switch to trolling by the time late fall comes around, but September and October can still offer beautiful days on the water. Some even bearable for the utmost fair weather anglers. 

Lake Trout close in most parts of the region on September 30 and don't reopen until January 1, certainly keep that in mind if you're hoping to target lake trout in the fall. 

Muskie however, doesn't close until December 15, typically, the ice forces us to stop fishing by that time here. Certainly not the time of year for a fair weather angler anyhow. 

In most parts of the region pike is open year round, it's a great species to target on first ice because they are hungry and relatively easy to find suspended in deeper water with structure nearby. As always, be sure to check the regulations before you drop a line! 

Our average temperatures by month in Fahrenheit are: 

  • September 44.9 (Low) - 63.8 (High)
  • October 34.3 (Low) - 50.5 (High)
  • November 19.6 (Low) - 32.5 (High)

Sunset Country Necessities 

  • Sunscreen
  • Sunglasses
  • Comfortable shoes and sandals 
  • Long sleeve breathable shirts which cut any chill you may have but will help against sun 
  • Long pants and shorts, again, sun protection if needed 
  • Every season, a rain shell is your perfect tool to stay dry and cut any uncomfortable wind you may encounter
  • Face tube for protection if you're sensitive to the sun 
  • Bug spray or bug repelling tool for your belt 
  • Camera! You never know what you'll see or catch here in Sunset Country! 

Additional Information 

If you need more information, or you'd like to speak to someone in our office, please don't hesitate to call our Toll Free line 1-800-665-7567. 

Would you like to order your FREE copy of our 2019 Travel Guide and Fishing Map? Follow this link to receive yours in the mail: visitsunsetcountry.com/order-your-guide

Click below to be taken to our Facebook page, join our fishing group and more! 

We hope you can make it to beautiful Sunset Country this 2019 season!