From spinning to bait casting to fly fishing, guests of Hawk Lake can experience some of the finest, fast-action smallmouth bass, northern pike, lake trout and trophy walleye fishing available anywhere. The number and diversity of this Canadian Shield Lakes system provides the flexibility necessary to guarantee you the best angling opportunities in any season. Come and see why these lakes have been called “some of the best smallmouth bass waters in North America.”

At Hawk Lake you will fish over 30 square miles of pristine, rarely fished waters. 5 different trophy species await you from pike and walleye to lake trout and even black crappie! However our specialty is smallmouth. In a land where a 17 inch smallie is considered a trophy, we routinely catch fish larger than that every summer, hundreds of them. In fact a recent study concluded by marine biologists John and Pamella Thiel over a period of 5 years and 10 of our lakes made some startling conclusions. Of the 10 lakes examined the percent of bass caught on average that exceeded 15 inches was nearly 60%! The AVERAGE size of the fish on all of these lakes was just under 16 inches, or 1 inch away from a trophy. Add those large fish sizes to hourly catch rates during peak season from 10-25 fish and your arms will be sore. We here at Hawk Lake Lodge could not be more pleased and are excited to know that the fishing is only getting better, the results speak for themselves.

If you have recently visited us and would like to share your experience with others, we encourage you to share your experience!

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Additional Fishing Info

Fish and fishing are very subject to water temperature, wind, weather, season and spawning cycles. We want you to be comfortable and successful on our waters. Learn about the best fishing locales, best baits, most productive methods and more about the Hawk Lake Lodge fishing experience by clicking on the headings below:

Fishing 24 Hours a Day

Hawk Lake Lodge guests can fish whenever they desire. There are no limitations on when you can fish as are found at many lodges. Boats are always at the ready, literally 24 hours a day. Some of our guests love to get out on the water even before first light and for those die-hard fishermen we offer a pre-ordered breakfast that is delivered to your cabin the night before. You can grab a hot cup of coffee and bagel or breakfast sandwich at your leisure and slip away into the morning mist before many others have even stirred. On the other end of the spectrum are those that fish well into the evening hours, as the moon rises and a beautiful peace transcends upon the water. We will always leave a light on. Your host, Ted Putnam, as well as our knowledgeable staff, are always available to assist you, offer up-to-date fishing advice and service. We are all anglers ourselves who have extensive experience both on our waters as well as other locations. We would be very happy to chat with you at any time regarding your interests and fishing experience, making recommendations regarding the best fishing techniques and fishing locations for you.

Trophy Walleye Fishing

As discussed on our main page the Hawk Lake Lodge fishery is one of the finest trophy walleye fishing bodies of water in the world. This is not a walleye fishery where you will catch 100s of small walleye all day long. Far from it. Instead you will be targeting fish that typically start at 24 inches and go up from there. Yes, we have a lake where you can and will get into walleye and catch 30-40 on a good day. However our walleye fishermen typically go after true trophies. May through early July is the prime season for the giants. If you have never caught a 32 inch, 12 pound walleye it is an incredibly rare occurrence, something few fishermen have ever experienced. Once walleye hit 30+ inches they turn into absolute monsters. They will run like tarpon screaming out line and can straighten even the sturdiest of hooks. You will never forget your first one. During the prime walleye season our guests catch between 2-5 30+ inch walleye each day/evening. Almost every night at least one group lands one after dinner (not to mention plenty of 24-28 inch fish). Couple that with a day of smallie fishing and you won’t be able to stop smiling.

Prime walleye season is a week after they have spawned (which is nearly always mid May to early to mid-July. Once the water warms the schools go deep, very deep and are much harder to target. If you want to catch huge walleye the first two months of the season are your best bet. Please do not come in the middle of summer and our heat and expect to catch big walleye. Very unlikely.

Download “Techniques for Big Smallmouth and Walleye” (PDF)

Conservation Policies

Hawk Lake Lodge has been a catch and release fishery for many years, and the results speak for themselves. With walleye over 30 inches long, 19 inch+ smallmouth bass seemingly everywhere and pike that exceed 40 inches on many of our lakes it truly is a fisherman’s paradise. In the past two years several smallmouth bass exceeding 8 pounds have been caught (and released). This is bigger than many state records. In order to preserve our wonderful sanctuary we require catch and release angling and the use of barbless hooks. We also strongly discourage fishing for any spawning/bedded fish. To this end, certain areas are designated each year as refuge sites to protect spawning fish. Fishing in these areas is prohibited until the spawning season ends. After photographing your catch we ask that you quickly release any fish caught. Barbless hooks, given proper angling techniques, results in virtually no lost fish. We would be very happy to show you the various conservation practices that result in very high levels of post release fish survival. Catch and release fishing, barbless hooks and other conservation policies have resulted in Hawk Lake and surrounding lakes being the trophy lakes that they currently are.

Guided Fishing Option

We want your fishing experience at Hawk Lake Lodge to be the best. Fish the way you are most comfortable – either with or without guides. For those more experienced fishermen guides are not necessary. The fishery is excellent and the portage lakes not overwhelmingly large. This coupled with maps of the lakes will put you on fish in no time at all. Unlike other huge lakes that can make even the most experienced fisherman ponder their first move and have you glued to a depth finder, here at Hawk Lake you will target fish in no time at all. However, we recommend that all novice anglers or those with younger children use guides. This will result in a more rewarding fishing experience and allow you to concentrate on having a great time with your kids and fishing! Please make guide reservations at your earliest opportunity, as availability is strictly limited. The rate for guides in 2020 is $250 per day per boat (8:00 AM – 5:00 PM).  It is customary to tip your guide $75-100 per day of guiding. Guide requests should be made when the main reservation is made as again, they are strictly limited. We cannot honor requests when they are made upon arrival.

It is our obligation to provide guests as much information about our lakes and fishing as possible. All staff are avid fisherman who spend much of their time on the water locally and regionally. The Staff is eager to chat with you regarding the very latest in fishing locations and techniques. You will also find our guides are more than happy to share their experiences before dinner during happy hour! All the lakes are mapped and depth charted, and we are pleased to review lake maps any time of day.

The fishing guide staff along with Ted Putnam, the owner-manager, are available for any personal instruction or advice you may need.


On the main lake (Hawk) all guest boats are brand new (within 0-3 years) 18 foot Crestliner Kodiaks with 50 hp Yamaha electric start 4-stroke engines (also new). These boats are some of the best you will ever see at a Canadian lodge and are great to fish out of. A broad beam means easy travelling in rough weather plus plenty of room for up to 4 anglers in leather swivel seats. These boats have casting decks and push down cleats for our fly-fishermen and are all equipped with new fish/depthfinders and electronic trolling motors (66 lb). Although the new Yamaha 4-strokes have knock-down switches that allow you to troll in near silence making an electric trolling motor redundant.

On the out-lakes we are running 16 foot Lunds exclusively with smaller engines 6-15 hp four stroke engines. All out-lake boats have leather swivel seats and are very comfortable for 1-3 anglers (so two people with a guide fit very comfortably). If you can’t live without electronics (keep in mind we give out maps for each lake each day you are on the water) we recommend bringing your personal portable fishfinder for the out-lakes. Again, not necessary but completely up to you.

Tackle Recommendations

To help you prepare for your trip; following is a list of tackle recommendations that work on our system of lakes. If you do not own or wish to purchase tackle, easy to use quality equipment (rods & reels) are available for your use, at no charge.  We also have a full tackle and fly shop for all tackle purchase needs.

We recommend that you re-spool your reel with fresh, new monofilament line of a clear or low visibility green color, 8 – 12 lb. test. Braided lines of 10 to 30 pounds may also be used. Should you lose a lure or need additional items our tackle and fly shop carries a large selection of lures that work on our lakes.

Download Tackle Recommendations

SMALLMOUTH BASS These are among the most sporting of fish found anywhere and are the predominant specie available on our lakes. They are best caught with medium spinning or casting rods of 6 1/2 to 7 feet or 5 to 7 weight fly fishing equipment. Spool with 8 to 12 pound green or clear monofilament or fluorocarbon line or 10 – 20 pound braid. Lighter lines make hooksets problematic and contribute to post -release fish mortality due to excessive playing time. For fly fishing enthusiasts, 6, 7 or 8 weight line and an 8 1/2 to 9 foot rod is ideal.
  • Small finesse bass jigs weighing 1/8 to 1/4 ounces with weed guards in black, pumpkinseed or watermelon colors with plastic chunk type or grub attachments (a good example of this type of jig is the Bitsy Bug)
  • Round lead head jigs in weights or 1/8 to 3/8 ounces with plastic attachments
  • Various soft plastic lures such as 4″-5″ Yamamoto Senkos or equivalent (watermelon, pearl, pumpkinseed colors)
  • Zoom Super Flukes or equivalent in shad, albino or watermelon colors
  • 4″ to 6″ worms in watermelon, tequila sunrise or black colors
  • Sweet Beaver style baits in the same colors in the smaller sizes; these lures are generally either fished weightless (Senkos and flukes) or with 1/8 to 1/4 ounce sliding bullet weights as the holding depths and wind may require with 3/0 offset-wide gap worm hooks
  • Beetle Spins
  • #3 and #4 Mepps Aglia dressed
  • Rattl’ Trap type baits (1/2 ounce or smaller) in silver and blue colors; smaller sized swimbaits such as the Storm wildeye or similar type lures
  • Black Heddon Tiny Torpedoes and #9 or #11 floating Rapalas or smaller popper type baits in natural colors are best for topwater applications.
  • Dahlberg Divers
  • Wooly Worms
  • Wooly Buggers
  • Marabou Muddlers
  • Deer hair bugs
  • Sculpins
  • Clouser Minnows
  • Gerbubble Bugs
  • Small poppers
  • Hook sizes 2 to 6
NORTHERN PIKE These aggressive, fun to catch fish are found on many of our lakes. There are almost no conditions that prevent these fish from cooperating. Northerns vary greatly in size. Therefore, no single recommendation with respect to tackle can be made. On smaller pike up to 30 inches in length, medium light to medium spinning/casting rods with 8 to 12 pound test line will suffice. Seven weight fly rods work well also. However, if large to trophy sized northerns are on the menu, an upgrade in tackle is in order. In these situations, medium heavy to heavy baitcasting/spinning equipment is in order with 17 to 20 pound mono or 20-30 pound braid lines. The use of good quality black leaders is a definite option to reduce cutoffs, although leaders may cut down on the number of strikes you receive.
  • Bucktail type baits preferably with single hooks
  • Dressed spinner baits 1/4 to 1/2 oz. in both dark and bright colors
  • Johnson Silver Minnow in perch, black or silver
  • 5 of diamonds
  • Floating or jointed Rapalas in Perch, silver/black and red/white #7 & #9.

Larger baits early and late season.

  • Dahlberg Divers
  • Muddler Minnows
  • Sculpins
  • Colorful streamers in 1/0 to 4 with a short wire leader.

Any of these or a combination of these baits are good choices for fishing Canada Northern Pike.

LAKE TROUT Spring season use 7 weight fly rods or medium baitcasting/spinning equipment with 10 to 12 pound mono or 20 pound braid line. Resist using light equipment and light lines as trout are the strongest fish on the lake
  • Doctor spoons
  • Flutter spoons
  • Little Cleos
  • Shadrap #7 & #9 SD
  • Mepps Spinners #3 to #5 dressed

Early season these fish are very exciting to catch with fly rods and bright, flashy streamers. These baits produce excellent results for fishing Canadian Lake Trout.

WALLEYE Available in world record proportions on this lake system, these fish are best caught on medium tackle, either spinning or casting. Many guests use live bait. Eight to 12 pound test lines are preferred. The use of the heavier listed line is strongly recommended when fishing for trophy sized fish.
  • Lead headed jigs in weights of 1/8 to 3/8 ounces with 2 to 3 inch grubs with or without live bait
  • Crankbaits such as Husky Jerks or other minnow imitating lures for trolling applications
  • Live bait or “Lindy” type rigs for use with live bait

Favored colors black, purple, chartreuse and florescent orange. This is truly a Canadian Trophy Walleye fishery. You will catch large fish. Several lakes have large numbers of big fish (25 inches +).