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Wilderness is calling

Birds

Bird migrations in the spring and fall are a major draw to West Nipissing for hunters and birdwatchers. According to the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) and Nipissing Naturalists, the wetland areas within West Nipissing are ideal for waterfowl of all types: mallards earlier in the season, scaups, goldeneyes, ring necks, and more. The West Bay of Lake Nipissing (Lavigne and North Monetville) is a significant waterfowl hunting area. In addition, duck hunting is practised in several areas throughout West Nipissing.

The best viewing time for birdwatchers and naturalists is during the spring migration. The spectacular sights begin as soon as the ice starts to melt. Hundreds of species nest here, many of which are unique to the area. Birdwatchers can seek out birds of prey, including ospreys, marsh hawks, owls and bald eagles, among others.

Hunting for woodland birds such as the ruffed grouse (partridge) is also a way of life in West Nipissing. The healthy grouse population is supported by a good mix of berries and hawthorn, and close proximity to agricultural land. Access from country roads to the bush is generally easy for outdoor enthusiasts.

Please note that hunting is only allowed on Crown Land or with permission of a landowner.

Useful Links

Migratory Game Bird Hunting

Migratory Game Bird Hunting Permit

Hunting Regulations for Migratory Birds

Big Game

The entire district north of Sturgeon Falls, from Marten River to River Valley, is prime moose hunting territory. Moose are found all over the district, and live with a healthy deer population in the West Bay (Lavigne and North Monetville) area. With its combination agriculture of woodlot and bush, some years show evidence of heavier populations of moose in West Bay, while other years show larger deer populations.

West Nipissing is adjacent to, and part of Wildlife Management Unit 41 (north of Highway 17); the most popular hunting location in Ontario with its long moose hunting season. While being close to major centres, the moose hunt is primarily local. In District 41, there is easy access to a large amount of Crown Land through various logging and access roads, where resident hunters can hunt anywhere.

West Nipissing also supports healthy bear populations, with excellent food production and climates. The area surrounding Highway 805 (north of River Valley) is a popular bear hunting spot, as logging and forest access roads allow for easy entrance into bear management areas. The West Bay area also provides hunters with popular locales, however bear hunting is often done here on private properties.

Please note that hunting is only allowed on Crown Land or with permission of a landowner.

Useful Links

MNRF Black Bear Management Background

MNRF

Fishing

West Nipissing is located in Fisheries Management Zone 11  – home to more than 40 different species of fish, from the tiny smelt which runs in the spring, to the might muskellunge, the furious warrior of the waters. Myriad lakes and streams dot the area, creating an angler’s delight from Marten River to Crystal Falls. The youngest of anglers can enjoy bringing in sweet tasting perch or colourful sunfish. Other species include bullheads and catfish, ling, cisco, northern and gar-pike, herring, lake white fish, speckled, brook, lake and rainbow trout, carp, drum suckers and sheepshead. The local bass families include rock, white, silver, small and largemouth. Fish can be caught from shore, boat, and docks within easy walking distance of camps, throughout the year.

Lake Nipissing is approximately 67 km long and 26 km wide, covering about 130 km of shoreline – a paradise of uninhabited islands, waterways, fishing grounds and inlets. It is a relatively shallow lake, with its deepest points around the estuaries and tributaries. This provides for a healthy balance throughout the year of shallow weed beds (harbouring fantastic fighters like Great Northern Pike) and cooler, deeper waters in the summer (providing for pickerel and walleye populations). Other species found in Lake Nipissing include smallmouth bass, yellow perch, and muskellunge. The lake is fed by a vast region of inland lakes and rivers from Temagami, and drains through the headwaters of the French River system into Georgian Bay.

Beyond Lake Nipissing, the River Valley area, from Marten River to Crystal Falls, offer wonderful opportunities for brook and lake trout, and walleye. The waterway system here includes Emerald Lake, Manitou Lake, Red Cedar Lake, Tomiko Lake, and Chebogan Lake, and their tributaries.

The Municipality of West Nipissing also enjoys an extremely active winter fishery, with Lake Nipissing considered to be the finest ice fishing lake in Ontario by many experienced anglers. Roads and snowmobile trails line the surface of area lakes, with ice huts rentals available from several local lodge and resort operators.

Useful Links

Fishing in Ontario

Lake Nipissing Fisheries Management Plan

The Crown Land Use Policy Atlas

Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters

Ontario’s Fish ON-Line

Trapping

Trapping is another popular activity throughout West Nipissing. To find out more about trapping in Ontario, please visit the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry page on trapping.

Trails and Conservation Reserves

The Cache Bay Wetland Conservation Reserve is one of Lake Nipissing’s largest wetlands. It is located approximately 5 km southwest of Sturgeon Falls on the north shore of Lake Nipissing south of the community of Cache Bay. The site encompasses a provincially significant wetland which provides crucial habitat for a variety of wildlife such as various duck and fish species. The site also provides many recreational opportunities including sport fishing, hunting and cranberry picking. Access includes, but is not limited to, boat in the summer, snowmobile trail in the winter or by a trail system located along the eastern boundary of the site near the Sturgeon River House Museum.

Visit the MNRF’s website for more information about the Cache Bay Wetland.

The Field Township Conservation Reserve offers a host of recreational activities such as hunting, snowmobiling and ATV use. The area is known for its hunting appeal due to the many deer, moose, bear and upland birds that are present within the area. General hiking and viewing are known to take place within the site and there is potential for birdwatching and photography. Local residents as well as visitors are known to frequent the site. A snowmobile trail, also suitable for hiking and ATV use, runs through the site in a north south direction. A heritage canoe route which runs along the Sturgeon River is located northeast of the site. The conservation reserve is highly accessible in that there is a road and are several trails surrounding and within the site. The site can also be accessed by water via Muskosung Lake. The conservation reserve is very close to the Village of Field and a manageable distance from Sturgeon Falls, North Bay and Sudbury.

Visit the MNRF’s website for more information about the Field Township Conservation Reserve.

Useful links

West Nipissing ATV Club

West Nipissing Trails

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