How To Pack For A Fishing Trip in Ontario’s Highlands

The Ontario’s Highlands region holds a special place in my heart as it is where fishing began for me. I’ve been fishing throughout this region since the age of 5 when I was first introduced to fishing by a family friend on Lake Kashwakamak in the Land O’ Lakes Region of Ontario’s Highlands. From those early experiences to achieving personal bests more recently, some truly amazing moments have taken place here over the years. It’s no wonder I keep coming back.


I’m very excited and grateful to be working with Ontario’s Highlands Tourism Organization over the next couple months to showcase this amazing fishing destination as I document my on-the-water adventures through my social media pages, here on my blog, and with videos as well. If you’re new to this region or just getting into fishing, I’ve put together a packing list below of items you won’t want to forget! This region offers a wide range of fish species and the variety here is quite unique. You’ll want to ensure you bring a good selection of tackle and equipment to take advantage of having access to so many types of fish!

Ontario’s Highlands Fishing Trip Checklist

1. Fishing license – Always check the fishing regulations before setting out on the water. Be mindful of what species are in season to be targeted as well as any applicable slot sizes.

2. Sunglasses – Not only important for eye protection but if you pick up a pair of polarized glasses, you’ll have better visibility when looking into the water.

3. Hat – Helps with glare and sun protection.

4. Sunscreen and/or sun protective clothing – We all need sunshine, but too much can drain you and be harmful to your skin. Cover up or wear sunscreen.

5. Bug spray – Always a good idea to carry bug repellent but be careful not to spray any on your fishing gear or equipment.

6. Rain gear (layers and/or extra clothing depending on the season) – Plan ahead so you’ll be comfortable throughout the day no matter the weather may be.DSC05040

7. Headlamp or flashlight – This is such a helpful item to have in low light conditions.

8. Life jacket and boat safety items – If you’re heading out by boat or watercraft, ensure you have the required safety items.

9. First aid kit – This is an item that you hopefully won’t need, but it should always be packed just in case.

10. Food and water – It’s crucial to stay hydrated and fueled up so you’ll be in tip-top shape for wrangling monster fish 🙂 I bring along a Nalgene bottle so I’m not going through and throwing out multiple plastic water bottles each trip. I typically pack snacks that are easy to eat one-handed: sandwiches, wraps, Clif Bars, granola bars, veggies, etc. I bring a big cooler bag with ice packs to keep everything cool. This year I started bringing along Nuun Active (electrolytes in a tablet form that I drop into my water) to stay hydrated and to not have to make as many trips to the washroom.

11. Map – Bring along a lake or river map to make the most of your time on the water especially if you’re visiting a new area. Once you decide which region within Ontario’s Highlands you’d like to visit, contact the appropriate destination marketing organization for maps and local information. Feel free to reach out to me for any tips on how to find this information.

12. Pliers or forceps – When unhooking fish, it can be tricky at times to remove a hook that is deeper down inside the fishes mouth. Having pliers or forceps is key for a quick and easy removal. This also helps keep your hands clear of potentially getting nicked by toothy fish.

13. Scissors – Always bring a pair of scissors along and please don’t use your teeth to cut the line!

14. Hook sharpener – Sharp hooks = better hook-up ratio.


15. Rods, reels – Match your equipment to the type of fishing you’ll be doing.

16. Tackle box – Much easier for transporting lures, tools and accessories.


17. Tackle – Bring along appropriate tackle for the species you’ll be targeting (check out the video below for some ideas). There are endless presentations out there that are effective in this region but if you need some ideas or inspiration, feel free to leave a comment below or reach out to me.

18. Net – Always good to assist with landing fish, especially larger ones. It also makes a great holding area for a fish while you’re preparing to take a photo.


19. Camera – Be sure to practice ‘catch, photo, release’! Capture your memories in Ontario’s Highlands and use the hashtag #ComeWander.

Below is a quick video I created sharing my list of items along with some of my favourite multi-species fishing presentations which I’ve found to be effective in this region.

Thank you for taking the time to stop by! In the coming weeks I’ll be sharing another list of some of my favourite lakes in the region along with fishing tips for each one. Subscribe to my blog below so you don’t miss out.

To learn more about Ontario’s Highlands, visit

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