People who love fishing have a knack for telling stories and keeping their secret spots…. well, secret. For generations, from as far as Florida, avid anglers have been taking the Algoma Central Railway or a Hawk Air float plane to Errington’s Wilderness Island, a rustic-luxe resort northeast of Wawa, Ontario. But the lodge and cabins on Lake Wabatongushi in the two-million-acre Chapleau Crown Game Preserve — the largest game preserve in the world — are a perfect base for more than reeling walleye out of the water. They’re an ideal way to take a deep dive into Northern Ontario nature, with hearty home cooking to fuel your outdoor adventures. —Dan Rubinstein
When our fellow guests motor away in the morning to cast and jig, we grab kayaks from the dock and paddle along the shoreline in search of moose. Black bears are also abundant here, as are mink, otters and eagles, even lynx and timber wolves. But there are softer pursuits than photo-ops with predators, like picking wild blueberries and strawberries; or sitting on the deck, listening to reeds rustling in the breeze; or jumping into the lake off the floating dock after a steak dinner capped by apple pie, that golden-hour reboot you need to muster the energy to stay up and stargaze once the northern sun finally sets.
On our Day 2, we fish. Veteran guide Larry Harvey steers an 18-foot cedar strip outboard to a couple of his favourite walleye pools. At the first spot, no luck. But at the second, the fish start biting, and within minutes we land four—dinner for tomorrow night—and we’re the ones who are hooked. “Fishing,” says Al Errington, who runs the resort with his wife Doris, “is just another way to get close to nature.” Al’s family bought the property in 1975, when he was 15, and he’s been here from May to October for the last 40 years. “Nature becomes humbling when you’re immersed in it,” he says. “You can’t help but see yourself as a cog in a system.”