Throughout the history of the Township of Nipigon, there has been a flowing constant, the mighty Nipigon River. The river of world record brook trout, epic boating adventures, and memorable experiences. As a local, the river is something that I see almost every day and I usually cross the stunning structure of the Nipigon River Bridge at least twice a day but recently I had been feeling guilty because I had not truly experienced it.
The Nipigon River is one of the main features tourists and people around the globe remember about the Township of Nipigon. I am not kidding when I say around the globe, as I experienced this occurrence personally just outside of Edinburgh Scotland. In 2019, I was living in a small village outside of Edinburgh and had been invited to some winter celebrations at a friend’s home. We were sitting around a warm fire coming from the woodstove in their living room and drinking mulled wine. I was participating in some small talk with others from the area who came for the seasonal party. One of the younger Scottish gentlemen asked where I was from. Now almost every encounter I have like this end with them hearing the name of the small community in Northern Ontario and going “oh that’s nice” and veering the conversation in another direction. So, you could imagine my surprise when the lovely gents’ eyes perked up when I mentioned my hometown “Nipigon, Ontario.” Astonished he knew of the community I pressed further, and he simply replied… “of course, I know where Nipigon is. I have heard so many epic tales about its Nipigon River.”
As I stated above, I found myself feeling guilty about taking for granted that this beautiful river could lead to so many adventures that I had not yet tried. So, I was determined to get the full river experience and while doing so I wanted to document how you could too.
One of the most popular ways to experience the river is by boat. As stated earlier, I had not fully experienced the river and knew I needed too so I then went out multiple times with different family members and friends on a boat and even on the back of a Sea-Doo. I have to say as an adventurous spirit my favorite way to experience the river so far was under the warm July sun, on the back of a Sea-Doo, and the rushing waters beneath us. We crossed the river, explored it, and took in the scenery when traveling from Polly Lake to the Township of Red Rock by water.
Now I have also had family members launch their boats at the Nipigon Marina and take us for an evening cruise on the river and anchor the boat just before it with amazing views of the Nipigon River Bridge and beyond that, the fading sunset.
I think this was a great way to experience the river but do not get discouraged if this isn’t something you can’t do, as there are so many other ways to enjoy the river such as hiking alongside it.
The township of Nipigon has a recent addition to their list of recreation trails. The Portage Trail brings you underneath the Nipigon River Bridge, leading you right alongside the river. The best place to begin this adventure is at the Bridgeview Tower lookout. This “urban” trail guides you to the lagoon viewing platforms at the waterfront, to downtown Nipigon. The lagoon is a serene, magical place teeming with wildlife like beavers, blue herons, endangered western painted turtles, loons, and ducks.
You can launch a kayak, canoe, or paddleboard at the Nipigon Marina where they have an accessible dock to make the journey so much easier. From there you can paddle along the marina and cross over to view famous ancient pictographs. As you continue to paddle towards the river you can take in stunning views of the waters and the Nipigon River Bridge. We recommend that you only paddle so far as the currents under the bridge are extraordinarily strong and can be dangerous. It is safe, for beginners, to stay close to the marina and simply enjoy the closer views.
Members of my family fish the river quite frequently so it did not much persuading for them to take me on a river fishing excursion.
This is such a great way to enjoy the river, who knows maybe you could catch the next world record Brookie? You can simply offshore fish underneath the Nipigon River Bridge or in other spots close to the Township of Nipigon. Another popular spot is the Alexander Dam down Cameron Falls Road (Highway 585) there you can view the Hydro Dam that helps to generate power in the area, have a great view of the river, and also have your chance to catch something epic.
You can also fish the river by boat and enjoy accessing more great fishing hot spots. There are many fishing derbies in the area, which has locals and tourists on the river trying to catch some greatness and share their success stories.
The Nipigon River Bridge, like the river, is a primary feature of the community. The original bridge, a steel deck truss road bridge was built in 1937. It was recently redone, and the new structure, a cable-stayed bridge stands 246 ft. tall and lights up our community throughout the evening. It has a viewing platform facing the river and is a great spot to catch the sunset. It also has a walking path next to the bridge and one leading underneath it so you can easily make your way across or around it. Watch for the new interpretive panels to be installed on the bridge this summer!