Your name or any nicknames you have?

Russ Desjardine

Where are you at in the world? Where will you be fishing this year?

I live on the shore of Lake Superior, in Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada and will be fishing all over northern Ontario particularly the north shore Lake Superior tributaries, Lake Nipigon and the Nipigon River.

Russ holds up a large steelhead

What river(s) and lake(s) do you guide/fish?

I love to fish the urban rivers in Thunder Bay, as well as the rivers of the north shore of Lake Superior for steelhead. One of my all-time favorite spots to fish is Lake Nipigon and the Nipigon River for brook trout, lake trout and salmon. It really doesn’t get much better for variety of species and the chance for trophy size fish too.

How long have you been guiding/fly fishing? 

I have been fly fishing for about 15 years now.

What got you into fly fishing? When did you start?

I am a member of the North Shore Steelhead Association and I used to fish for them using a centerpin and floats.  A fellow member suggested I try fly fishing for them instead and I haven’t looked back since.  

Russ holds up a large brook trout

Why do you fly fish?  What does it “do” for you? 

I enjoy my time on the river as a place to unwind, relax and be alone with my thoughts and nature.  Although it can be challenging and frustrating at times, I find it a great escape from the day to day stress of work and life.  I also like to tie my own flies, and love catching fish with something that I created.  I also feel like I am learning new things every time I go out.  From trying to read the water, to understanding hatches and trying to perfect my technique, fly fishing presents a challenge to me that is always progressing and changing.  

If you own and use a Rod Vault, what do you like about you Rod Vault? 

I don’t own a Rod Vault yet, but hope to get one soon!

What is a piece of advice you want to give to other anglers or a tip/trick that has helped you grow as an angler?

Slow down, watch and learn.  There are so many excellent anglers out there that we can learn from by just sitting on the bank and observing them for a while.

Russ holds up a rainbow trout

Who has influenced you most as an angler? 

The members of the North Shore Steelhead Association helped me form many of my ethics in relation to the conservation and preservation of our fisheries and what we as anglers can do to help this.  I would encourage everyone to join a local fishing or conservation group to help maintain this amazing resource.

What’s your favorite new piece of gear?

Probably my Simms Headwaters Pro waders.  It’s important that I have a durable, lightweight, breathable wader as access to some of our spots require long walks through dense bush that is not kind to cheap gear.

Russ holds up a huge brook trout

What is your favorite fly? (To tie, or catch fish on?)

One of my favorite flies for steelhead is a fly called The Big Ugly, which is basically a version of Whitlock’s squirrel nymph with a bead-head and rubber legs.

Best catch of all time?

Possibly a 28″ steelhead or a 6 lb brook trout.  

What’s your “Dream Trip”?

Would love to head south and go after bone fish and roosterfish. Someplace nice and warm during the Canadian winter.

Russ takes a selfie in front of the river on a cold day

What are some of the best places you’ve been fishing?

Easily Lake Nipigon. One of the best places to go fishing in the world.

How do people follow you on social media or reach you?

Instagram – rdesjardine, Twitter – @russdesjardine

About The Author

Jill Kana

Jill is in charge of a great deal of our web content here at Denver Outfitters and is always looking for potential blog contributors, content, and #FlyGalFridays. If you have any desire to say hello or have an idea, please touch base with her at

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