A place that pretty much has it all, Branch’s Seine River Lodge is a short two-hour drive from the International Falls, MN border. Starting with amazing fishing and vast areas to grouse hunt, plan on bringing your fishing gear, your dog, and multiple boxes of shotgun shells for lots of hooksets, flushing, and shooting! The unbelievable fall colors are worth the trip alone to this first-class lodge nestled in Ontario’s Sunset Country.
Branch’s Seine River Lodge was built in the 1930s and first owned by Charlie and Babe Ekroos. Babe actually ran a troop of touring “dancing girls” back in the day. Many of the costumes were left at the lodge when Carl and Joan Branch bought it in 1967. Quent and Lorie took the lodge over from his parents in 2001 and have almost totally renovated or replaced the entire facility—adding six new cabins and a new main lodge. They continue to keep all the cabins updated with fresh renovations so their guests are ultra-comfortable!
Branch’s Seine River Lodge offers an American or housekeeping plan; all of their new or newly renovated comfortable cabins have a full kitchen, full bath, satellite TV, and all the amenities of home.
Quent and Lorie strive to make Branch’s Seine River Lodge as relaxing and comfortable as possible. It’s very obvious to me why over 50% of their customers come back year after year. They have quite a few three-plus generation groups that return several times a year, as well as guests that have been visiting every year for over 20 years. And it’s not just groups of men that stay at Branch’s; they have a number of couples that make up a large and growing part of their guest list.
If a fall “Cast & Blast” is your thing during one of the most beautiful times to be in Ontario, Branch’s Seine River Lodge is the perfect place. Bring your dog and grouse hunt all day, or shoot a limit of grouse in the morning and jump in a boat in the afternoon for world-class multi-species fishing—reel rippin’ smallmouth, high-paced walleye action, and don’t forget about the great pike fishing too! That’s the great thing about grouse hunting in Ontario—they’re virtually everywhere. It’s pretty awesome to be able to get your limit of grouse and a limit of walleye all in one day! A “fins and feathers” dinner is tough to beat!
Bringing my two-and-a-half-year-old white lab, Rikki, on this adventure was something I was looking forward to all year. I knew Branch’s Seine River Lodge was dog-friendly, and this region has a large population of grouse. Rikki cut her teeth on grouse hunting in Sunset Country, and I couldn’t think of a better place to chase grouse with my hunting partner. Watching her work, catching the scent of a grouse, flushing, and when my shot is on—retrieving bird after bird. She’s definitely just like one of my kids, and spending time in the woods with her is something I always enjoy. And bringing home a limit of my favorite feathered table fare is definitely pretty darn great too… YUM!
When it comes to grouse hunting, Branch’s Seine River Lodge offers miles and miles of prime grouse hunting trails just minutes from the lodge, and birds that have seen few hunters, which make for a pretty amazing hunt!
Multi-Species Fishing Paradise
Seine River consists of five lakes, with around 30 miles of water from upstream moving downstream; Perch Lake heads the system with McCauley Lake, Chub Lake, Banning Lake where Branch’s Seine River Lodge is nestled, and Calm Lake at the end. Seine River has it all: large lakes, small lakes, narrows, channels, current, and it’s full of great structure. In addition, Branch’s Seine River Lodge has boat caches on eight other local lakes as well as launch access to dozens more. And if you like fishing by canoe, they have hundreds of canoe access lakes including Quetico Park, giving you all the amazing multi-species fishing you could ever want—from world-class smallmouth to numbers and size when it comes to walleye. And don’t forget about the great pike, perch, and crappie options. You can basically fish for a different species every day of your stay at Branch’s Seine River Lodge!
I’d return midday to the lodge from a fantastic day of grouse hunting with a limit in hand, grab a quick lunch at the lodge, and off to the lake to catch more fish. Each day it was a different species—although we always seemed to come back to walleyes, as we caught smallmouth and pike no matter where went. During this fall season, the fish are scattered everywhere and they have a hearty appetite. Everything seemed to like eating my Jigging Raps and Ripping Raps! Only problem was the toothy pike like them, too! Make sure you bring lots of extras! A walleye shore lunch at the lodge was a highlight to the trip. It’s pretty tough to beat releasing walleyes into the grease when they were swimming just hours earlier.
Besides Quent and Lorie making Rikki and I feel at home and like family, the one thing I won’t forget about from this Ontario Experience are Lorie’s delicious, home-cooked meals. Every morning we left with a full stomach thanks to the amazing breakfast. When it came to dinner, let’s just say, WOW; from ribs and steak to turkey with mashed potatoes and gravy with all the fixings… Oh, and the desserts. Yum.