A cottage that I regularly visit; and by regularly I mean five to 10 times per year; has a lake that can sometimes be difficult to fish. I’ve spent the last 11-years learning the lake, perfecting techniques, tweaking presentations and, every so often, getting completely skunked. It is highly unpredictable, especially on the nights when the stars seem aligned to present the perfect fishing conditions but the results are no more than a litany of mosquito bites and practice casts.
Surrounding the lake that the cottage is on are three much smaller lakes that my fishing partner, Mike, and I visit at least once per year. The first is within walking distance from the cottage and the other two are less than a 10-minute drive followed by a few minute hike through the bush. Each one offers something different, whether it’s the size, shape, or depth, but the one thing they all have in common is that you’re pretty much guaranteed to get, what I fondly refer to as, “bass thumb”.
The smallest and closest of the lakes is narrow, measuring roughly 1000 feet by 300 feet. It is barely more than a pond, with the shoreline tapering to the water on one side and flat rock faces that measure up to 25-feet high on the other. Rumour has it that the lake was once dead and at some point lime was thrown into the water to balance the PH levels. I am not sure how accurate this claim is, but I have heard it from a few different sources, so my guess is that it must hold some truth.
This amazing little “practice lake” holds a slew of largemouth bass ranging up to just over three-pounds. They may not be the biggest, but they have some fight in them.
Since it’s so close, we have the option of taking just about any gear we want. Often, we use our standard medium or medium-heavy bass rigs, but taking a light action setup to this amazing little fishing hole can make for a far more exhilarating couple of hours. Small boats are left on the shore for anglers that know where to find them. The compact size of the lake requires no more than a trolling motor or a 1.5 to 3-horsepower gas motor to get around. Years ago we would only take paddles, but Mother Nature never wanted to cooperate. We found ourselves constantly rowing against the wind, as it tends to shift directions every 20-minutes or so.
Rock shelves, shoals, and deadheads hold countless fish that lie in wait for the right bait to come along. With such minimal pressure, the fish attack almost anything. From lipless and square-bill crankbaits, to topwater plugs and frogs, to virtually any soft plastic bait, this lake offers an excellent chance to practice hooksets and landing fish. Through the summer months the water is crystal clear and provides an opportunity to do some sight fishing. A wonderful little honey-hole, this lake is only the first on the list of my secret little hideaways.
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ONTARIO FISHING ADVENTURES
Last winter we did a special feature profiling several fantastic fishing resorts in various regions of Ontario. The article was so well received that we decided to do it again, with a new group of lodges. All of this year’s destinations provide top notch fishing for multiple species, they’re relatively unpressured and they are easily accessible by car. From high-end, full service resorts to more laid-back fishing camps, each of these locations offer a unique fishing experience. If you’re thinking about where to go for your next fishing getaway the following pages feature Bob Izumi's profiles of some the trips he made last year. Hopefully they will give you some ideas on where to look for a fishing trip that is sure to meet all of your expectations.
FISHING ALGOMA COUNTRY
Wil Wegman is an award-winning outdoor writer, seminar host and tournament angler from Bradford Ontario. In 2017 Wil was recognized for his dedication to the sport by being inducted into the Canadian Angler Hall of Fame. www.wilwegman.com
Tales from the Road
As you may know I like driving, so jumping in a vehicle and doing a road trip is appealing to me. For years I would routinely do 100,000 km per year or more on the road. So this Tales starts with me heading out again, back to Brennan Harbour Resort in Spanish, Ontario. Located in Algoma Country, this friendly resort is operated by James and Casey, who are a wonderful couple.
CHAIN PICKEREL ON STRIKE
I’ve never stalked a whitetail deer, but I imagine doing so is a bit like fishing for large chain pickerel. Success is found by locating those prime areas where the big ones live, and by working those areas thoroughly and patiently with exact techniques.
Elk Tartare with Horseradish Crema
Tales From The Road
Since my last Tales article I’ve been averaging at least six days a week, sometimes seven, on the road. Road trips are, and have always been, a big part of my life. There’s just something about being on the go that I love. In fact, as I wrap up this column I’ll be hitting the road again and I can’t wait, even though I just got back a day ago. I think it’s ingrained in me so much that I don’t mind living out of a suitcase. I know it’s not for everybody, but I like it.
The MGM Fishing Trip
On the first Saturday of June 2020, a group of 20 extended family members will celebrate an amazing milestone. They will be participating in the 50th consecutive year of a family fishing trip begun by four founding members way back in 1971.
Every now and again we anglers are lucky enough to find lakes, ponds or creeks that feel so isolated from civilization that believing they are a reality is sometimes more difficult than finding them in the first place. Stumbling across, or being introduced to, a body of water with such enormous potential for catching fish is what any fishing enthusiast dreams of. Fortunately for myself, I have lucked out three times in one shot.
The black crappie is a member of the sunfish family and features the same deep, laterally compressed body shape as other sunfishes.
Fly Tricks For Fall Trout
In the fall, fly fishing changes. Not only does the weather cool, the bug activity often quiets down as well. Different techniques are needed to adapt to the rivers where fish are often looking for different food. Searching techniques and paying attention to details can improve your success.