Smallmouth Bass fishing in Northern Ontario

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Ontario continues to be one of the best Smallmouth Bass destinations in the world. With so many other varieties of popular game fish to catch the Smallie still remains one of the most loved by anglers. Thousands of lakes, rivers and streams and the Great Canadian Shield provide ideal habitat for the Smallmouth and offer up continuing fun challenges for anglers of all ages. Smallie’s are enjoyed my traditional anglers as well as fly fishermen alike and provide explosive action once on the end of a line.

Many Northern Ontario lodges and resorts thrive on Smallmouth angling and thousands upon thousands of anglers return every year to get their fix of Smallie action. A relative of the Sunfish family the Smallie also goes by many other names such as Bronze back, Brown Bass, Brownie and Bronze Bass.

For many anglers across the province a short trip is all it takes to get in on some hard fought Smallmouth action. Bronze to a brown greenish colour the Smallmouth displays dark vertical strips along its flanks and has a narrower snout than its cousin the Largemouth. They also sport a small notch in the dorsal fin.

Preferring rocky habitats and structure the Smallmouth can be found in clear lakes and rivers.  In rivers and streams the primary food source is often crayfish and shad. Matching the hatch with your lure selection is a popular technique to get these feisty fighters to bite. In deeper waters the Smallie tends to school so if you’re fishing in these deeper conditions where you find one you will find many. Mark your spot with a buoy or your GPS to return another day and see if your luck holds out twice.

Sunken islands, rock pits, sunken tree and rocky shoals are also favorite holding areas for Smallmouth to wait and ambush prey. When fishing for predatory Smallmouth’s presentation and accuracy can be the difference between landing or losing a fish. When fishing for Smallie’s from a boat wind direction can play a key factor in your lure presentation. Ideally you want  get ahead of the structure you wish to fish and casting downstream let the current and wind do some of the work for you.  Using artificial lures such as spinner baits, inline spinners, tubes, weedless football jigs, soft plastics, wacky rigging and drop-shotting prove effective in many situations but many anglers will also try the age old jig tipped with a live minnow. Whatever the case may be you will incur strikes and fish with your lure at the right depth. Many times Smallmouth bass will hit a lure and retreat. This is prime opportunity to get the fist to bite with a second lure. Many pro anglers will use multiple rods rigged with a different variety of lures and will cast a second different lure out in the same vicinity as the lost strike. This drives Smallie’s crazy. They are expecting the same food source in front of them and seconds later another different inviting bite comes along and many can’t refuse. When fishing Smallmouth always have a second rod rigged up with a follow up lure to get those missed strikes.

Northern Ontario lakes continue to support a vibrant and healthy Smallmouth population. Some lodges report outings of 30-40 fish caught per person and all ranging in the 15-18 inch or 3-5 pound range. With this kind of action your next Smallie outing should be a Big one in Ontario.


This article was written by the
contributing staff of OFT and its
group of amateur and pro Ontario anglers.

Copyright 2008. Ontario Fish Trips .

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