Let me tell you something my fine fishing friends” says Pete “when I get something in my head in this great sport, I often get obsessed with it. For instance; this season I have yet to catch a big Northern Pike… and… well… that just ain’t right. On a previous trip, I had my butt handed to me by the Pike gods at Pinehurst lake in Alberta, despite the number of huge walleye I caught! So I’m pretty much itchin’ to get hold of “a” big Pike, “some” big Pike… anything”!
On this Fish’n Canada episode, Pete attempts to catch his big Pike in Killarney Ontario. Somebody needs to give this poor guy a break.
Now, if you enjoy the outdoors, you really should come to Killarney. This area boasts some of the most pristine, unspoiled scenery in the world, with its wild Georgian Bay landscapes and white quartzite ridges along the beautiful La Cloche Mountains. The fishing is just a reward for being there. It’s simply spectacular!
“As I said, my quarry for this trip is big Pike” says Pete “but I know this place has lots of Muskie, Smallmouth & Largemouth Bass, as well as Rainbow and Lake Trout, so, as Ang and I always do, I brought the whole-9-yards, just in case”. Basically that means WAY too much tackle.
Pete arrived at beautiful Killarney Mountain Lodge, dropped the Princecraft into the water, looked at the time and saw it’s just after two pm on a perfect early fall afternoon. There’s “no way” he could sit around until the next day… Killarney Bay was right around the corner to the west, so… Pete states “I’m goin’ Pike huntin’, right now”!
He started out in the back of Killarney Bay where local fishing guide, Red Prouix, suggested. BUT… Fishing can be very humbling. As well as Red and the boys did just a few days prior to this trip, Pete couldn’t get squat! Next logical step, according to the book, is to work out to deeper water.
As he got close to the mouth of Killarney Bay, Pete got pretty revved up with all the baitfish he saw on his bow mounted Garmin. It’s the perfect scenario for big fish; classic late season structure covered with bait and deep water access directly adjacent. The only guessing game was presenting the right lure. And that lure was a floating Salmo Perch.
Once Pete hit the end of a nice deep structure he was rewarded with his first Pike of the trip: a gorgeous 40+ inch fish!
MOVE ON TO MILL LAKE
It’s day 2 of Pete’s Killarney trip and from what he saw the previous day, even though he caught a giant Northern Pike, things just didn’t seem right… there was hardly any Pike activity in the long stretch of water he fished in Killarney Bay. He felt he should have caught “or saw” some fish. A couple of lazy Hammer-handle follows… & that was it.
So on this day, Pete traveled east out of Killarney and headed to Mill Lake. This is a very protected piece of water when compared to Georgian bay, it has lots of Pike throughout the entire area and the boat ride up Collins Inlet running along the north side of Phillip Edward Island is spectacular.
Mill lake, as well as Beaverstone Bay to its immediate east, are only accessible by boat; however, since the ride is a bit long, this water is relatively untouched by anglers. Add to that, the fact that there are no boat launches there, make it a real hidden gem. An average fishing day will have local cottagers as well as the odd fishing camp visitor… that’s it! There’s a lot of great fishing to be done here.
“I’m gonna’ push my way”, says Pete “to where Mill Lake and Beaverstone Bay connect with Georgian Bay and work my may back. I’ve fished this kind of structure before just to the south of here, near Point Au Baril, with pretty good success. This part of the world is so diverse in geography that sometimes is a chore to concentrate on the fishing”.
This combination of wave-worn islands and turquoise water almost looks like it’s from a shipwreck movie or a national geo episode… eerie yet mesmerizing!
Although this kind of structure and cover doesn’t look very “Pikey”, finding weeds in among the myriad of rocks and channels is the key.
Only 1 small Pike to show. Time to move on again.
At the top of the show Pete said “I always bring extra gear when shooting in case I stumble across something… well stumble he did. “I just so happened to be trolling for Pike, covering lots of water when a gorgeous Smallmouth Bass grabbed the big Pike lure but instantly got off”.
Not to give up an opportunity, he decided to check that spot a little further.
This is where the fish gods are all having a great day. Pete literally caught Smallie after Smallie on dropshots, tube jigs and flipping jigs… “it was INCREDIBLE”!
An interesting scenario is happed there “I could catch those extremely active and feeding Smallies on drop shots, tubes or even flipping jigs on almost every cast in less than 6 feet of water, but if I threw a jerkbait or anything else that ran up off the bottom, it almost seemed like they’d shy away from it”.
If you are wondering why Pete would stop using what’s working and try something totally different, “I ALWAYS take a bit of time to experiment but NEVER stop doing what’s working”!
The Killarney area of Ontario boasts some of the most stunning scenery in the province and has captivated artists including some of The Group of Seven so much so, that they persuaded the Ontario government to make it a park.
This scenic area offers back-country canoeing, kayaking, hiking including as well as cross-country skiing and snowshoeing in winter.
As far as fishing in Killarney Park is concerned, many of the lakes are fish sanctuaries. However, limited fishing opportunities are available in the park’s eastern and northern sections. Bell and Balsam Lakes are popular to fish and easy to access via Blue Mountain Lodge.
Many other lakes are accessible with a canoe just be sure you contact the park to check for fishing regulations.
Just outside the park is the historic Village of Killarney which was founded in 1820 as a fur trading post on Georgian Bay. It’s a stopping port for boaters traversing the surrounding big waters. A must visit when you’re here is the famous Herbert Fisheries fish and chip shop.
Now that Pete’s Smallie distraction was out of his system, he got back to the Pike that he came to Killarney for.
He started throwing the Salmo again and in no time had a beautiful Muskie roll on the bait and actually bump it, but it didn’t get hooked! “I will not get a better chance than that for a bonus Muskie while I’m Pike fishing… I literally felt that fish hit the bait and it STILL didn’t get hooked up… that’s crazy”!
BIG & PLEASANT SURPRISE
“I set out on this adventure seeking Northern Pike” says Pete “and I succeeded in catching my biggest one of the season… AND as a bonus… stumbled onto the craziest Smallmouth fishing of the year “plus”… put a gorgeous Muskie in the boat to cap it all off”.
If the great fishing that Killarney Ontario has been hid for all these years… we’re guessing the secret just got let out of the bag!
GETTIN’ THERE with RAM TRUCKS
To get to today’s awesome multi-species fishing I first took hwy 400 north to hwy 69.
I then turned left on 637 then finally turned left on Commissioner St ending up at Killarney Mountain Lodge.
This great facility caters not only to anglers but boaters of all types, hikers, cross-country skiers, snowmobilers and pretty much anything else involving the outdoors.
Red Proulx – Lodge Fishing Guide