Behind the Scenes: Hastie Lake

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Hey everybody, we just returned from our last trip to the Algoma region of Ontario for the season. We’ve been up there quite a bit this year and justifiably so… the fishing is awesome! This adventure took us to Hastie Lake which is accessed by Lauzon Aviation.

Our team consisted of myself, Steve Niedzwiecki, Dean Taylor (drone pilot), and Vova Babushkin (camera op). This team was in for a bit of a different experience as compared to all of this season’s previous trips. The Hastie Lake cabin is “self-sustaining” if you will. A true outpost experience where we bring in all of our food and cook for ourselves. I knew Steve could handle it. I figured Dean would adapt well since he has a similar cabin not too far from where we were, but Vova… this is his first season with us and his first season in Canada. I had full faith (since the mosquitoes would probably be non-existent) that he’d survive. We got him a bottle of Maple Whisky just in case…

Hastie is a fly-in with a surprisingly brief flight. You literally take off from Lake Lauzon, fly over a few hilltops and drop into Hastie Lake. Easy Peasy!

The Lake

Hastie Lake is small in size. It has Largemouth and Smallmouth Bass, as well as Lake Trout and Whitefish.

Its maximum depth is around 80 feet.

We were 100% after the Bass… either species as we aren’t picky and love both.

The Experience

We flew in on a Monday afternoon (left the GTA at around 6 am, picked up Steve in Barrie on the way north and arrived around 1 pm). We unpacked all of our clothing bags, laid our sleeping bags, filled the fridge with food and beverages (they have a propane fridge and stove there), stuck the fishing reels on the rods, tied up a few baits, and were ready to move on to our next phase.

BTW, since Dean was our “extra” guy on the shoot who could be a jack of all trades aside from his drone expertise, his duties were to help map the lake and, more importantly, be our camp cook.

Exploring The Waters Of Hastie Lake

When we finally got on the water, we commenced with a bit of a charting session. Dean in one boat and Steve and I on another. I figured if we ran two GPS units with map drawing capabilities, we could get a great idea of mid-lake hotspots that would have probably been missed by previous guests. Garmin’s “Quickdraw” feature is perfect if you are fishing an uncharted lake. 

Turns out we did find some isolated areas BUT, they weren’t stacked with fish like I thought they would be. However, adjacent to these areas were LOTS of fish. Smallmouth Bass in loose schools… perfect!

The Fishing

Day one of our fishing trip started with a bit of a downpour. When this happens, it’s a “keep the camera and camera op dry by leaving them behind in the camp”. That put Steve and I on our own to try and establish a Bass pattern and, if possible, shoot some phone footage for possible usage.

We set up near the island area of the lake where Dean charted a nice, deep underwater point

With the boat sitting in around 12ish feet of water, we proceeded to throw some big Yo Zuri 3DB hard baits like their Pencil Popper and Twitchbait. Not long into our session, I fired a long-bomb cast with the Pencil Popper into the abyss over deeper water and you guessed it… TOILET FLUSH… and a vanished bait.

Ended up being a gorgeous, hefty Smallmouth! And the beauty of this fish was, it spat up (puked) a full-sized Cisco while fighting near the boat.

With the rain pouring down at the time, we shot this sequence thinking full well that it would be for YouTube only, however, since we had our phones set on 4K resolution, it has a great shot of being included in the TV version… awesome news to me and hopefully you too!

The Yo-Zuri Pencil Popper, it’s a perfect match for a Cisco and it’s deadly!

The rest of the week was a combo of Smallmouth and Largemouth (mostly Smallies) on a variety of angling techniques. We caught some on topwater, a few on crankbaits, one on a chatterbait, but the main method was some kind of plastic on or near the bottom (tube jigs, dropshot, flipping jigs etc.).

Some of our best Smallie numbers were indeed adjacent to the humps that we charted earlier. These weren’t big fish (all under 3lbs) but they were plentiful. We could have easily caught thirty-plus fish each per day.

The 23-30 feet deep range was the deal for these deep fish. I tried my best to hook into a big fish with a Hardcore Bullet Crank 7+ but it just didn’t happen (actually 2 tiny Smallies attacked it). That sucker digs easily to 20-plus feet but I think the fish were a touch lethargic. Trust me, I’ll score with that baby in the future!

As for the odd Largemouth that we caught, again the topwater baits worked well, along with coffin-billed crankbaits, the chatter, and jigs along with plastics.

Highlights

One of the coolest things we encountered on this trip (there’s always a story) was that I had a tiny Largemouth on at boat side. All of a sudden, a big Smallmouth came in chasing the Largie. The Smallie literally proceeded to bite the Largie’s tail. It didn’t attempt to eat the entire fish (which it easily could have since it was probably a 4-pounder vs. a quarter-pounder at best), it just kept nipping at and hanging on to the tail… STRANGE but so cool!

Another interesting note was while fishing on one of my previous trips’ “big bass” areas, I spotted a small school of big fish on the LiveScope. I dunked down a dropshot rig and instantly hooked up. As Steve was reeling in to get prepped with the net, he too hooked up. Within seconds we knew these weren’t Smallies as neither of them jumped. Ended up being a pair of incidental Lakers… great fighters!

The 3rd experience in the awesome department is with the ever-advancing electronics in the fishing world, we inevitably encounter new discoveries over and over. In this case, we had an old area of the lake that always produced good fish but we could never tell exactly why. Well, with the aid of LiveScope, I think we pretty much nailed it. A fallen, sunken tree in 30-plus feet of water… WOW!

Conclusion

All in all this trip was outstanding for numbers of fish, however, for the first time in our Hastie Lake history, we didn’t come out with any giants. A great reason for a return visit in a few years. 

Steve was Steve… gung-ho for any and all fishing (he’s definitely the long-bomb caster of the year).

Dean is now deemed camp cook from here on in as he did an outstanding job (he also edits these blogs…).

Vova came out unscathed, he’s adapting very well to this gig.

Pete Bowman

Pete, one of the most revered and popular anglers in the nation, has a tremendous love for the game… the fishing game. Pete’s vast knowledge of angling and ability to articulate it to audiences worldwide has endeared him to his fans who still see Pete as just “ONE OF THE BOYS”. Pete is also an accomplished and published outdoor writer and photographer as well as a sought-after speaker. In 2012 another of Pete’s ultimate fishing career highlights occurred when he was inducted into the Canadian Angler Hall Of Fame, something he never thought would happen. A Canadian fishing icon.

2 Responses

    1. Thanks J66, Yeah we get a little delayed or might I say forgetful during the shooting season and often put things like behind the scenes on the back burner. Sorry about that. There are a bunch more to come, please stay tuned.

      Pete

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