pete with lake scugog common carp

Lake Scugog Carp

To fish all of Ontario, with its vast amount of water and freshwater fish species, would take about ten lifetimes to complete. So, the realistic thing to do is to take it location by location and species by species. For example, Lake Scugog is known as a warm, shallow waterbody synonymous with species like Bass, Walleye, Muskie, Crappie, etc. What it is not especially known for is Carp fishing. The reason being a lack of fishable shore-access points that are available to the public. Trust me; there are a ton of Carp in Lake Scugog. It’s getting to them that’s the tough part. 


Recently, I got a call from Will Muschett, a Carp-fishing fanatic from Peterborough, Ontario. He told me he had access to some great Lake Scugog Carp water. This very much interested me. Will and I shot a past Fish’n Canada episode while fishing for Carp on the Otonabee River with great success—so my confidence in him finding fish and then executing tactics was high.

We ended up fishing the property of Lawrence Bendandi, a local angler that lives on Lake Scugog and is now catering to traveling Carp anglers. He rents out accommodations to Carpers and let me tell you: It’s an outstanding location and the perfect property for this type of fishing.

Will had most of the fishing gear set up when the camera crew and I arrived. (I like that; well done, Will.) So all we had to do was start catching Carp.

Within minutes the bite alarms were chirping off, and we had the start of an amazing day. When Lawrence was around, we would run three rods. When he had to leave, we’d simply pull one out and run only two. That’s the beauty of setting up rod pods. I’m always amazed by how simple-yet-complex Carp fishing is. After all, you just cast out your line and wait, right? Technically yes, that is the way it’s done. However, there is so much more to it. Carp experts have so many little tricks up their sleeves that it always leaves me speechless and boggled.


For this day’s fishing, Will fed the area with a special mix to attract the Carp to the area in front of Lawrence’s place. He then cast the hook-baits out to the same general area. Pop-up boilies were the bait of choice, set up on a little pop-up rig called a Withy Pool (Will taught me that one).

Let me explain to you what a boilie is. It’s a simple round ball of boiled paste, normally made with grains, certain proteins, fishmeal and eggs (binding agent) and then boiled to form round bait-balls. They are used as both hook baits and attractor baits (no hook involved). The flavours are endless.

Getting back to our bait setup, Will had us set up with pop-up Withy Pool rigs. In this configuration, the boilies are held in place by a tiny screw on the back of a specialty hook (pictured above). The more typical type of rig is called a Hair Rig. They both work extremely well in that the bait and the hook are separate from each other. So when a Carp sucks in the boilie and hook, it suddenly feels the bare hook with its sensitive mouth, then spits everything out and, in the process, the hook sticks the flesh on the way out. It’s brilliant!


As for the remainder of the day’s fishing, it was nothing short of outstanding. The Carp bit consistently throughout the day with a couple of them being in the mid- to high-20 lb range. Not giants, but who cares? I don’t, that’s for sure. Catching any species of fish from 10 to 20-plus pounds all day long is a blast!


Carp fishing is a fantastic way to get kids involved in our great sport. Whether it’s catching the fish or simply helping to net, feeding with the catapult (slingshot), or taking videos and photos with their phones (trust me, they are better than most adults at that one), they all love it once they’re involved. On this trip, Lawrence had his young son Victor and his fishing-fanatic friend and neighbour Tyler.


Will tied into a small Carp with a BIG attitude. The entire fight—until we saw the fish, of course—reeked of a giant. It was back and forth in front of the dock numerous times with many drag-stripping moments. The highlight of that fight (and possibly the day) was when this little tugger forced Will to run the shoreline over to the neighbours’ dock. Here, he had to fight the fish from the opposite side of where we started, then follow the fish with the rod under the dock (he handed the rod to me as it was impossible to do by himself), and then finally landed the little speed demon. Here’s a glimpse of some of the great footage we caught of the struggle:


Another strange happening was when I set hooks into a gorgeous fish but, upon closer inspection, we noticed a weird shape in its body which we quickly deemed to be a broken back from a long time ago. The fish literally had a small S-curve towards the tail end of its body. As a joke, I said to Will and the cameraman that with that curve the fish must swim in circles. As sure as Carp have big soft lips, upon its release, our S-curved Carp swam a complete 360-degree circle before it took off to deeper water. Sometimes clowning and joking around makes me look like a genius!

Subscribe to our official YouTube channel and stay tuned for the full online-exclusive episode coming soon… 


Since I rarely get out Carp fishing in a typical fishing season, trips like this one really do up my all-around knowledge of fishing in general. Multi-species, many tactics, variable water bodies, etc. I’ve never hidden the fact that I, too (like the average angler who doesn’t know much about Carp), didn’t give a damn about Carp in my younger days. That has changed drastically, however. Once you catch your first Carp or two on a dedicated Carp-fishing rig, I honestly believe you, too, will make the big changeover in your mind and add this hard-pulling, muscle-bound, oddly-gorgeous fish species onto your hit list.


Remember, the Ontario Fishing Regulations (including a fishing license) need to be adhered to even when Carp Fishing. The more you go Carp fishing, the more you will want (and need) Carp-specific fishing tackle:

  • Carp Fishing Net
  • Carp Fishing Rod and Reel
  • Bank Sticks or Rod Pod
  • Boilies or Sweet Corn are the deal
  • Hair Rigs and Pop-up Rigs
  • A lot of Carp anglers go overnight camping in their “bivvies.”

One Reply to “Lake Scugog Carp”

  1. Lake Scugog is a very interesting phenomenon of geographical semmetry. The aquatic life as a result, even more so to the average angler. This no doubt would explain Pete Bowman’s euphoric display.

    The name of this artificially flooded lake may originate from an Ojibwe word meaning “marshy waters”. However, according to Place Names of Ontario by Alan Rayburn, Scugog is a Mississauga word meaning ‘waves leap over a canoe’ in reference, perhaps, to the flooding of the river valley, or more likely, the quickness that waves can be whipped up in winds, owing to its shallowness.

    With 68 km² and an average depth of 1.4 metres (greatest depth 7.6 m.), Lake Scugog is amongst the largest five lakes of the Kawarthas by surface area. It is also the shallowest.

    It is a hard-water “marl”-producing lake and the lake bottom consists of deep deposits of it. This gives the lake a murky appearance in warm weather, especially during the summer. The lake is reportedly filling in with this marl by about 1 millimetre per year.

    Marl or marlstone is a calcium carbonate or lime-rich mud or mudstone which contains variable amounts of clays and silt. The term is today often used to describe indurated marine deposits and lacustrine (lake) sediments which more accurately should be named ‘marlstone’.

    In dry summer weather, the Scugog River ceases to flow out of the lake, and its tributary streams of Mariposa Brook and East Cross Creek flow backward into the lake via the river to offset the high evaporative losses off the lake and marsh surfaces.

    Lake Scugog, especially the West side, is considered a “eutrophic” lake in that it has, because of its age and other factors, an excess of the nutrients nitrogen and phosphorus. This is true more so on the shallow west arm of the lake than the east arm. The east arm can reach depths of up to 23 ft. and does not receive as much urban run off. Because of the excess of nutrients, its shallow nature and its generally soft lake bottom, Lake Scugog has many aquatic plants.

    Since Lake Scugog is rich in nutrients, it is to be expected that it will produce algae. There are hundreds of different kinds of algae in Lake Scugog. Some are present only at particular times of the year. They are critically important to life in lake’s ecosystem. They are the basis of the food chain because they take the energy from the sun and turn it into a form that can be used by higher forms of life in the lake such as bugs, crayfish and fish.

    The most common form of algae in the lake is filamentous. These stringy types start out in early spring either free floating as shown or attached to surfaces of plant material. Later they detach and rise to the surface where they are transported to shorelines to form large mats.

    Wait a minute! Are filamentous algae unhealthy? Actually they are not. Most filamentous green algae do not produce toxins that are harmful to humans. The algae thrive on nutrients that have washed into the water. Excessive growth of algae may indicate that there are other pollutants that also have been washed into the water. If the source of nutrients is pet, animal or bird waste, it is likely that bacteria and other pathogens are living on the algae mats.

    Algal growth serves as Nature’s way of capturing nutrients and contaminants. Having some algae in the water helps to capture contaminants and protect water quality. The clumps are unsightly, but they are not themselves a threat to your health.

    Here is a marine chart of Lake Scugog. Just scroll in and out to bring up all the fish attracting details of this “Jewel in the Crown of Scugog”!

    Okay Pete! Your secret is out!

Leave a Reply

Back to top