Pete holding a Lake Simcoe Bass

Early Season Bass Fishing

About two weeks after the Bass opener in Southern Ontario, Steve Niedzwiecki and I decided to do a little fishncanada.com and Fish’n Canada YouTube work and, since the forecast was dead flat and calm for the following day, we picked Lake Simcoe as our playground.

Lake Simcoe is a beast of a lake, but it’s full of beast Smallmouth Bass as well. These were our high-hope targets. As most of you know, though, smallies can be ignorant, almost defiant little buggers. Catching them can be a chore.

I should add right now that this was one of the first trips we’ve made with our new GARMIN LAKEVU G3 ULTRA CANADA mapping cards. What an improvement over anything we’ve used in the past. Although we pretty much knew where we wanted to fish, we were enamoured with this new layout of the lake in front of our eyes. Awesome!

FISHING LAKE SIMCOE

We started by checking out a couple of the many well-known shoals on the lake. By throwing fast baits like a hard jerkbait, with the clear water of Simcoe, seeing followers is inevitable. If they follow, you’ll see them.

The first shoal we hit had a few decent sized fish around the center point, but nothing substantial. There are days on the big lake where schools of three to six smallies will drive you nuts, swimming around the boat—honestly!

The second shoal literally had zero fish show themselves. So it was time to change the game.

The next step was to do a complete pattern switch and hit some shallow pencil reeds. I’ve seen this cover save the day on many occasions. The first patch we checked out had no fish in it, but I wasn’t discouraged. The next patch had a couple of small Largemouth in it; a start. The next patch had a gorgeous Largemouth in it which I thought was a Smallmouth at first glance. I cast an unweighted 4” soft stick bait rigged weedless in there, gave it a couple of shakes, and thump—she sucked ‘er right in. After a beauty (yet subdued) hookset, a rewarding largie swam into the net.

I said subdued hookset because I was using spinning gear with straight 20 lb braided line. When you are fishing reeds and you have less than “crane-like” gear, braid becomes a very smart option. Use short casts to keep the hooked fish under control and usually they can be coaxed into a net. Big smallies, however? That’s a different story.

Speaking of smallies, I did get a decent one to go on that day as well. Certainly not a giant, but it was satisfying considering I was using light line and I did go into the reeds with Smallmouth as my primary target and Largemouth as a secondary “hopeful” catch.

BACK TO THE SMALLIE SEARCH

After we had our success shooting a bunch of “digital fish” in the reeds, we decided to again hit the main lake looking for those world-class Smallmouth Bass. We checked out the big Woodsman flat off Thorah Island but only saw small fish.

We then drove around to the Beaverton area and Steve caught a couple of gorgeous smallies; one off a channel marker buoy and the other off an old log that was embedded into the sandy Simcoe bottom.

We ended the day near Fox and Snake Islands where Steve spotted and stalked a giant smallie. After a brief chase, he set the hook into a nasty drag-puller. Man, we thought it was the smallie of smallies, but it ended up being a dirty ol’ Pike that was somehow in an area he shouldn’t have been.

We laughed our butts off and headed back to the launch.

Hopefully, you enjoy the footage!

Pete Bowman

2 Replies to “Early Season Bass Fishing”

  1. Whether you are a member of the Sons of Fishes organization or a transgressor in the Bad Basses gang, the hogs of Lake Simcoe seem to draw in a substantial array of motorized mayhem. Rods, reels and lures flailing relentlessly in an all out turf war between man and Bass. Neither one willing to relent their territorial claim. Such is the case in this latest battle between Pete Bowman, Steve Niedzwiecki and the notorious Micropterus Dolomieu.

    The Lake Simcoe club house we are dealing with in Southern Ontario is a well know hideout for many of these gill-bearing aquatic craniate to hole up. Wanted. Posters and Mug Shots have gone up all over the area!

    WANTED :

    Name : Bass
    Size : Huge! A real lunker.
    Last seen : Swimming of with most of my gear in his lip.
    Wanted for : Eluding my boat and resisting being caught.
    Caution : If you apprehend him, please release him so I can catch him again. He’s mine !!!

    Attention : Details of the latest constabulary report have just come across my desk.

    Smallmouth Bass a.k.a Bronzebacks, frequent rocky shorelines, points, drop-offs and hang around any one of Simcoe’s productive islands. Crayfish-colored crankbaits, topwaters, spinnerbaits and jigs are all proven lures for apprehending Simcoe’s notoriously big smallies. This lake has become a world-class trophy smallmouth destination thanks to the majority of anglers who voluntarily allow those extraordinary 4-7 pound bass to remain on the lam. These brutes then continue to reproduce, offering other anglers the incredible thrill of apprehending the smallmouth of a lifetime.

    The Smallmouth’s partner in crime, the Largemouth bass, also offers up exceptional turf wars. These bass can be found in weedier areas, pencil reeds, near docks, stumps and other structures in the lake. Other club members such as Panfish, Crappie, Sunfish, Rock Bass and Bullhead Catfish will intrigue young anglers during the summer months of July and August.

    Special Notice : All Simcoe Anglers Are Asked To Look Out For Tagged Bass !

    If anglers happen to apprehend a tagged bass, they are asked to call the phone number on the tags as soon as possible and report to the authorities the tag numbers and colour as well as the size of the fish, the location on the lake it was caught, its overall condition and if they allowed the fish to escape the back into the lake.

    In the meantime remember, whether you are a pro angler or a weekend fishing fanatic, the future of fishing is in your hands. Please practice apprehension and release to ensure these gill-bearing aquatic craniate remain on the lam and holed up in Lake Simcoe for future generations.

  2. When Conservationists develop a severe case of paranoia, common sense flies right out the window. The “Invasive Species” mantra, the go to panic button prognostication, seems to be the call of their wild and woolly thought process. Eradication of a species at the first sign of Mother Natures shadenfreude.

    Latest reports coming out of New Brunswick has raised the alarm of Smallmouth Bass taking up residence in the Miramichi River. Their main concern, smallmouth bass feed on young salmon.

    The following article will indicate how far these people are willing to go to twist and manipulate any and all natural processes. Just one more indication of trying to solve one problem and creating another.
    https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/new-brunswick/fish-invasive-smallmouth-bass-conservation-wild-atlantic-salmon-1.5260194

    It seems man will never cease in his selfish and foolish attempt to lord it over God’s creation.

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