Lake Simcoe Early Season Bass Fishing

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Pete holding a Lake Simcoe Bass

About two weeks after the Bass opener in Southern Ontario, Steve Niedzwiecki and I decided to do a little 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!


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” Yamamoto Senko 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.


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

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.

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