Top 5 Canadian Bass Lakes

MANITOBA (HONOURABLE MENTION)

To be honest, I’ve only fished for bass in the province of Manitoba once during my entire fishing career. (Angelo and Reno have hit the province more, always with great success.) I’ve heard there are lots of Smallmouth throughout the province—and some big ones to boot. It’s most definitely an area for Ang and me to explore in the future.

The one and only Manitoba bass lake for me was called Bradley Lake. It’s not a big lake from what I remember. But once we dialled in the smallies, that little lake put out some big Smallmouth Bass! It had all of the crucial elements: shallow weeds, healthy weed flats in the mid-depth range, and a vast amount of deep water and bluff rock walls.

Steep Rock Bluffs of Bradley Lake, Manitoba
Manitoba’s Bradley Lake has lots of steep rock bluffs like this throughout the body of water.

Bradley is located east of The Pas, Manitoba. It certainly does not grab the fame and glory of the province’s most prominent fishing waters like Lake Winnipeg, Gods Lake, Lake of the Prairies, Dauphin Lake or the Winnipeg River, but those are sizable waterbodies that produce large numbers of multiple species annually.

Like Peanut Butter and Jam

Back in the day, when we visited Bradley Lake, we certainly were not the smallie anglers we are today. Time builds experience. Also, Senkos, swimbaits, weight-shifting suspending jerkbaits, creatures, etc. were not even thought about yet. It was crankbaits, spinnerbaits, floating minnow baits, curly-tailed worms, jigs and so on. Lots of choices, mind you, but still not like today. That said, the two baits that shone—and still would to this day—were tube jigs and topwaters, with the latter producing big time.

Smallies and topwater baits are like peanut butter and jam. They work perfectly together. If you find yourself in the right situation (usually calm, clear water), make sure you tie on a popper, walking bait or a prop bait. It’s always worth a few casts and if you get hit, you’re hooked as much as the fish is!

Of course, with all great fishing memories comes the “not-so-great” ones. Bradley is also the place where Ang stuck himself in the shin with one of those nasty little Pop R Excalibur trebles. He seemed to be on a self-hooking roll back in those days. Thankfully, he finally to grew out of it!

 

 

26 Responses

  1. Hey! What y’all all talkin’, homey? You sayin’ the “Top 5 Canadian Bass Lakes” hangin’ parallel to Angelo’s recent and very smokin’ bass piece is the only thing goin’ down north of the 49th. parallel ? Well, how ’bout I lays one on ya, kinda perpendicular like?

    Ya’ll forgot about the most “Top Secret Canadian Bass Lake” in these parts. Yup, I talkin’ the prestigious and prolific BASS LAKE itself up on Manitoulin Island in Ontario Canada. Yeah that’s the name, BASS LAKE! You ain’t seen nothin’ until you sample the bonanza of this watery oasis.

    There’s more to Bass Lake than bass. The lake boasts a surprising variety of species, as well as a unique mix of terrain and tradition.

    Located just west of the village of Sheguiandah, Bass Lake indeed has bass, both large mouth and small mouth. But it also has Pike, Pickerel, Perch, Blue Gill, and most remarkably: Muskellunge. It is, in fact, Manitoulin’s only inland lake to support the coveted game fish, famous for its feistiness and size.

    The north shore of the lake is checkered with farms, some still operated by the same families who settled here well over a century ago. Broad green fields roll lazily back from the shoreline towards a limestone bluff, and tractors, in the summer months, chug slowly across them, cutting the first hay of the summer.

    The south shore, by contrast, is densely wooded, mostly uninhabited, and punctuated, in two places, by striking outcroppings of white quartzite. These peaks, along with a similar outcropping in the village of Sheguiandah, where an ancient quarry was discovered in the 1950’s, represent the only examples of this stark granitic landscape to be found on Manitoulin Island.

    Most of the south shore is owned by Sheguiandah First Nation, members of whom continue to utilize the land in the same manner as their ancestors. “There is still some medicine that we get from there,” notes Noman Aguonie, “and we have a sugar bush that has been used for generations.” In the spring, First Nation families boil sap in a cast iron pot suspended over a fire. The sugar bush is also noteworthy for harboring a monster maple that was deemed the largest on Manitoulin in the early 1990’s when the late Grant Garrett and the Manitoulin Nature Club held a biggest tree contest.

    If there was a biggest fish contest, Bass Lake would probably figure as well: Mike Sprack of Manitowaning once caught a 36-pound muskie here, and about 25 years ago, Kirby Burnett reeled in a 28-pounder while fishing with his cousin Amy Burnett. Mr. Burnett’s behemoth stretched four feet in length, a third the length of the 12-foot rowboat he was fishing from. To land it, Mr. Burnett says he “hit it over the head with the paddle.”

    The Burnett family goes back five generations on Bass Lake. Kirby’s uncle Blake Burnett still farms the property that was settled by his great-grandparents in 1875. The farmer doesn’t fish much himself, being generally busy with his beef cattle operation. Yes, Bass Lake itself might look tame and peaceful, but the surrounding hills remain fairly wild. Mr. Burnett has seen many bears and once, several years ago now, a pair of moose. For anyone who travels Northern Ontario, a moose is not an unusual sight, of course, but it’s highly unusual for Manitoulin. “Those were the first ones I ever saw anywhere on the Island,” Mr. Burnett notes.

    Muskie are unusual for the Island too, but they thrive here in Bass Lake. Mr. Sprack has spent many pleasurable evenings on Bass Lake. Many, many evenings. “Through the latter part of the ‘70s and all of the ‘80s, I would spend four to five nights a week at Bass Lake,” he says. “It’s a beautiful little lake and puts out a lot of muskie for its size. It’s deceptive, looking at it.” Just a mile and a quarter long, Bass Lake doesn’t look like it would support many muskie, but it reaches depths of 40-feet-plus, according to Mr. Sprack, and “it’s a basin lake, with no shoals. Basically, you can run around it all day and not hit any rocks.

    Muskie have frequented the lake for decades. Cliff Lewis, an old-timer with whom Mr. Sprack spoke at one time, “told me that they’d been here in this lake for as long as he could remember, and he fished in the 1930s. Mr. Sprack concedes that fingerlings were stocked in the 1970s, but he describes it as a “reintroduction, a way to strengthen the gene pool. I find it hard to believe that they would have stocked muskie prior to the 1930s.”

    His assumption is that the muskie “migrated up the creek (Bass Lake Creek, which runs from the lake to Sheguiandah Bay) before it was damned.” Now, in summer months anyway, the creek is not much more than a trickle, but conveying muskie up from the big water wasn’t its only function in the old days. It once powered three mills, a grist mill, a sawmill and a woolen mill.

    “The grist mill was at the headwaters of the creek, where it leaves Bass Lake,” a local historian says, “It was torn down (in 1958) when they were working on Highway 6. The late Alec Murray, who lived just west of the creek outlet on Bass Lake, and whose family operated Manitoulin Gardens, a fresh produce and flower business, for many years, said it’s a real shame that the mill was torn down. “It was three storeys, with a log frame. It could’ve been a real tourist attraction.

    Tourists should still be attracted to Bass Lake, though, Anglers, especially, will enjoy testing its waters, for muskie, of course, but also for bass or perch or pickerel, or for pike, the muskie’s cousin. Just make sure you know the difference. Mr. Sprack notes that muskie and pike are often confused, and since there is a minimum size requirement for muskie, 32 inches, this can be a problem because a person might land a smaller fish they believe is a pike, when it’s really a muskie.

    The Sudbury chapter of Muskie Canada has recently posted an identification sign at the Bass Lake public boat launch, located at the end of Russell Street, near the intersection of Highway 6 and the Townline Road. It gets a bit complicated, since pike and muskellunge can cross-breed, but Mr. Sprack stresses that the hybrid is still considered a muskie, and it’s pretty easy to tell the difference: pike have white spots, but neither muskie nor hybrid muskie do.

    If fishing isn’t your scene, there are other ways to experience Bass Lake, notably an excellent hiking trails: the “Lewis Twin Peaks Trail”, leaves from a pullover spot on the west side of Highway 6, just south of the bridge over Bass Lake Creek. Named for the access it provides to the two quartzite peaks that loom above the lake’s southeast shore (as opposed to the creepy, short-lived David Lynch TV series of the same name) this two-kilometre trail is well worth experiencing.

    Another, admittedly lazier, option is to simply drive along the Townline Road. Doing so, you’ll see the lake spreading out to the south, its surface shimmering in the sun, a fishing boat or two (or, more rarely, 10) relieved against the rippled water.

    There are interesting buildings to see too, such as the Quonset hut (now a residence) that used to be Sheguiandah hockey arena (and home of the Sheg Bears, a team that apparently won a few trophies in its day), and the old Howland municipal building, which used to be a schoolhouse. The late John Dunlop, who lived on the south side of nearby Pike Lake, used to drive a horse and cutter across the lake in winter to reach the school, and members of the Atkinson clan were known to skate across on occasion.

    While driving, or hiking, or fishing around Bass Lake, expect more than the obvious. Bass Creek, where it runs out of the lake that gives it its name and down to Sheguiandah Bay, was completely rehabilitated as a walleye/ pickerel spawning ground a few years ago by the Little Current Fish and Game Club and the Island wide environment organization, Manitoulin Streams. Rocks were placed “just so” in the water to slow down the current and to make the way easier for spawning fish to fight their way up stream. The creek was designed for pickerel but other spawning fishy species find the improvements useful too in their reproductive lives.

    Significant tourist attractions just downstream are the reproduction Batman’s Mill (on historic grist mill recreated and a real photo-op for visitors) and nearby Bass Creek is a raised viewing platform that provides a fish eye view up and down the stream with all of its underwater improvements within view. In the spring, you can also watch the spawning pickerel/ walleye making use of these man-made improvements as they rush to reproduce.

    So, what y’all talkin’ about Homey?! Bass Lake up on Manitoulin Island is certainly one of “The Top 5 Canadian Bass Lakes” —- make that 6 on Highway 6!

    1. Well Cal, yet another epic response that I have to thank you for. I have only fished the island once and I loved it. Great fishing, great atmosphere.

      Am I to assume that Bass Lake has a public launch (sounded like that in your post)? You talked a bunch about the long, lean fish but not much about the subject at hand, the ones with the mouth descriptions in their names.

      BTW y’all’ there ain’t no Pickerel that I’ve heard up there, but they-all’ have a good brood of Walleye!!!

      1. Well, it is not much of a public boat launch at the end of Russell Street, but it will get you in the water. Lots of Large Mouth and Small Mouth Bass in Bass Lake. Actually too many to mention or even count accurately. I have seen first hand people limiting out on all species in just an hour or so. The so called “Grand Slam”. As for Pickerel, they definitely there in abundance. Bass Lake receives very low fishing pressure, so the varieties of fish are very prolific.

  2. Some great fishing spots for bass and Canada has some of the best fishing ing the world in many species but I think bass is the big one when you I include small mouth and big mouth. Living in Alberta for the past 45 years I miss the bass fishing when I was in Ontario I fished with my grandfather a lotto and he unloved bass fishing so we fished sepimcoe summer and winter along with the rivers and for me it was the walleye fishing in the Ottawa river and red cedar lake system in the north , not much for bass fishing here in Alberta but the walleye and pike fishing is good another great show and I enjoyed it immensely thanks pete

Leave a Reply

Top 5 Canadian Bass Lakes

THE GREAT ONTARIO GET-AWAY GIVE-AWAY

OFFICIAL MONTHLY CONTEST RULES

NO PURCHASE OF ANY KIND IS NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN.

 

  1. SPONSORS:  The Great Ontario Getaway Giveaway, also referred to as (GOGG) or (the Contest) or (the “Contests”) is sponsored by Fish’n Canada Ltd, Destination Northern Ontario and Nature and Outdoor Tourism Ontario.
  2. ENTRANTS: There are 3 ways to play the GOGG. As a contestant, as a voter or as both.
  3. HOW TO ENTER AS A CONTESTANT: The GOGG is a series of Photo/Video monthly contests. You can enter by navigating to fishncanada.com website and follow the link to the Great Ontario Getaway Giveaway contest page. For this Contest, receipt of an internet entry occurs when fishncanada.com servers record the entry information. Entry information includes, but not limited to, a photo or 60 second video submission, a short 300-character story and personal data such as name, address, phone number and email address. All entries must be complete and are subject to verification by the Sponsors, and in their sole discretion can accept  or refuse any such entries. Limit 1 Photo/Video entry per monthly contest. By entering the contest, you agree to receive emails from the “Sponsors” about but not limited to News, Offers, Tips and other promotional materials. You understand that you can unsubscribe at any time by clicking ‘UNSUBSCRIBE FROM THIS LIST’.

 

  1. HOW TO ENTER AS A VOTER: You can enter by navigating to fishncanada.com website and follow the link to the Great Ontario Getaway Giveaway contest page. For this Contest, receipt of a vote occurs when fishncanada.com servers record the entry information. Entry information includes, but not limited to, a vote for a particular contestant and your personal data such as name, address, phone number and email address.  All votes are subject to verification by the Sponsors, and in their sole discretion can accept  or refuse any such vote. Maximum votes per day is 5 with a 1 vote per day per contestant limit. Voters can enter 5 new votes each 24-hour period for the duration of the contests. Each vote will be converted to a ballot which will be accumulated throughout the GOGG contests and count towards the Grand Finale draw. By entering the contest, you agree to receive emails from the “Sponsors” about but not limited to News, Offers, Tips and other promotional materials. You understand that you can unsubscribe at any time by clicking ‘UNSUBSCRIBE FROM THIS LIST’.
  2. ELIGIBILITY: GOGG is open to legal residents of Canada who have reached the age of majority in their province or territory of residence at the time of entry, with the exception of employees of the Sponsors, related and affiliated companies, subsidiaries, departments or agencies, franchisees, suppliers, advertising and promotional agencies, contest administrators, and any other parties engaged in the development, production or distribution of Contest materials and those living in the same household.  By participating in this Contest, entrants acknowledge compliance with, and agree to be bound by, these Contest Rules.  Entrants who do not comply with any of the Contest Rules are subject to disqualification by the Sponsors, in the Sponsor’s sole discretion. Prize winners are only eligible to win 1 (one) prize for the duration of the contests. Once an entrant is selected as a segment winner, they are not eligible to win a contest prize again.
  3. CONTEST DATES AND TIMES: The contests begin on April 1st, 2021 at 3:00pm EST and end on August 31st. 2021 at 3:00pm EST after which time the contest will be closed and no further entries shall be accepted.

 

  1. CAUSE FOR DISQUALIFICATION: Any attempt or suspected attempt to use robotic, automatic, programmed, or otherwise, illicit means to enter the Contest, or any other methods not authorized by these Contest Rules, for example, but not limited to, creating multiple accounts, identities, or registrations, all in the Sponsor’s sole discretion, shall be deemed as tampering and may disqualify you from entering, participating and/or winning a prize.  Entries that contain false or incomplete information are void.  Entries that are late, lost, stolen, illegible, contain false information, are damaged, misdirected, mutilated, garbled or incomplete, altered or otherwise irregular or that do not conform with or satisfy any or all of the conditions of the Contest Rules are void.  Entrants grant Sponsor a non-exclusive license to use all entries for any purpose.  No correspondence will be entered into except with selected entrants.  Proof of transmission (screenshots or captures, etc.) does not constitute proof of entry or receipt of an entry.

 

  1. CONTEST PRIZES: consists of an all-expense paid trip for two to a northern Ontario lodge/resort. These trips will include accommodations, all meals and select nonalcoholic beverages along with boats, motors live bait and guiding services (where available). If the selected lodge does not offer some or any of these amenities they will not apply and may be substituted with other amenities. In the case of a fly-in destination this trip may also include transportation from a predetermined starting point (hub) to the selected lodge/resort and back again. All expense paid does not include costs of travel from the winners starting point to the predetermined hub. All expense paid does not include alcoholic beverages or Ontario fishing license. Prizes are none transferable and must be accepted as awarded and have no cash value.  Prizes or any portion thereof cannot be combined with other discounts, promotions or special offers.  Sponsor reserves the right to substitute an alternate prize of equal or greater value if an advertised prize is unavailable at time of award.

 

  1. ODDS OF WINNING: The odds of winning the Grand Finale draw prizes is dependent  on the number of eligible votes/ballots submitted before the Contest End Date. The more qualified ballots a contestant or voter enters into the virtual random draw increases the odds of winning.

 

  1. SKILL TESTING QUESTION: Winning Contestants and winning Voters will be required, as a condition to winning a Prize, to correctly answer, without assistance of any kind, a skill testing question.

 

  1. WINNER SELECTION AND CONFIRMATION: 5 Winning Contestants will be declared each month starting April 30th at 3pm EST on the fishncanada.com site. Subsequent Winning Contestants will be announced on fishncanada.com site and social media array. Winners are declared based on total votes they receive for the month. Top 5 vote getters will win the monthly prizes. In the event of a tie the tie breaker will be based on the time the winning vote was cast and will bump the loosing Entrant down one position in the standings or in the case of a tie for the fifth spot the loosing Entrant will be knocked out of the top 5 and not be eligible for a prize.  

 

After the final monthly segment and all 25 Winning Contestants have been determined based on votes, all accumulated votes and entries from all segments, excluding the 25 monthly Winning Contestants, will be converted into ballots and will go into a virtual drum from which additional prize winners will be drawn, these additional prize winners are called Selected Winners.  The Sponsor, or an employee, agent or other representative of the Sponsor, will conduct a virtual drum random draw from all eligible entries and select the Grand Finale winners.  The Grand Finale winners or Selected Winners will be deemed winners if they meet all the eligibility criteria set out in these Contest Rules.  If a Grand Finale winner does not meet the eligibility criteria, he/she will be disqualified and will not receive a prize and another entrant will be selected by way of a random virtual drum draw from the remaining eligible entries.  Before being declared an official winner, a Grand Finale winner will be required to: (i) sign and return the Sponsor’s Declaration of Eligibility and Liability/Publicity Release form; and (ii) comply with all other Contest Rules, all in the sole discretion of Sponsor.

The Winning Contestants of the monthly segments and the Selected Winners of the Grand Finale Prize of the GOGG will be notified within one (1) business day of the official declaration of their win via telephone number and/or email address provided at the time of entry into the Contest. In the Sponsor’s sole discretion, up to three attempts will be made within 36 hours following the draw.  A prize winner that does not or cannot respond and accept the Prize within this predetermined time frame will forfeit their win and therefore will not be eligible to receive the prize. The Sponsor’s signed release form must be received by Sponsor no later than 2 days following receipt of the release form. The  Sponsor is not responsible for the failure for any reason whatsoever of a Selected or Winning Contestant  to receive notification or for the Sponsor to receive a response. All winners assume any and all liability for any injury or damage caused, or claimed to be caused, by entering, participating in this promotion or use or redemption of a prize.

  1. DISPUTES REGARDING IDENTITY OF ENTRANT: If the identity of a Selected Entrant is disputed, the entry will be deemed to have been submitted by the Authorized Account Holder (the individual assigned to the e-mail address or, if applicable for entry, social media handle associated with the entry).  Each Selected Entrant may be required to provide proof that he/she is the Authorized Account Holder associated with the selected entry.

 

  1. RELEASE AND INDEMNIFICATION: The winner must sign the Sponsor’s Declaration of Eligibility and Liability/Publicity Release form to: (i) confirm compliance with the Contest Rules; (ii) agree to accept the prize as awarded; (iii) release, discharge and hold harmless the Sponsor, its departments and agencies, parent, related and affiliated companies, subsidiaries, franchisees, advertising and promotional agencies, counsel, marketing partners, and each of their respective directors, officers, employees, shareholders, successors, sponsors, partners, licensees, subsidiaries, agents, artists, advisors, assignees, and all others associated with the administration, development and execution of the Contest (the “Released Parties”) from and against any and all manner of action, cause of action, claim or demand, loss or injury, use or misuse of a prize or any travel related thereto, and the use of the Entry by the Sponsor, suit, debt, covenant, contract, including legal fees and expenses, whatsoever, including but not limited to, claims based on negligence, breach of contract and fundamental breach, failure of any third party contractor or supplier used in connection with any aspect of the Contest to perform or deliver any goods or services, any act of God or any other event beyond the Released Parties’ control, any dissatisfaction of any kind by a winner with any aspect of the Contest or any prize, liability for physical injury, death, or property damage which the entrants, guests, their heirs, successors or assigns have, might have or could have suffered, by reason of or arising out of the entrant’s participation in the Contest and/or in connection with the acceptance and/or exercise by the entrant of the Prize as awarded; and (iv) indemnify the Released Parties against any loss, damage or expense, including legal fees, that any of the Released Parties may suffer or incur as a result of any non-compliance by an entrant with any of the Contest Rules or participation in the Contest and/or in connection with the acceptance and/or exercise by an entrant of a prize and the use of the Entry by Sponsor.

 

  1. THE SPONSOR IS NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR: (i) incorrect or inaccurate entry information which may affect a person’s ability to participate in the Contest or be awarded a prize, including but not limited to human error, technical malfunctions, lost or delayed entries for any reason, mail failures, omission, or any combination thereof, and entries which fail to fully comply with these Contest Rules; (ii) technical failures of any kind, including, but not limited to malfunctions, interruptions, or disconnections in phone lines or network hardware or software; (iii) lost, incomplete, delayed, mutilated or misdirected entries or Declaration and Release forms; (iv) injury or damage to the entrant’s computer or to any other individual’s computer related to or resulting from participating in, or downloading any material regarding the Contest or accepting a prize; (v) any injury or damage to persons or property which may be caused, directly or indirectly, in whole or in part, from entrant’s participation in the Contest or receipt or use or misuse of any prize, including any travel related thereto and the use of the Entry by Sponsor; (vi) the security or privacy of information transmitted via computer networks or for breaches of privacy due to interference by third party computer “hackers” or otherwise; or (vii) late, lost, misdirected or unsuccessful efforts to notify a potential winner.

 

  1. OTHER CONDITIONS:  The Sponsor reserves the right to terminate or amend this Contest at any time and in any way, without prior notice.  Without limiting the foregoing, if, for any reason, the Contest is not capable of running as originally planned for any reason, the Sponsor reserves the right to cancel the Contest and conduct a random draw from all previously received eligible entries received by the Contest End Date.

 

  1. PUBLICITY AND ENTRANT INFORMATION: By participating in the Contest, entrant consent to the use of their name, address, postal code, telephone number, social media handles, comments, and image, whether on videotape, photograph or any other means, for the administration of this Contest or any publicity carried out by the Sponsor, without further notice or compensation.

 

 

 

 

  1. LAW: The Contest is void where prohibited by law and is subject to all applicable Canadian federal, provincial, territorial, municipal and local laws. This Contest shall be governed exclusively by the laws of the province of Ontario including all issues and questions concerning the construction, validity, interpretation and enforceability of these Contest Rules, rights and obligations between entrants and the Sponsor, and procedural provisions, without giving effect to any choice of law or conflict of law rules.  Any dispute shall be adjudicated by the courts sitting in Oshawa, Ontario.

This contest is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with

              Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube, Pinterest, LinkedIn or Google.

             The participants understand that it is providing information solely to the sponsors of the   

             GOGG contest and Fishncanada.com

 

  1. RULE AMENDMENTS: The Sponsor reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to amend  

             or modify these Contest Rules, or modify, cancel or suspend this Contest, without prior

             notice for any reason whatsoever, including without limitation in the event that any cause

             beyond the reasonable control of the Sponsor corrupts, or threatens to corrupt, the

             security or proper administration of the Contest.

 

             INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY: All intellectual property, including but not limited to

             trademarks, logos, designs, promotional materials, web pages, source codes, images,

             drawings, illustrations, slogans and representations are owned by the Sponsor.  All rights

             are reserved.  Unauthorized copying or use of any copyrighted material or other

             intellectual property without the express written consent of the Sponsor is strictly

             prohibited.  The Sponsor’s marketing or other partners, if any, shall also have access to

             and rights to reproduce, copy or otherwise use any materials generated by this Contest or

             any submissions or materials generated by entrants.

             © Fish’n Canada 2021.  All Rights Reserved.