Episode 534: The Return to Hastie Lake

This Fish’n Canada episode was by far Pete’s most anticipated “I can’t wait for it” trip of the year. 

No, it wasn’t about humongous, heavy current White Sturgeon, it wasn’t about giant fly-in Pike and Lake Trout, it wasn’t a shot at a late fall massive Striper, and it wasn’t a crack at a 1000-pound Tuna.

Believe it or not, it was about a tiny little Bass lake that’s kinda hard to get to.

Since Largemouth and Smallmouth Bass are Pete’s absolute favourite fish to target… this was the perfect trip for him!

The lake is called Hastie and we’ve been here before… and that’s the reason for Pete’s excitement.

During our past shoots here, we’ve always come up with not only tons of fish, but some absolute tanks as well.

Joining Pete on this shoot was good buddy and Fish’n Canada co-host Steve Niedzwiecki. He too is a Bass nut, so collectively our boys planned on having a blast.

Here’s an example of what we’ve pulled out of Hastie Lake in the past. As you can see, Ang loves this lake as well!

Flying In

The iconic De Havilland Beaver

One of the reasons that we believe Hastie Lake is so good is because it’s a fly-in destination, accessed only by Lauzon Aviation. That helps a small lake from being over-pressured. The beauty of this particular fly-in is, it’s only about a 5-6 minute flight. 

Up, over, and down… no wasted time!

Once you arrive, it’s simply unpack your gear and food, set up in camp, tie on some baits, and fire up the outboards.

It’s a no-frills, hardcore fishing trip… exactly what Stevie and I live for!

FISHING

So right off the hop once we were prepped to go fishing, Pete went through a strong bout of Dejavu!

Steve snuck down to the dock and was firing out long bomb casts with a topwater, which is VERY reminiscent of Ang many years ago…

Steve is always chomping at the bit to hit the water!

Steve Niedzwiecki with his first Hastie Lake Smallmouth… before he even left the dock!

Although Pete was REALLY hoping for a big Largemouth on this trip, the reality of this water is that there are WAY more Smallies here than Largies. That’s pretty much been the way since our first trip to this Bass mecca. That said, there are giants of both species swimming these waters.

Another primary goal was to do their best to try and capitalize on the array of hard baits they hauled in. Let’s be honest, the thrill of a topwater strike or the sudden crush of a crankbait are second to none.

As luck would have it, as soon as we hit the water, the skies immediately closed in and the rain started. This is a scenario that we simply cannot pull the broadcast camera out for…

Fortunately, we all carry around phones with great video recording capabilities, so Pete and Steve quickly became fishermen and camera operators…

Pete with a great Smallmouth that hit a Yo-Zuri 3DB Pencil Popper in the teeming rain!

As fast as the rain came in, the weather started to clear up. Once the sun rose high in the sky, Steve and Pete knew that the hard-bait bite, especially the topwater bite, might slow down.

As well, with such a small lake, it’s inevitable that they would repeatedly hit areas two, three and even four times throughout the trip. This makes fish very skittish, pushing the boys to resort to more finesse-style techniques as time went on.

For such a small lake, Hastie has some great Bass structure

Hastie is the type of lake that a group of anglers can venture into and most certainly expect “a lot” of fish. Seriously, if Pete and Steve had stayed in any of their productive areas that were loaded up with numbers of Smallies, they say they could have easily boated a hundred Bass in a day. 

On a three or four-day trip, that’s a pretty good sack of fish!

The boys did really well with a Yo-Zuri Rattl’n Vibe fished almost vertically in deep water for numbers of Smallmouth Bass. No giants but it kept them plenty busy!

STEVIE HAD AN EPIPHANY

Typical Northern Ontario

While we were hitting a gorgeous back-bay, Steve made a suggestion to move shallower… it’s funny how a simple move like that can make all the difference in the world…

Steve’s suggestion paid a nice dividend for Pete

“We were fishing a back bay, by staying out and casting in,” says Pete “and our casts were hitting all the good spots… or so I thought. Steve’s suggestion to move shallow seemed almost redundant to me… until we did and I quickly smacked a couple of beauty Smallies on a Jig & Chunk”.

“Just when you think you’re knowledgeable,” continues Pete “a wise man like Steve pushes you forth, and fresh new things start to happen… thanks bud!”

CONCLUSION

This trip didn’t disappoint at all. No, the boys didn’t catch the complete “hawgs” that they were after, however, they caught so many fish (including a couple of Lake Trout) that there’s no way they could have kept count.

“Actually,” says Pete “that’s a great premise for a return visit to Hastie Lake, counting each and every bass”.

Somebody’s gonna be busy!”

EPISODE HOTSPOT BROUGHT TO YOU BY GARMIN

N 46 14.279, W 82 47.151

This episode’s Hotspot was a flat area in the mouth of one of Hastie Lakes’ bays.

This is definitely a numbers area where the Smallmouth gather in loose schools.

It’s “normally” over 20 feet deep here so you need to be cognizant of your bait choice.

Steve and Pete used dropshot rigs, Ned rigs, tube jigs, and Pete even threw an extremely deep-diving Hardcore crankbait. They all worked.

The key to flats like this one is, if you’re only catching small fish, move on. The bigger Smallies hang out with similar-sized fish.

Mobility is the key.

For more HotSpots like this one, check out our Hotspots section of the site.

DEPTH: 23 Feet

PRESENTATION: Working The Bottom

BAITS: Dropshot, Deep Cranks, Tubes, Ned Rigs

LAUZON AVIATION IN ONTARIO’S ALGOMA REGION

For more on this incredible fishing destination and a breakdown of how we got there, check out the article over at Northern Ontario Travel!

Fly-In Smallmouth: Northern Ontario Style | Northern Ontario Travel

OTHER LINKS:

https://www.destinationontario.com/en-ca/things-to-do/fishing

http://www.tylerdunnguiding.ca/contact.html (Algoma Fishing Guide Service)

https://anglingalgoma.com/ (Algoma Fishing Guide Service)

Yo-Zuri 3DB Pencil Popper

Pete and Steve’s Portable Fishfinder Setup

TV EXTRAS

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