Originally published November 14, 2019
Would you believe that Angelo and Pete have never hit the waters of Lake Superior for Smallmouth Bass? “EVERY TIME” they drive by this beast of a lake, while travelling north on Highway 17, they say “man we’ve gotta’ hit Superior for Smallmouth”.
Well for this shoot, Pete finally got the chance to venture out on Gitchi-Gami in the Algoma region of Ontario and sample the Smallie fishery that he and Ang had “figured” to be phenomenal. On this trip, Pete was joined by Fish’n Canada buddy Steve Niedzwiecki, a true fishing enthusiast. As well, Pete and Steve met up with local fishing expert and guide Tyler Dunn. Pete had worked with Tyler on a previous TV shoot, where they fished the St Mary’s River for both Bass and Trout.” Tyler is one of those guys that “eats, sleeps and breathes fishing,” says Pete. “This guy could have had an athletic career, but instead, he decided to become a fishing guide. Now that’s dedication”!
WHERE TO LAUNCH
Haviland and Batchawana bays are about 30-45 minutes, via Highway 17, from the city of Sault Ste. Marie. There are good boat launches in both bays. If you are fishing Haviland Bay, then you can launch in the protected water of Gitchee Gumee Marina. This is an honour pay system here, so PLEASE put your money in the box if you use the launch. If you want to fish Batchawana Bay, then there’s a free boat launch at the end of road 563 near Pancake Bay.
The guys met Tyler at the dock in the aforementioned Gitchee Gumee Marina. Here, Tyler gave them direction as to a couple of his hotspots, as well as an idea as to what the Smallies should be doing at that moment (second week of July). Everyone figured that some Bass would be spawning, while most would be post-spawn. The boys would concentrate on the ones finished up.
With their new Bass intel, our guys headed to Batchawana Bay first and hit a big sand flat.
“The fishing was ok here,” Pete says, “however, we couldn’t tie into any big ones. We saw some, but they wouldn’t go”.
Between Tyler’s last couple of outings, as well as a local who was fishing the vicinity, Pete and Steve were assured the fish were there, just not biting.
The next spot the guys hit was the gigantic flat off of Batchawana Island. The island is huge and has ample fishing grounds everywhere in its vicinity. They did catch a couple of half-decent Batchawana Bay Smallmouth, but it was the “shadow” that started off a crazy sequence.
“As we were working one side of Batchawana Island,” says Pete “we saw a shadow of a fish swim by that gave both Steve and I goosebumps. It looked like a Pike, but its size was massive. One of the biggest Pike silhouettes I’ve ever seen!”
The excitement was in the air.
Steve was already set up with a bait snapped to a leader on a Pike rod, so he quickly fired out a cast and started to work his magic.
A short time later and SMACK, fish on for Stevie boy!
It was a Pike alright, but not the one that passed by the boat.
“My Pike went around 12 – 14 pounds,” says Steve “the fish we saw, if it was a Pike, was at least double the size of mine”.
THEY FINALLY FOUND THE SMALLIES
When the guys decided to move to the opposite side of the island, that’s when the Smallmouth magic happened.
There they found lots of rock structures in the form of boulders, humps, islands, and points. Absolutely perfect.
HOW’D THEY CATCH EM’?
Pete pretty much exclusively tried drop-shotting a Yamamoto Shad Shape Worm. Steve cast a little Ned Rig on a jig head (one of the latest crazes in the Bass world). Both techniques were executed on spinning gear with light line, and both worked extremely well on this trip.
Once the guys found the fish, it was constant action for the rest of the trip.
Lake Superior is now classed in the Fish’n Canada books as a Smallmouth Bass mecca. There are lots of Bass (among many other incidental species), and BIG Bass (Pete and Steve saw some giants in the clear water). The scenery on the drive north, along with the stunning shoreline, will put Bass anglers smack dab in their happy place.
GAME-FISH SPECIES IN LAKE SUPERIOR
- Northern Pike
- Small Mouth Bass
- Yellow Perch
- Rainbow Trout/Steelhead
- Brown Trout
- Lake Trout
- Brook Trout
- Coho, Chinook, Atlantic & Pink Salmon
- Ontario Canada – In partnership with Destination Ontario
- Algoma Country Tourism
- Tyler Dunn Guiding
- Karen Elsigan-Van Der Swan