Episode 540: River Dwelling Largemouth Bass

This episode of The Fish’n Canada Show has been a LONG time coming. 

The reason we say this is because this is an “all Largemouth Bass” show which, quite honestly, we don’t get to produce all that often.

It’s not that you, our audience, don’t like Largemouth, nor is it that we don’t like fishing for them… quite the contrary… we love the chance at hitting the shallows for these green beauties.

The main reason we don’t get to shoot very many Largemouth Bass episodes is that there aren’t a lot of fishing facilities or lodges throughout the country that cater to them. And working closely with tourism organizations like we do, the poor old bucket mouth usually gets the short end of the stick. 

Let’s be honest, in the world of Canadian freshwater fishing lodges, the species list is pretty much dominated by Walleye, Northern Pike, Trout and to some extent Smallmouth Bass

On Canada’s west coast, you’d be hard-pressed to find a lodge that isn’t ruled by the king, the Chinook Salmon.  

On the east coast, Atlantic Salmon still have a grip on the fishing lodge industry. There’s also a strong Brook Trout segment out east and now we can include the latest on that list, the Striped Bass.

Luckily, there’s the odd lodge that at least offers Largemouth fishing as an option on their species list. We’re very thankful for this as they are an awesome fish to target.

LOCATION

For this episode, we’re fishing some of the backwaters of the mighty Lake Nipissing and in particular, the middle and western portions. Yeah, this massive area is mostly known “again” for Walleye, Pike, Smallies and not to be forgotten, trophy Muskie BUT, it also has a fantastic population of Largemouth Bass. From the main lake, to the back bays, to all the incoming and outflowing rivers and creeks, Nipissing truly is a Largemouth Bass factory.

THE FISHING

Angelo Viola setting the hook into one of many Largemouth for this episode

For the main portion of this episode, Ang and Pete attacked a backwater section off of the main lake, and trust us, there are miles of it. We used a variety of plastic baits, the time was midsummer, and the weather was HOT!

We also featured some never-seen-before footage where we hit a small channel that meets the main lake but, unfortunately for us, this one was during a cold front. Fortunately for the audience, you got to see how we deal with these often nasty, unwanted and yet more often than not, unavoidable conditions.

For this portion of the show, we had to dive deep into the thick stuff with our flipping and pitching gear, to coax those lethargic, “yet still catchable” green ones.

For the main portion of the episode, we started out with some nice, warm “shorts and T-Shirt” weather… that’s Ang’s kind of Bass fish’n.

LOCATION #1

Lake Nipissing is such a phenomenal bass fishery

The Largemouth Bass is a funny little creature. While most people equate these fish with gigantic shallow lily pad fields, or areas so thick with weeds that an angler can hardly pull a bait through, they’re much more than that.

And although those situations definitely do hold Largemouth, they’re not the only places to look. 

The first area we were in had more open water than thick weeds. Largemouth love hanging around rocky areas, especially if there’s a bit of wood and or vegetation mixed in… 

Creature baits and long, slender swim baits Texas rigged or on a weighted swimbait hook were the key in our open water location

For the most part in this area, we were looking for good weed growth as our number one key element. After that, if there were rocks near the weeds… that was better. After that, if there were rocks and wood near the weeds… look out!!! Get our point here? A combination of structural and cover elements ultimately is what we always look for.

Another thing we looked for were groups of fish. If we couldn’t find them on the Garmin fishfinder, then we would always watch behind any of the fish we hooked and were reeling in. So many times, in open water areas, Largemouth act very similar to Smallmouth in that they follow their little buddy’s to the boat and wait for something to be spit out. If you get the opportunity, cast out behind your fishing partner’s fish that’s coming towards the boat.

BTW, we tried crankbaits, rattlebaits etc. but nothing was happening with the hardbait deal. These fish were on a “plastics” bite. They were somewhat lethargic before they bit however they got all cranked up when they saw another fish fighting.

All in all, this location produced everything from barely keeper size Largemouth to some real beauties!

LOCATION #2 

As we said at the start of this article, we also took the audience back in time, and to another section of Lake Nipissing. This area consisted of a channel, surrounded by heavily reeded areas on both sides. Classic Largie water.

Now although we were still fishing in the dead of summer, we were fishing in the midst of a nasty, high-skied cold front. When confronted with conditions like this, we know full well that our most successful techniques will be SLOW & STEADY & DIRECTLY IN THE JUNK!

“In this situation, our first and most prominent bait choice is a jig and chunk,” says Ang “it is such a good fish catcher when fish are hunkered deep into the cover.”

The tried and true Flipping Jig. Just add a chunk-style trailer and start fish’n!

Our recommendation for a flipping jig in heavy weed cover is to look for a jig with a narrow head and a vertical line tie (as seen in the image above). This line tie cuts through thick weeds much better than a horizontal line tie.

And here’s a great tip when you’re out there slinging jigs and plastics in the ultra-heavy cover. “IF” you sense you just missed a bite or a fish, ALWAYS cast, pitch or flip immediately back to the exact same area. If it wasn’t a fish, no harm done, however, if it was, you just showed an excellent sense of feel and instinct!

You can actually see this happen during the episode in which Pete misses an initial bite, but fires back to the fish and hooks up.

Pete Bowman with a great Largemouth taken from the thick stuff in a channel off of Nipissing

When Ang and Pete hit this type of heavy cover, they don’t mess around with regular tackle. They bring in the heavy equipment like 7-foot plus heavy action rods, coupled with bait cast reels spooled up with either 40 to 50-pound braid or 20 to 25-lb fluorocarbon line. It’s essential here. 

Braided line from 50 – 80 lb test and fluorocarbon line from 20 – 25 lb test are essential when flipping and pitching the thick, heavy stuff

Once you feel a bite, you gotta smack ’em hard, and then haul that bad boy up and out of the cover.

CONCLUSION

Lake Nipissing has a huge diversity in its Largemouth Bass habitat.

From the thick, overgrown channel edges, to the classic rock, wood, and weed areas that we’re back into now… this place is a phenomenal Bass fishing destination.

“Something very interesting happened in this episode,” says Pete. “If you compare both fishing situations we were in, that’s a beautiful sunny summer day as opposed to a sneaky, post-cold-front day, you’ll see that the cold front fish are actually bigger. I’d personally take that cold front sack of fish hands down over the others”. 

And that’s due to having a little bit of intel about your prey. Ang and Pete knew those summer fish would be active and roaming around weeds, wood, rocks, and even open water. They figured the Largemouth would be scattered, so their attack would be quick-paced. 

“We also knew that the cold front fish would be hunkered down in the heavy stuff,” continues Ang. “And sitting pretty much stationary in perfect little fish-holding pockets. In there we needed to go slow and low”. 

It’s kind of weird since it’s the same fish species, same lake, but with two totally different attitudes. 

There’s ALWAYS something to learn while fishing!

MEMQUISIT LODGE

Most of Memquisit lodge dates back to the 1920’s with an addition built in the 60s to enlarge the dining room, office and lounge. When you enter the lodge you become part of the thousands that have set foot at one point in time in this historical building. It features a dining room with a seating capacity of 50 guests, a comfortable and cozy lounge, a large kitchen, a confectionery, a souvenir and gift shop, a game room with a pool table, a kids activity center and a large screened-in deck overlooking the bay.

In their lounge, you will enjoy satellite dish viewing, a cozy fireplace, tools of days gone by hanging over the fireplace mantle, a piano and a small but very interesting library made up of very old books. You will also find picture albums with photos dating back many, many years.

In their store, you find everything you need to make up for the things forgotten at home. You will also find fishing tackle and their own line of clothing and souvenirs.

In their kitchen, they prepare good wholesome homemade meals for their guests. They assure you that no one leaves feeling hungry. The meals are pre-set such as a haddock fish fry on Sundays, a roast beef dinner on Tuesdays, a Turkey dinner on Thursdays or a steak night on Fridays. All meals are capped with fresh homemade pies.

The dining room overlooking the bay accommodates up to 50 hungry guests at a time. Its old wood plank walls were restored in 2004 to uncover its magnificent history. Its walls are home to several awesome catches from some of its guests. Pictures strategically placed reveal some of their visitors’ most memorable moments.

Memquisit Lodge offers both American and housekeeping plans at either the main lodge or with any of their cabins.

Looking for a shore lunch? It’s easy to set up.

But best of all is the tranquillity during your stay, it gets no better!

https://www.memquisitlodge.net/

GETTIN THERE

EPISODE 10 Memquisit Lodge – Lake Nipissing

To get to some outstanding Largemouth as well as Smallmouth Bass fishing, take hwy 400 north to hwy 69.

Then turn east on 64 towards Alban.

Stay on hwy 64 through Noëlville.

Next turn right on Memquisit road which will take you to Memquisit Lodge

TV EXTRAS

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