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Smallmouth Bass Fishing

Pound for pound Smallmouth Bass are the hardest fighting freshwater fish in Ontario and are a favourite target for our guests. Not only do we have fantastic Smallmouth Bass fishing in Gowganda Lake, we have five backcountry lakes that are just stuffed with bass including one lake that only has Smallmouth Bass.

Gowganda Lake Bass Fishing

Gowganda is a typical Canadian Shield lake. It has beautiful big outcroppings of Precambrian Rock at the water's edge that are visible and kept clean by ice flow in spring. On top are towering pine trees and an abundance of wildlife. Just one look at Gowganda Lake and you know you are going to get into some great Smallmouth Bass action.

Smallmouth Bass are found everywhere on Gowganda Lake. Any rocky point, island or shoal will produce bass. Guests have run into patrolling hunting packs along the shore and catch bass after bass for hours. When bass are spawning in late May and early June you will find the bigger bass in sandy areas with a lot of deadfall and rotting branches. They lay their eggs near rotting wood but on sand because the wood moderates the alkalinity of the water and greatly increases the survival rate of the young. In this situation the bass are not aggressively feeding and spook very easily. Guests who are stealthy and present live bait can get into some big ones. Early June is not the greatest time for numbers but huge Smallmouth Bass in the 4 and 6-pound range can be caught.

By the end of June the bass are back feeding in their regular habitat and are very easy to catch. If you spend a day fishing for Smallmouth Bass you could catch 50 to 75 bass on an average day and 75 to 100 bass on a really good day. The smaller bass in the 1/2 to 2 pound range are usually in schools and when you get into them you can catch a mess of them. The bigger bass in the 3 to 6 pound range are usually loners or in mating pairs. You will have to comb the shoreline and shoals to find them. Just about every week guests catch Smallmouth Bass in the 4 to 5 pound range and once in a while somebody pulls out a 7 and even an 8-pounder. The largest Smallmouth Bass caught on Gowganda Lake by one of our guests since owning the lodge was a monster 10 pounds. This bass was released and could have been an Ontario record if properly documented.

Backcountry Bass Lakes

We have boat caches on seven backcountry lakes, which are just a short drive from the lodge. The Wapus River and Obushkong Lake have Smallmouth Bass as well as other species. For guests who are hardcore Smallmouth Bass fanatics we send them to Hangingstone Lake, Frying Pan Lake or Elkhorn Lake. These are lakes that produce high numbers as well as some good size bass. Guests have reported catching between 80 and 100 Smallmouth Bass in a day on these lakes. You should get into some 3 and 4-pounders but most of the bass you will catch will be smaller than 3 pounds. These backcountry lakes are so much fun because you are catching tons of bass and getting a chance to see some real wilderness.

Angling Tips

In most of the province bass season opens the 4th Saturday in June. Fishing is often best in the early morning and late evening. Smallmouth Bass can be found near deep underwater points, rocky shoals, submerged islands and weed edges. When fish are not biting, change your lure and your tactic.

Smallmouth Bass are usually in more open water so you can use a light to medium action spinning rod and 6 to 10 pound test line. Small, deep-diving plugs and lures, as well as surface lures (in early morning and evening) are effective. Soft plastic lures such as crayfish imitations, twister tails and small worms or tubes are among the best smallmouth baits. These are often fished deep, in combination with a jig.

Best Smallmouth Bass Lures:

  • Crank Baits (small): Color: purple
  • Tube Jigs
  • Plastic Frogs & Crayfish
  • Top water Poppers
  • Spinner Baits: - Colors: red, yellow & bright greens

    Common Baits: Leeches, Minnows, Crayfish

    Fish Photo Galleries
    Fishing Regulations
    Gowganda Lake Map & Information
    Backcountry Lakes

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