The Whalesback Channel of Lake Huron
The Whalesback Channel located along the north shore of Lake Huron is arguably the most scenic Great Lakes waterway in Ontario's Algoma Country. Brennan Harbour Resort located near Spanish, Ontario rests in the middle of this vast waterway and is one of the resort/fishing camps that serve this region.
The chain of islands that form the Whalesback Channel provides boaters and anglers access to Great Lakes species but at the same time the confidence of fishing from a protected inland waterway. Northern pike, walleye, musky, yellow perch and smallmouth bass abound in this wilderness that stretches from the mouth of the Spanish River west to John Island.
During a recent visit to Brennan Harbour Resort, the Fishing 411 crew set their sights on exploring the region's world-class smallmouth bass fishery. The rocky shorelines and countless islands provide ideal habitat for smallmouth bass that thrive in these clear to stained waters.
Big Fish Are Common
The first thing our crew noticed is that the average smallmouth bass is much bigger than typically found in other waters. The Whalesback Channel is rich in forage including an almost endless supply of crayfish, round gobies and emerald shiners. Smallmouth bass in the 18- to 20-inch range are common and trophy-class fish upwards of 22 to 24 inches are caught on a daily basis.
Work the Shallows
The Fishing 411 crew also noticed that the cool water influence of Lake Huron helps to keep the smallmouth bass population in shallow water all summer long. During our recent August visit, we routinely found smallmouth bass tight to the banks in water 5 to 15 feet deep.
Most Productive Baits
Casting with three-inch tube baits proved to be our most productive presentation. A 1/4-ounce rattle-style head did a nice job of imitating the natural clicking sounds of crayfish as they forage along the bottom. The most productive colors were natural brown and green shades.
The next most productive lure was crayfish imitating crankbaits including the Storm Wiggle Wart and Rattle Tot, Yakima Mag Lip 3.5, Worden's Timber Tiger and Cotton Cordell Wiggle-O. Making a long cast, lowering the rod tip to the water surface and cranking these baits to bottom using a slow steady retrieve proved best.
Our visit was during the first week of August. The owner of Brennan Harbour Resort, James Falzon, says his customers do best targeting smallmouth bass in late July, throughout August, September and into early October. The later in the season an angler would visit, the bigger the smallmouth will average in length and weight!
One of the nice things about Brennan Harbour is the cabins come with a 16-foot Starcraft boat and 20 HP four-stroke outboard. For a modest upgrade, customers can step up to a 16-foot boat with a 25 HP outboard or a 17-foot boat equipped with a 40 HP outboard.
We opted to bring our own boat and launched at the nearby Spanish Marina. Brennan Harbour has a nice dock complete with electric power for charging trolling motor batteries.
Brennan Harbour also has clean and modern cabins, a nice fish-cleaning shed, and an ice machine on site and they offer Housekeeping or full American Plan vacation packages.
Summing It Up
The Whalesback Channel is without question among the most beautiful bodies of water the Fishing 411 crew has visited. Located just two hours east of Sault Ste. Marie, this beautiful and productive fishery is only a short drive from both the U.S. and Canadian metropolitan areas.
It's hard to imagine better smallmouth fishing than the Fishing 411 crew enjoyed. The photos tell the story. . . big smallmouth and lots of them make a trip to the Whalesback Channel something every avid angler needs to add to their bucket list.