Discover the 3 Best Bass Fishing Lakes in Ontario

Check out these lakes for hard-fighting smallmouth bass on your next fishing trip to Northern Ontario.
prop bait for bass

Ontario has thousands of lakes, rivers and streams that harbour smallmouth bass. Excellent numbers of smallmouth bass.

Some have VERY big bass, some have GREAT numbers of catchable bass. Each body of water is unique in its own way, but one thing remains consistent when it comes to Northern Ontario smallmouth bass—they are the pound-for-pound champion when it comes to acrobatics and that never-give-up attitude that attracts vacationers each and every season to Ontario.

Here are some of my favourite lakes for finding great numbers of smallmouth bass.

1. Little Vermilion Lake, Sunset Country

Little Vermilion Lake in Sioux Lookout from Northwest Ontario is an absolute gem when it comes to the number of fat, chunky smallmouth bass. They just seem to be everywhere on this body of water. You can catch them on top waters, spinnerbaits, shallow running crankbaits, loud rattle baits, tube jigs and Ned rig soft plastics.


There is so much natural structure on this system and most of it is visual, meaning just look around as you drive up the lake, potential bass hotspots are everywhere. Little Vermilion is the largest in an eleven-lake system. Approximately sixteen miles long, a long narrow body of water with a lower and upper section. These spring-fed waters are deep and cold with numerous bays, reefs, and deep weed beds that have created excellent fish-holding structures. The lake forage consists of whitefish, cisco, suckers, perch, various minnow life, and crayfish. With the combination of all these factors, the unpressured waters of Little Vermilion offer guests some of the best sportfishing Canada has to offer; year after year.

2. Cassels-Rabbit Lakes, Northeastern Ontario

The lake system consisting of Cassels-Rabbit Lakes in Temagami, Northeastern Ontario is another hotspot for numbers of smallmouth bass. We have fished this system numerous times from early summer to late fall and have always managed to locate and catch really good numbers of bass up to four-plus pounds. We have yet to catch any real trophy-sized smallies here, but for sheer enjoyment and numbers, it’s a favourite of ours.


This lake system has many rock shoals, island points, sand bars and scattered with smaller islands that feature natural structure elements that attract crawfish, minnows and perch, all of which are tasty meals for smallmouth bass. Never pass up on the smaller islands of this system, they can hold schools of hungry bass at any time of the day.

One of the easiest ways to locate numbers of bass here is by making long casts with noisy poppers, locating the most active bass and then working those same locations with secondary baits like tube jigs and small crankbaits, the smallmouth cannot resist these baits on this system.

3. Tunnel Lake, Algoma Country

What more can be said of this unique region of Northern Ontario. It is a bass paradise. One of our favourite lakes for numbers of smallmouth bass from late spring to late fall includes Tunnel Lake. 

tunnel lake bass fishing

This area of the Mississagi Valley (highway 129 Ontario’s Tail of the Dragon) is home to several well-known bass lakes for trophy-sized bass but Tunnel Lake just seems to have so many excellent structure elements that hold schools of beautiful brown bass we make sure to visit this lake every season when visiting the Algoma region.

We have fished this lake on several occasions without even seeing another boat for the entire day and yet the bass are everywhere! Loud rattle-style crankbaits are gold on this lake. Smallmouth bass can be located fast with these baits and they literally crush them. Pebble rock shorelines shine on Tunnel Lake and mid-lake reefs and rock shoals attract schools of bass in the two to four-pound class season-long.

The lake draws down in fall, but the smallmouth bass congregates to the deeper humps and shoals at that time and the fishing can be unreal with fish after fish for hours on end.

If you’re looking for lake options for a number of hard-fighting smallmouth bass for your next angling vacation in Northern Ontario, check out these options and have a blast.

About Karl Kalonka

It's possible Karl's love for fishing began as early as the age of five. His parents took the kids on weekend trips across Ontario fishing for panfish, catfish, and bass. "I started with a bobber and worm from the time I was five years old," says Karl. These days, he has the enviable task of doing what he loves for a living, travelling across Ontario fishing, filming and producing two outdoor series, Extreme Angler and Crappie Angler TV.

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