Batchawana Bay Smallmouth Bass

Fish'n Canada fishes the Great Lake Superior for bass

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 Hwy 17, they say “man we’ve gotta hit Superior for smallmouth.”

Well, for this shoot, Pete finally got the chance to venture out on Gitche Gumee 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. Marys River for both bass and trout.

“Tyler is one of those guys who 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!”

smallmouth-bass
Tyler Dunn holds up a huge Algoma Smallmouth Bass. 

WHERE TO LAUNCH

Haviland and Batchawana bays are about 30-45 minutes via Hwy 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 that 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 MOVE

The next spot the guys hit was the gigantic flat off Batchawana Island. The island is huge and has ample fishing grounds everywhere in its vicinity. They did catch a couple of half-decent smallmouths, 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 goose bumps. It looked like a pike, but its size was massive. One of the biggest pike silhouettes I’ve ever seen.”

Excitement was in the air.

“I swear,” continues Pete, “this fish was in a size category of more like a massive Muskie or even a Sturgeon… it was THAT big!”

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 all right, but not the one that passed by the boat.

“My pike went around 12 to 14 pounds,” says Steve. “The fish we saw, if it was a pike, was at least double the size of mine”.

northern-pike
Steve Niedzwiecki with a gorgeous Batchawana Bay Northern Pike

THEY FINALLY FOUND THE SMALLIES

When the guys decided to move to the opposite side of the island, that’s when the smallmouth bass magic happened.

There they found lots of rock structure in the form of boulders, humps, islands, and points. Absolutely perfect.

One of many double headers

HOW’D THEY CATCH 'EM?

Pete pretty much exclusively tried drop-shotting a Yamamoto Shad Shape Worm, while 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.

ned-rig
A Ned Rig. It may not look like much but it’s a killer on certain days.

Once the guys found the fish, it was constant action for the rest of the trip.

IN CLOSING

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), there are some BIG bass (Pete and Steve saw some giants in the clear water), and the scenery on the drive north along with the stunning shoreline, will put Bass anglers smack dab in their happy place.

smallmouth-bass
Although Pete Bowman is pointing out the markings on his Smallmouth, he should be pointing at that gorgeous, mountainous, Lake Superior scenery in the background.

FISH SPECIES IN LAKE SUPERIOR

  • Walleye
  • Northern Pike
  • Smallmouth Bass
  • Crappie
  • Yellow Perch
  • Muskie
  • Rainbow Trout/Steelhead
  • Brown Trout
  • Lake Trout
  • Brook Trout
  • Coho, Chinook, Atlantic & Pink Salmon

EPISODE HOTSPOT

This episode's Hotspot was a small area of rocks and shoals in the Batchawana Bay and Havilland Bay area of Lake Superior.

It's a pretty obvious smallmouth bass area with a classic structure in the form of rocks and boulders.

Any of your typical smallie tactics and baits will work, however, we did extremely well on a drop shot rig with a small 3 1/2-inch natural-coloured finesse plastic bait. This area is shallow, so a lightweight is usually sufficient.

For the waypoint of this Hotspot as well as many others, go to Fish'n Canada.com

OTHER WATERS TO FISH WHILE AT SAULT STE. MARIE

The St Marys River is a fantastic “all-around” fishery with a game-fish species list that will blow you away:

  • Largemouth Bass
  • Smallmouth Bass
  • Walleye
  • Northern Pike
  • Muskie
  • Rainbow Trout/Steelhead
  • Coho, Chinook, Pink and Atlantic Salmon

THINGS NEAR BATCHAWANA BAY

https://www.algomacountry.com/cities-towns/superior-coastal/

The city of Sault Ste Marie is less than an hour's drive:

https://saulttourism.com/

5 things to do in the “Soo”

ERMATINGER-CLERGUE NATIONAL HISTORIC SITE

Take a step back in time at the Ermatinger-Clergue National Historic Site. The “house” has been restored and tells the story of Charles Oakes Ermatinger and others who were lucky enough to call this beautiful house home between 1808 and 1870. Stroll the beautiful period gardens and don’t forget to watch the “movie” at the brand-new theatre located in the Heritage Discovery Visitors Centre.

CANADIAN BUSHPLANE HERITAGE CENTRE

A simple walk across the street from the Ermatinger-Clergue National Historic Site is the Canadian Bushplane Heritage Centre. Explore the history and adventure of flight and forest fire protection at this beautiful centre located in downtown Sault Ste Marie. You will simply be blown away at the number of full-size aircraft that are on display. The very best part is that the Canadian Bushplane Heritage Centre is one of the very few aviation museums that allows you to get up close and personal with the aircraft. You can take a seat in the plane’s cockpit or climb in the hold of a water bomber!

ART GALLERY OF ALGOMA

Located on the waterfront of the St. Marys River, you can leisurely stroll the Bushplane Museum to the Art Gallery of Algoma. This beautiful gallery is home to a permanent collection of the Group of Seven, and the staff at the Gallery are always busy with new and innovative displays of collections from around the world. The Gallery is located on the waterfront and is a perfect venue for relaxing morning or afternoon immersing yourself in art.

SAULT STE MARIE CANAL NATIONAL HISTORIC SITE

Sault Ste. Marie’s beautiful boardwalk ends at a Parks Canada National Historic Site. When strolling the site, don’t be surprised if you see boaters inside the historical locks preparing to either leave or enter the waters that link to the Mighty Lake Superior. For those who want to continue their stroll, you can cross over the locks and get up close and personal with the St. Marys River rapids. Renowned in North America as a body of water with a variety of fish species, you are sure to see fly fishers in the rapids, hopeful that the next cast will see them hook the catch of a lifetime.

AGAWA CANYON TOUR TRAIN

Did you know downtown Sault Ste. Marie is home to the Agawa Canyon Tour Train station? You are minutes away from the boardwalk to purchase your ticket to this world-class rail excursion that departs daily at 8 am sharp. You will be awed by the landscapes you’ll encounter on this tour that the Group of Seven painted. The canyon itself will capture your heart when you disembark into a pristine oasis set in the beautiful Algoma wilderness. An inland lake, three waterfalls, and of course the daunting steps that will lead you up the canyon wall to the halfway point. It’s so worth the walk and the selfie you can take from the lookout. It is definitely one that will give you bragging rights!

SPECIAL THANKS

About Fish'n Canada

As one of the original pioneers of Canadian adventure television, the Fish'n Canada Show has been broadcasting their pursuit of the ultimate adventure for over 30 years. Hosts Angelo Viola and Pete Bowman educate and entertain audiences with their passion and enthusiasm for fishing. Both are inductees in the Canadian Anglers Hall of Fame. Check out their episodes and video on the Fish'n Canada YouTube Channel and like them on Facebook!

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