Fishing On The French With Bear's Den Lodge

Is it the lodges, the people, the outstanding fishing, or all of that put together? Whatever the reason, Fish TV keeps coming back to the French River!

There is something about the French River that we at FISH TV keep getting drawn to. Whether it is the lodges, the people, outstanding fishing, or all of that put together, we seem to keep going back. This year we headed to an amazing lodge (that we have been going to for years) the Bear's Den Lodge! This family-owned lodge makes you feel right at home. Art, Brenda, Joe, and the whole staff really want you to have the best experience the French River has to offer. Their cottages provide everything you need, from your own BBQ to their comfortable beds, from boat rentals to providing a meal plan in case you want to fish all day and have a home-cooked meal on the table waiting for you when you get off the water.

French River Fishing Just A Few Hours North of Toronto

Bear's Den Lodge is located at the bottom end of the French River (Georgian Bay side) where there is so much history that you will want to do your research before you head there. Just a few hours from Toronto, Ontario, it is a very scenic drive and before you know it you are Hartley Bay Landing. Hartley Bay Landing is where you will park your vehicle and the Bears Den crew will pick you up on their boat or they will launch your boat and you can navigate the short distance to the lodge yourself.

french river fishing bass

Pick Your Trophy Fish

Once you arrive you will want to get out there fishing right away. From trophy musky to big smallmouth, largemouth and numbers of walleye, you will have your choice on what to target. We decided to focus on largemouth bass as the weather had been stable the week leading up to our trip…and you know what happens to largemouth when the weather is stable! Being summer and experience from the past, we decided to start shallow, fishing pads, stumps and weed patches and we had some pretty good luck but no giants. We ran out of time and headed back to the lodge where we were greeted with an amazing meal that Art prepared. 

bears den lodge french river bass fishing

After a good night of sleep, we came up with a game plan, as the water temp was sitting at almost 80. We decided to start looking for deeper water and some current. We started right at the lodge first thing and headed to a creek right around the corner. This bay with a little creek had everything we were looking for, weeds, deep channel, current and bait. As we made our way down the shoreline, Leo landed a three-pounder on his second cast…Here we go! We worked our way to the back of the channel and caught several fish in that three-to-four-pound range, but we were looking for more numbers and hoping to catch a five-pounder.

french river fishing bass

Find Your Little Current Areas, Weed Lines and Points

We sat down and looked at our map and noticed a small lake that was just off the river and decided to see if we could get in there. We knew if there were fish in there, they would be untouched. As we drive the Lund down this tiny creek, we can see this lake open on the other side of a log jam. Determined to get in there we started ripping this log jam apart and after several hours, we finally got our 2075 Lund Pro V in this other lake. What we discovered is that there were fish in there, large numbers of fish but not the giants that we thought. We fished around this little lake and decided to head back out to the river to find that giant Bass we wanted to land. 

As we get back through the dam and head down this little creek towards the French, Ron throws out a jig and catches a four-pounder, then we proceed to work our way down this little creek and catch several more fish from the four to five-pound range. We just fished that creek for about two hours before and never got a bite but on the way out the fish were stacked. All we can figure is when we opened up the log jam, it created a current and attracted the bait fish, which in turn attracted the big bass.  

When you head for the French River and Bears Den Lodge, make sure you look for subtle things like little current areas, weed lines and points and you will definitely catch more fish.

About Ron James

Ron has been fishing for over 35 years. He started fishing when he was just a youngster with his father Bill James (God rest his soul). He moved onto tournament fishing as his passion grew. With numerous wins and top finishes, the next step had to be taken. He met Leo, and the unstoppable force of Fish TV "is the best thing that has happened.

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