Pleasant Cove Resort

Setting sights on Georgian Bay Northern Pike

This was the first Fish'n Canada episode of the 2019 fishing season, and it truly was a highly anticipated one! It took place at the gorgeous Pleasant Cove Resort in Point Au Baril, Ontario, on Georgian Bay. I've been to Pleasant Cove before, and this place always gets me excited.

chairs-on-beach

Another first on this trip was the chance to shoot with former Chaudière Lodge (on the French River) owner and great friend of Fish'n Canada, Steve Niedzwiecki! Nobody loves fishing more than Steve... (imagine right now, a massive “breaks squealing” sound just occurred). Let me re-state that...aside from me, nobody loves fishing more than Steve. OK, now I can move on.

cottage-boat

On this trip, we were setting our sights on Georgian Bay pike. To be honest, this part of Ontario boasts some unbelievably easy-to-access northern pike fishing. Northern Ontario quality, only a few hours from the south of the province.

On my previous trips to Pleasant Cove, I ended up with some of my best southern Ontario pike action and my biggest pike to date, and that includes the entire province and beyond! This was a time when I was introduced to Captain Mike Richardson, one of the most unique fishing guides I’ve ever shared a boat with. This little nugget will give you an idea of what Mike is really like!

northern-pike

Unfortunately, you know what they say about the best-laid plans and, might I add, the unpredictability of fishing.

We hit a snag. Let me explain.

Springtime fishing is an odds-on feast or famine-period in the world of fishing. Time it right, and things are going gangbusters. Time it wrong, and the arms get tired of constant casting and reeling. On this trip, I didn't realize that the pike season opened well before the rest of the adjacent region. As luck would have it, we were there two weeks late or in fact, two weeks early. This varies from year to year and is highly unpredictable when setting up a fishing trip. Essentially, we as anglers must make the best of the situation... a tough one to swallow because I know for a fact, there is giant northern pike here.

Knowing the above, we still made the trip, so we had to give the pike in the area a shot.

By the end of a day plus of fishing, we saw plenty of sizeable pike, but hooking up had proved to be the unexpected challenge. We still caught a load of smaller northern pike, full of the usual spunk, but those big ones were extra finicky.

With only one day remaining of our first trip of the year, Steve and I decided it might be better to go back to the drawing board.

We had been talking with local fishing guide Blair McCaffery about the fishing in the area, and he was telling us about the amazing rainbow trout fishing the locals have been blessed with lately.

“Please tell us more,” we said (which incidentally is our usual response).

Blair explained that in recent years, a trout-rearing facility had been established in Parry Sound.

We had to check it out. After all, it was only a short 20-minute drive south of Pleasant Cove. The boat was on the trailer and moving down Highway 69 in no time!

fishing-georgian-bay

We found out in our conversation with Blair that there are both stocked rainbows, along with “escapees” from the fish hatchery. It’s an amazing sight, seeing all the pens and the whole operation.

Some time ago—or so the story goes—one of the fish-rearing pens broke open, releasing 40,000 rainbow trout into the Sound (what is a Sound, as in Parry Sound?). These fish are often referred to as escapees. It happens all the time, especially in British Columbia. I’m not sure the exact reasons why, but it happens. Fortunately, it creates a put-and-take fishery, much like MNR stocking programs. Is it a bad thing? I’m not sure. In any case, many anglers take advantage of it. Including Steve and me on this trip.

The water in Parry Sound covers a vast area. It’s much like a big open lake that can turn nasty in no time. We were fortunate on this day as it was dead calm.

We fished around both Depot Island and Sawdust Bay. Both areas are gorgeous big-water fisheries. The landscape here is beautiful with high, tree-filled banks and dark, deep water.

How We Caught Them

northern pike

Trolling with our electric motor was our initial way of finding the biting and active trout. However, once we started seeing Trout dimple the surface of the water (as well as jumping), we knew we were in the right areas. In fact, once we were in an active zone, we stopped trolling and started casting small minnow baits and spoons. The problem we had was we were mostly equipped with pike and walleye gear; not the best setups for trout. With that said, we made do with the lightest spinning gear we had. Luckily, we had some light line with us. So, we simply tied 6-pound fluorocarbon leaders to our existing lines and it made the presentation less visible to the fish.

As fate would have it, we ended up having an excellent day these acrobatic little rippers. I lost my first three rainbows by having my drag set too tight (good lesson to be learned as these fish have soft mouths) and with a barely satisfactory actioned rod, we proceeded to lay the smackdown on a bunch of rainbows. I would have never guessed that on our last day of the trip, the show would have been salvaged

boating-the-bay

If you are heading to Georgian Bay for early northern pike, get there as early as you can. Trust me, there are some giants in that water.

If you can’t make it in early May, then wait until about the second week of June when everything settles down.

foggy-morning

Lastly, make sure that if you bring your own boat, motor, and trailer, that you take the time to load up at Pleasant Cove and scoot south for a day, or even an afternoon to Parry Sound looking for some jail-break escapees. It’s one of those classic Ontario day trips that proves this province is hard to beat when it comes to a diversity in its fishery!

FISH SPECIES IN THE AREA

  • Muskie
  • Northern Pike
  • Walleye
  • Large & Small Mouth Bass
  • Lake Trout
  • Rainbow Trout
  • Brown Trout
  • Chinook Salmon
  • Crappie
  • Yellow Perch

THINGS TO DO NEAR POINTE AU BARIL

  • Sturgeon Bay Provincial Park
  • Excellent fishing on Sturgeon Bay, leading into Georgian Bay
  • Situated among the 30,000 Islands, just off of Trans-Canada Highway 69
  • Great shallow sandy beach
  • Camping experience for everyone: RV and car camping
  • Canoe rentals, ice and camping supplies available
  • Docking facilities available for rent with motorboat rentals nearby

Round Lake Nature Reserve

Situated on the shores of Round and Wiwassasegen Lakes, this reserve protects one of Ontario’s largest communities of Atlantic coastal plain flora, including numerous rare or uncommon species. Provincially significant reptiles have also been recorded in the reserve. There are no facilities for visitors. Camping is not permitted; day-use opportunities for hiking, fishing, and canoeing are provided. The location is 40 km north of Parry Sound.

SPECIAL THANKS

About Pete Bowman

Pete attributes the beginning of his fishing success back to fishing as a kid. His dad would plan a fishing trip and Pete would always be included. Between those trips and his summer vacations (which always included fishing) with his family to northern Ontario, Pete’s fishing path was created. As a teenager he was consumed with the BassMasters® tournament events and pros. Pete bought his first bass boat in his early twenties and jumped right into tournament fishing. In the mid-80s he hooked up with The Fish’n Canada Television Show on a part time pro staff basis and is now proud to be a full-time part of the #1 viewed outdoor television program in the country.

Recommended Articles

Slate Falls Outposts: Arc Lake Outpost

Fly-in Adventure and First-class Service in Northern Ontario

Fishing and Foraging

Add some fresh foods and forage to your fishing adventures!

Five Brook Trout Flies

What flies to bring when fishing for brook trout.

5 Places to Shore Fish

Fish’n Canada shows you where to go shore fishing in Ontario.

Spring Perch Fishing

Use These Tips on Your Next Ontario Fishing Trip

Four Seasons of Bass in Ontario

Northern Ontario is home to year-round bass.

Top 5 Flies for Smallmouth Bass

The inside scoop on bass flies from the hosts of The New Fly Fisher.

Wag Your Tail For More Walleye, Bass and Trout

Fishing with friends brings camaraderie and a lesson, or two.

Eating Northern Pike

The Best Recipe to Cook This Fish

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.

Real Fishing at Mattawa River Resort

Mattawa River Resort offers an easy to get to location and unlimited fishing opportunities

Smallmouth Bass in Sunset Country

It's great to be a smallmouth angler in Sunset Country because of the numbers and size of bass.

Ontario Brook Trout

Fish these 10 sweet spots.

Year Round Fishing in Ontario

Who Says You Can’t Fish All Year in Ontario?

3 Great Ontario Walleye Destinations

Karl of Extreme Angler recommends must do walleye lakes in Ontario.

Perfect Shore Lunch

Try This Award-Winning Recipe

Terrestrial Flies for Brook Trout

These fish feed like crazy and look for opportunities for a big protein meal.

Nipigon Brook Trout

Experience some high caliber Trout Fishing in Northwestern Ontario.

Top 5 Wet flies for Brook Trout

Fly Fishers describe their favourite brookie flies.

Lake of the Woods

10 Facts You Didn't Know