River Bass Bonanza

Fishing beautiful Mistinikon Lake for Smallmouth Bass

I have a serious angling addiction. I am addicted to smallmouth bass.

It doesn’t matter if they are big or small, I love them all, especially those big-backed brown bass that live in river systems, they fight like wild hawgs on a shore leash.

angler fishing bass

On a recent road trip to Northeastern Ontario near Matachewan, we had the opportunity to once again fish the beautiful Mistinikon Lake which is a part of the Montreal River system with over one hundred miles of shoreline filled with smallmouth bass, walleye and northern pike. We stayed with the gracious hosts of Horseshoe Island Camp, a boat-in facility with twelve housekeeping cottages built on the waterfront for spectacular views of Mistinikon Lake.

horseshoe island camp

Boating on Lake Mistinikon is no problem when you rent one of the well-maintained boats and motors at the Camp. The equipment is all well maintained to provide you with hassle-free boating. Like many of the guests, we brought our own boat as the docking and launching facilities can accommodate any sized boat. The rentals include boat seats, life jackets, paddles and anchors all at no extra charge.

Rough water is never a hazard and camp guests find their way about easily without the added expense of a guide. When you arrive, they will reveal all their favourite spots on the topographical map and show you the best tackle for the conditions.

angler fishing bass

Our trip was in September and almost prime time for the big smallmouth to gorge before winter. With water temperatures still in the low 70s, we decided to target the bigger smallmouth bass with noisy topwater baits and trigger bites from these bulky brown bass.

With an assortment of Yo-Zuri hard baits that included prop baits and loud poppers with water-spitting cupped lips and traditional walking-style baits, we had no problem locating some beautiful bass in the three to five-pound range along the countless rocky points, shoals, reefs and around the fallen trees along the shorelines. Soft plastic crawfish imitations worked well on the deeper fish roaming the sand/gravel, weed flats, and shoals.

bass fishing

We fished the system for three days straight and saw maybe three other boats in total fishing for walleye or trolling for northern pike. The smallmouth bass here have no pressure whatsoever and respond accordingly to baits and presentations from season opener to closing.

It really is that good.

With its one hundred miles of shoreline and twenty-four miles of water, Mistinikon Lake is an angler’s playground. Mistinikon provides the perfect habitat for walleye, northern pike and smallmouth bass from rock formations, bays, depth, and numerous islands.

aerial landscape

Known for its trophies in all categories as well as an abundance of great eating sizes, Horseshoe Island enjoys an above-average list of guests that visit at least once per season, some can proudly boast have been vacationing here for 30-plus years. In other words, they strive to treat your vacation time as we would like our vacation time to be treated – get us to the spots that produce tight lines quickly and they do that year in and year out. Mistinikon Lake gets a well-deserved rest each winter with the absence of ice fishing on the lake.

Horseshoe Island is conveniently located in the center of the lake and just a short five-minute boat ride from the parking lot.

Do you want to book a cottage, a fishing package, and/or a hunting package? They would love to make that happen so you can experience the magical moments of big fat smallmouth bass dancing on the surface by contacting the camp at the numbers and website below.



Teaser from our trip

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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