Why the "Sound" brings anglers back year after year for bass fishing

Smallmouth bass are truly one of the most sought-after game fish by visitors to Ontario. Walleye are a classic tradition, that will never change. Trout, huge northern pike, trophy-size muskie, and now slab-sized crappie have all risen the ladder in terms of swimming critters that vacationing visitors so desire during their yearly excursions to our wonderful wilderness province.

So, where does that leave ol’ Bucketmouth bass?

You know, Mr. Largemouth, the fat green bass that are rated #1 in the United States in terms of most sought-after freshwater gamefish. Many Northern Ontario lakes, rivers, and reservoirs harbour good numbers and size of largemouth bass, but one particular region, just hours away from the big city of Toronto, has caught my attention, and addiction and that is the Parry Sound District.

aerial parry sound ontario

Parry Sound is a town in Ontario, Canada, located on the eastern shore of the sound after which it is named. Parry Sound is located 160 km (99 mi) south of Sudbury and 225 km (140 mi) north of Toronto, located along a highway which currently bears the dual designation of Highway 69/Highway 400. It is a popular cottage country region for Southern Ontario residents. 

It also has the world’s deepest natural freshwater port.

The eastern coast of Georgian Bay, where Parry Sound is located, is known as the "30,000 Islands," and is considered the world's largest freshwater archipelago. It covers 347,000 hectares of shoreline ecosystems.

Parry Sound, and much of Northern Ontario, are well known for their tourism businesses. Accommodation businesses range from hotels and full-service resorts to lodges and camping grounds. Sightseeing tours of the 30,000 Islands are offered by Georgian Bay Airways, and the Island Queen and M.V. Chippewa III cruise ships. Kayak and canoe rentals and tours are available during the summer, as well as winter sporting gear rentals during the winter.

The town is home to an annual ATV Jamboree and guided ATV tours of the region's wilderness are available throughout the year. There are several golf courses located in and near Parry Sound; ice hockey, fishing, and softball are also popular recreational sports in the area. Famous NHLer Bobby Orr played minor hockey for the Parry Sound Shamrocks.

But it’s the excellent largemouth bass fishing that brings me back to the “Sound” every year in search of that big, fat, lazy, green and black bass that inhabit just about every lake in this northern region.

Some of the biggest largemouth bass ever to grace the television screens of our viewers and followers have come from the waters of the Parry Sound district.

Largemouth in the 6-plus-pound class are a regular occurrence each season, with some true monsters hooked, lost, or merely seen.

There are several provincial parks in the Parry Sound area, including Oastler Lake, The Massasauga, and Killbear, as well as numerous provincial conservation reserves, including the Georgian Bay Biosphere Reserve, one of only 13 UNESCO sites in Canada.

aerial view 30,000 island georgian bay

The opportunities are endless for the small boat angler in the Parry Sound district. Depending on weather conditions, you could venture onto the larger lakes and fish the many back bays and mid-lake weed beds, rice fields, or rocky shoals that all harbour good numbers of largemouth bass. Or you could choose a smaller body of water that is less affected by wind conditions, and yet still offers countless locations to search for that largemouth of the year.

The Parry Sound district has many lodge and resort operators that cater specially to vacationing anglers and their families, easily accessible from major highways and paved roads.

Some of the best techniques and tactics to catch largemouth bass in this region include pitching or flipping soft plastic baits and/or jigs into the heaviest natural structure or cover you can find.

Weed beds abound in the lakes in this region, yet do not choke the lakes’ access and are usually found in every back bay, cove, or river mouth on the lakes you choose to fish.

This region also features those classic Ontario rugged, rocky shorelines, and countless numbers of islands of every shape and size, offering many prime locations for schools of largemouth bass.

Topwater lures such as poppers, buzz baits, and walking-style baits like the Strike King Sexy Dawg are excellent choices fished above the weed beds at any time of the day.

Spinnerbaits, shallow-running crankbaits, and shad-style baits like Caffeine shads are deadly when fished slowly on the edges of weed beds and shorelines with mixed rock and sparse weed.

Don’t be surprised to hook that smallmouth of a lifetime in these same locations, as ol’` bronze back bass inhabits the same locations as Mr. Largemouth on a lot of lakes in Northern Ontario, especially in the Parry Sound District.

What is my favourite time of year to fish for largemouth bass in Parry Sound?

The season usually opens in late June (check local regulations for actual dates each season), and some of my best catches have come from mid-July to late October when the bigger largemouth are putting on the feed bag before winter hibernation.

Next time you’re searching Ontario regions for your next angling adventure or vacation, consider Parry Sound, home of the “30,000 Islands” and many thousands more largemouth bass just waiting for you.

Click here to visit Parry Sound & Area

Mill Lake Cottage Resort

During some recent trips to Parry Sound and the area, we have stayed at the very comfortable and stylish Mill Lake Cottage Resort, which has a unique blend of proximity and privacy helping you settle into the “holiday mode” regardless of your trip duration. The resort property is bordered by a large area of wilderness, so you will feel that you are in the heart of cottage country. Yet, you are only a short distance from the town of Parry Sound and Georgian Bay.  All of the cottages offer exceptional views of Mill Lake and are on the shoreline—some practically touch the water’s edge.

There are five cottages at Mill Lake Cottage Resort and are well-spaced and private. Every cottage has a private deck, picnic table, three or four-piece bathroom, fully equipped kitchen, propane BBQ, and satellite TV. There is no such thing as roughing it at this place. Have a peek at some of the photos in this article and judge for yourself, we really enjoy our visits with these fine folks.

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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