Fishing in the Golden Triangle
I live in what I consider to be the GOLDEN TRIANGLE of fishable water in Eastern Ontario. In any direction I have rivers or lakes to fish. From small steams and lakes for trout to large waterways and bigger lakes for most any species of fresh water fish you can think of. I could write a book about the numerous bodies of water within an hours drive of my home but I will limit this to a few of the ones I have fished personally. I won't get much into techniques at this time but will in later articles.
Let me start with the closet lake to me and that is Mississippi Lake which is situated 20 minutes from Ottawa. It's a mostly shallow lake with the average depth being about 6 feet but with depths of 25 feet in the Big Lake. It's an awesome lake for largemouth and pan fish with its many bays. If you like weed fishing and top water this is one of the better lakes to practice your skills. It has a good population of walleye and in the spring can be very productive for crappie. These are also taken during the winter through the ice, which is very popular, as well as some really nice perch. I love to fish for smallmouth bass which can be challenging at times. I am constantly trying to win a tournament with a limit of smallmouth, haven't done it yet but I am still trying, some day it will happen. I have seen some huge specimens that I know are 5 lbs or more. The bigger ones are elusive but you can catch quite a lot of the smaller ones in the 1 to 2 lb range. I have seen 5 lb largemouth weighed in at tournaments also. The walleye can be trolled for or get a jig and find some weeds and jig up a few but watch out for the hammer handles as they are like eating jigs as well as spinnerbaits. It's a great lake for the kids.
One of my favorite lakes to fish and guide on is Big Rideau Lake. It stretches from Smiths Falls to past Portland and has some of the most varied selection of water to fish. The species of fish in this lake are crappie, smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, pike, trout and recently some walleye have been showing up. It is part of the Rideau Canal system and can be separated into Lower Rideau Lake and Big Rideau Lake. It has lots of shallow water in the Lower portion and when you travel through the narrows the max depth of Big Rideau is over 300ft. This is where you will find most of the trout fisherman during the summer. Any number of days, once trout season opens, you can find boats trolling for lake trout. I like to fish the big weed beds of Big Rideau and the shoals which can hold some good numbers of smallmouths. There are numerous cottages as it is a gorgeous lake just to visit. There are access points from the many marinas as well as a launches at a two conservation parks and one at Beveridge lock station. You could literally spend a few years on this lake and not fish to all the spots, that's why it's called BIG Rideau. For advice visit Bennett's Bait's and Tackle in Smiths Falls, Shaun and Wayne will help you select the right lure for the species you are after. Local knowledge is very helpful, here's their website: //www.bennettstackle.com/
The Rideau Canal which stretches from Ottawa in the north to Kingston in the south has so much water in itself would be another book. The reach from Long Island Locks to Burritt's Rapids Locks is very popular not only for fisherman but for all types of boaters and other watercraft. It can get pretty hectic on a Saturday or Sunday from June to September so I don't usually fish it until after Labor Day. It is narrow in some areas and with the traffic and wakes from the big cruisers it can make fishing challenging during the peak season. However it is not to be over looked as some good largemouth and smallmouth can be caught with numerous crappies being angled for in the spring from boats as well as from shore. In fact I usually start visiting the locks in the spring and hit a couple bridges for crappie and barbot. Once the walleye season opens you can get them in the weeds as well as some rock points. For those carp fishermen it's loaded with them now and you can watch them rolling in the shallows during their spawn. I know of a few anglers who target them with a bow as there is season for them. The rock bass are abundant and so are muskies which are targeted from June through to the end of November. My personal biggest muskie came on a tube jig in the fall and it measured over 40 inches. I catch more muskies on this stretch of water in the fall fishing for smallmouth bass than I can remember.
Next let's go to Ottawa River and specifically the portion above Ottawa which stretches from the Des Chenes Rapids to Fitzroy harbor. I spent 7 years just fishing this body of water. Most anyone who fished this portion would recognize the name Shirley's Bay, a very productive area for crappie, walleye, pike, largemouth, smallmouth and muskie. Also some of the lesser sought after species are gar-pike, catfish, and carp. In fact my first gar-pike came from the Shirley's Bay area. And I have caught 14 inch crappies that weighed almost 2lbs, a great meal. Along with Shirley's Bay is the area around Aylmer Island and the shoals nearby. Once you learn the water and a map is a must, you can run in and around the various shoals without incident but beware don't go without a MAP. As you travel upstream there is a lot of fishable water and the smallmouth fishing is under-rated, probably because of the vast amount of water. Not only are there miles of productive shoreline but there are some good offshore humps that hold some big smallies. This is a very over looked body of water. There are literally thousands of catfish and in recent years they are showing up more and more in the creel numbers. If you want to have a fun day with the kids get some stink bait of even pepperttes, yes I said pepperttes and go crazy for catfish. The water has cleaned up a lot over the past 20 years and I don't hesitate eating any thing from this body of water. The area around Constance Bay can get a bit scary so be careful and study your maps but the walleye, gar-pike, catfish, largemouth bass and smallmouth bass are plentiful. Up near the dam at Fitzroy you can find more and more and more catfish and some of the bigger ones. You will need a good anchor but be careful when you get near the dam. Once they start releasing water staying anchored can be very dangerous. Find some deep water and some stink baits and you will get big catfish weighing as much as 15 lbs. These are fun to fish and the fight they put up is second to smallmouth bass. So you can see in a day you can catch many species. I have on a video one morning in May and we caught pike, walleye, smallmouth and muskie all on spinnerbaits. Later that morning we caught crappie and catfish on floats and crappie jigs. It was an awesome morning.
These are just a FEW of the numerous bodies I fish in my area and you can see why I call it the GOLDEN TRIANGLE. I haven't mentioned the St. Lawrence River yet which is another huge body of water that needs to be looked at in sections. I'm fishing the Berkley B1 this fall on Lake St Francis which can produce some tremendous smallmouth bass so I will wait to give you a report on that body of water after this season. Stay tuned and go try some of the waters I have mentioned and if you need some advice or some guidance DROP ME A LINE.