Top Ten Bass Spots in Western Canada - #8

A tranquil morning on Duck Lake.

Duck Lake
Average Depth:  3 feet
Maximum Depth:  10 feet
Surface Area:  15 square kilometres
Numbers of Bass:  Good  (100 fish days are possible)
Average Size:  Good  (Rumours of fish up to 10 pounds, biggest I've seen is 6.5)
Species:  Largemouth Bass, Pumpkinseed Sunfish, Yellow Perch.

Duck Lake doesn't have the bays and coves and multitude of structure that most bass lakes do, in fact it's almost polygonal in shape with little for the fish to relate to but enless weedbeds.  However, this fertile lake is home to some of the best largemouth bass fishing in the country and the shallow water and high fish population makes for fast, aggressive fishing. 

While fishing at Duck Lake has tapered off in the past ten years (arguably because of the high retention rates among anglers) fishing remains productive, with 30-50 fish days still common in the warmer months and good numbers of fish in the 2 to 4 pound class.  Spinnerbaits, rubber worms, and weedless swimbaits all work well, with black sluggos and jitterbugs being perennial local favourites.

A chunky Duck Lake largemouth.

Anglers looking to launch a boat on Duck Lake will do best from the south shoreline where there are many access points.  There is also a primitive boat launch midway up the lake on the west side, and an option to portage from the east side near the Sirdar Pub. 

Since Duck Lake is a part of the Creston Valley Wildlife Management area which means there is a ban on all forms of motors, so make sure to bring a strong friend who doesn't mind rowing.  While Duck Lake isn't a huge lake, it can feel pretty big when you have to get around with one manpower.  The wind can also blow up, usually from the North so plan accordingly. 

A pontoon boat is a great way to get around the shallow weedy flats of Duck Lake.

There are many stories about giant bass coming from Duck Lake, including one about a 10 pound 2 ounce specimen which was supposedly weighed in at the Sirdar Pub.  I've seen several fish over six pounds come out of this lake, and have lost a few that I imagined being bigger.  One particular fish smashed a topwater frog on a windy day as I was trying to control my canoe.  It proceeded to tear about 20 yards of line off my baitcaster before coming unbuttoned.  I reeled in only to find that the hooks on my frog had been straightened right out.  I can only guess at how big this fish may have been, but there were definitely images of that 10 pound bass running through my head. 

I started fishing Duck Lake back in high school.  This is a pic from the lake's glory days when fish such as this 5 pounder were common. 

There are other options for bass in the area.  The south end of Kootenay Lake is rumoured to have good numbers of largemouth, although I've only caught one and that was from shore.  There are also sloughs along the Kootenay River that should hold fish as well.  Leach Lake to the southwest of Duck Lake is also rumoured to be an excellent bass spot, similar to Duck Lake with even less pressure but I can't say I've ever met anyone who's fished it. 

Mawson's Sports in Creston has a wide variety of bass tackle.  The Turbo gas station in Wynndel also has a good selection.

Recommended Equipment
7' Baitcasting Combo with 50 pound braid (or at least 20 pound mono)
                 I recommend:  medium-heavy Abu Garcia Vendetta with a Orra reel 
6'6" Spinning Combo with 30 pound braid (or 12 pound mono - I like Berkley Trilene)
                 I recommend: medium-heavy Abu Garcia Vendetta with a Cardinal 30 series reel
A selection of spinnerbaits in a variety of colours (black, chartreuse, white, purple...)
Black sluggos rigged on 5/0 Offset hooks
               I recommend:  Berkley Power Slugs
Swimbaits rigged on 5/0 Offset hooks
                I recommend the Berkley Hollow Belly 5" Tennessee Shad or Blueback Herring
7" Rubber Worms rigged on a 4/0 worm or offset hook with a 3/8 oz worm weight
                I recommend Berkley Power Worms in Black, Green Pumpkin, or Junebug rigged with Ultra Tungsten weights which are more dense and better for the environment than lead.

Fish the spinnerbaits and swimbaits with your baitcaster and use the sluggos and worms with your spinning rod.

Shallow weedy water is the norm at Duck Lake.  Look close and you can see a deer swimming across the lake.

My buddy Ryan with a quality Duck Lake bass.

Duck Lake can be remarkably inconsistent, year-to-year and season-to-season.  It generally starts well early in the year, goes downhill in the post-spawn, stays stable in the summer and rebounds in the fall.  It's also a popular ice fishery with many large fish taken during the winter months.  While 100 fish days used to be very common here (Even 250 fish days!) the fishing has taken a decline in the past decade.  Some blame liberal limits, others attribute it to winterkill, but I can say for certain that not enough local anglers practice catch and release.  On more than one occasion in the past I have seen shore anglers with the back of their trucks full of good-sized bass, well more than their limit.
And I know for certain that the south end of the lake only fishes a fraction as well as it used to, as it receives the most pressure from shore.  All politics aside, it is still a phenomenal fishery and one worth checking out if you are ever in the area.

For more information on Duck Lake and the area, check out these websites:
//www.best-in-british-columbia.com/fishingforbass-kootenays.html
//www.theoutdoorquest.com/Articles/bc_bass.htm
//www.crestonwildlife.ca/

Thanks to everyone who voted Duck Lake #8 (with 6.1% of the vote) , including the Pacific Coast Bass Anglers, www.bassfishingbc.com, and the Facebook group:  Bass Anglers of B.C.  Stay tuned for #7!

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