I’ve been chasing a trophy smallmouth for almost 20-years now. The trophy I’m chasing happens to be a monster 22-inch bronzeback I caught back in 1994 on a trip to southern Lake of the Woods, Ontario and 19 years later I’m still trying to land one bigger.
I’m going to change that in 2013 by returning to one of Ontario’s many trophy smallmouth destinations. Today, I’ll share with what I believe are the best bets, water where 2- to 3-pound bass are common, four pounders are likely and where something north of 22-inches is a definite possibility.
We didn’t have a tape measure in the boat back in 1994 so we carved a notch in an oar to document the length of that brute. Using any conversion chart that bass likely weighed over 6 lbs! That explains why I’m still chasing that smallmouth in 2013.
Before releasing the beauty we took a photo that still hangs in my man cave next to pictures of my largest lake trout, walleye, brook trout and pike. The picture’s a little grainy, but you can make out my black beard that is now gray and the smallmouth bass I’m holding has never looked better!
So on to my top smallmouth hangouts in NW Ontario, Canada which I believe have the best smallmouth bass fishing in the world. If you love fishing for smallies – and have never caught one four pounds plus –I’d head to one of these lakes as fast as you can.
Rainy Lake and Lake of the Woods – because these lakes are well known and well traveled doesn’t diminish the awesome smallmouth fishing. Homes to two of Canada’s great bass tournaments, you’d need to catch at least a six pounder to take top fish honors each year. Don’t overlook Shoal Lake which is a little known offshoot of Lake of the Woods with monster bass.
Quetico Provincial Park – you’ll need a canoe and a tent to enter this smallmouth paradise just across the border from International Falls, MN, but it is worth the effort to fish these seldom traveled lakes and rivers. The park is gigantic and in some spots your lure might be the first any smallmouth has seen all year. There are no motors allowed, or live bait for that matter and planes can’t even fly overhead. Total Wilderness.
Little Vermillion Lake – near Sioux Lookout this lake is like many classic smallmouth lakes in NW Ontario, deep, gin clear, cold water lake full of rocky shoals where smallmouth spend the summer eating crayfish. Don’t be shocked if you hook up with a muskie as they are common in this lake.
If you have a favorite Smallmouth hangout I’d love to hear about it – here’s to all of us catching a trophy in 2013!
Editors Note: Joel Prunty is the president of Fishhulo,llc and is passionate about using his expertise in Canadian wilderness travel to assist anglers and hunters in planning adventures of their very own. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.