Ask most anglers and they’ll tell you the reason they love bass so much is the sport. Larger bass (5 lbs+) are tough to hook and put up quite a fight once you do. They aren’t tremendously difficult to catch, but the challenge is real.
Enough people are happy to eat their catch, but most bass anglers practice catch and release. Some do this for the Green aspect of it, but most do it to make sure their favourite lakes aren’t reduced to 2-4 pounders.
Regardless of why and how you fish for bass, the first step is to know where to look. Check out these record setters from across the nation so you now what you're up against.
|Species:||Where Caught:||Weight (Ibs):|
|Bass, largemouth||Preston Lake, On||10.43|
|Bass, rock||York River, ON||3.00|
|Bass, smallmouth||BirchbarkLake, ON||9.84|
|Bass, striped||Mira River, NS||54.06|
|Bass, white||Lake Ontario||3.02|
Yukon Territory, Northwest Territories, Newfoundland/Labrador, Nunavut, Alberta
Sorry guys, seems you’re out of luck. Either that or you’re extremely good at keeping your fishing info a secret.
The government tried to introduce bass into these areas, but climate prevented the species from reproducing, or so the story goes.
Vaseaux Lake & Queen Charlotte Islands
Expect 2 to 4 pound catches with an occasional 6-pound monster. Make sure to check out the Okanagan Falls on the way through. Heads up though, Vaseaux Lake doesn’t allow motors on the water. You’ll have to paddle your Legend.
If you’re having trouble locating Queen Charlotte Islands, the area was renamed Haida Gwaii a few years back to acknowledge the history of the Haida Nation. The name translates as "islands of the people" in the Haida language, and is known as “The Galapagos of the North”.
Boundary Dam & Parkberg
There are a few questionable smallmouth bass locations. You can try your luck at Konuto Lake or Parkbeg. SERM (Saskatchewan Environment and Resource Management) stocked a few of these lakes back in around 2005 but the jury is out in regards to the species thriving or dying off.
If you’re looking for a sure thing, you’re better off heading south to Boundary Dam where the largemouth variety thrives.
Rice Lake & Winnipeg River
Smallmouth Bass can be caught across the Province, ranging in size from 19 to 22 inches. This is all thanks to the efforts of fisheries and the enthusiastic response of the angling public.
Top producing fisheries include Rocky Lake, Winnipeg River, Echo Lake, Shoe Lake, Quesnel Lake, Booster Lake, Crowduck Lake, and Shoal Lake.
But, our favourites are Rice Lake (where the Provincial record was set at 61.60 cm or 24.25”) and the Deloraine Reservoir because it’s close enough to the border that Saskatchewan neighbours can swing by and try their luck.
Lake Simcoe & Beaver Lake
There are hundreds of Bass lakes to choose from - including the Great Lakes - but we prefer a more intimate connection with nature, and we also avoid spending our weekend hours on the road instead of on the water. Whenever possible, we stay close to home.
Lake Simcoe and Beaver Lake have several things in common. Both are home to many species of fish including Largemouth and smallmouth bass, and both are close to Legend Boats retail locations; Innisfil (Barrie) and Whitefish (Sudbury).
Lac Gattica, Lac du Sourd & Lac Kipawa
The further North you head the less likely you are to run into a bass, so stick to the South end of this province for your large and smallmouth bassing adventures.
You can catch your fill in the St. Lawrence or the Ottawa River but, as always, we prefer to steer away from the beaten path. Check out these or dozens of other small lakes and you won’t walk away empty handed.
Little River Lake & Harvey Lake
If you’re looking for volume, hit up Little River Lake where the 2 to 3 pounders are biting all day every day. If it’s size you’re after set your sites on Harvey lake where smallmouth bass are tipping the scale a little closer to the 5-pound mark.
New Brunswickians haven’t plunged into the bass scene at full steam just yet so - since there’s no current danger of over-fishing - the season is a little longer than average running from mid-April through mid-October.
Prince Edward Island
Hillsborough River & Pisquid River
The reason for the striped bass population booming is unclear, but the recent return jump is a breath of fresh air compared to the declining populations of virtually every other species in the region.
Even though bass is currently abundant, we should aim to keep it that way. Catch and release is recommended.
Grand Lake & Ten Mile Lake
Grand Lake offers 3.5 pounders all day long while Ten Mile Lake boasts a little closer to the 5-pound mark. Whichever you choose, expect 25-30 bites from an all day effort.
With a reduction in other freshwater species and the popularity of Bass Tournaments being aired on TV, Bass fishing is rapidly becoming a passion for Maritimers. Get in now before the competition becomes too fierce.
Watch Your Bass
Black Bass Species
Temperate Bass Species
Tips for Catching Bass
Don’t just look for them in darker waters. Although it’s true that they don’t have eyelids, sunlight doesn’t hurt their eyes. They swim in all sorts of water.
Bass thrive in waters ranging from 4 to 32 degrees Celcius. Optimum temperatures range from 15 to 24 when their metabolism speeds up and they get hungry.
Use a variety of baits. Bass feed on perch, sunfish, and minnows, crayfish, insects, frogs, and even small aquatic birds.
Bass feed where the forage is. Odds of catching a bass improve if forage is combined with a good amount of cover, oxygen, and favourable temperatures.
Try mid-range bait. Larger bait doesn’t necessarily mean a larger catch. Bass generally choose medium-sized forage food when given a choice. Match the hatch
There you have it! If you've never tried bass fishing before, it's about time you tried. Opening weekend is just around the corner, so get that Legend Boat in tip-top shape and start planning your trip.
Keep an eye out for our Profiles of Pickerel coming in the next few weeks.
Each Province and Territory is broken up into Zones which have unique Open/Close dates for bass. We scoured the web to find this awesome tool - all you have to do is enter your details and you'll get a list of all the zones and you'll get the info you need.
Yours In Boating,