Canada!

   I recently spent a long weekend on Sugar Lake in Seguin, Ontario. It’s a water body of modest size with a maximum depth around 60ft. Several internet searches made in preparation yielded practically no information, so I was left to rely on the friends I was staying with for information. Happily, I was not disappointed.

What seems to be typical conditions on Sugar Lake, Ontario

     After an early morning excursion into Parry Sound with stops at Walmart for a license and a bait shop for minnows we hit the water around 10am. I was accompanied by Jay and Mike, two of my hosts, and my daughter Ella. She got the first fish of the day, a small rock bass. My three companions were using bait, either worms or minnows, and had better luck than I did. I used several different lures, including some large spoons and medium-sized stick baits. We hit up several different structure types, including deep bays, shorelines grading into deeper water, and rocky islands. After several hours on the water things had been fairly slow. We only boated a handful of smallmouth, the largest of which was around the 2lb mark. Perhaps the highlight of the outing was when Ella couldn’t find her bobber on the water. She asked me if it had gone under, and indeed it had. I finally spotted it about five feet down, with a respectable smallmouth attached to it. We didn’t come anywhere near getting that one to the boat, but Ella had fun just the same. Later that afternoon I fished off the dock for a bit, with no luck.

Jay with, what I am told, is a typical Sugar Lake smallmouth.

     Day two got off to a better start when morning dock fishing yielded a few modest smallmouth. The fish seemed to like a silver Rapala husky jerk about 3″ long. After heading out in the boat our first stop was along an island shoreline we tried the day before. I hooked into a smallie estimated to be two or three pounds, but it shook the hook after a brief fight. The next few spots produced minimal excitement.
     Our final stop of the day was at an island with a rocky drop-off. I cast my silver Rapala and had a strike the second it hit the water. After a late hook set I had it on just long enough to get a jump, then it was off. It looked like a three-pounder. Jay had the next fish of note, on a perch-pattern Rapala. After a decent fight we got it to the net, a respectable fish in the four pound range. Things seemed to slow down with lures, so Jay switched back to bait. Mike, who had been using worms and minnows all along, tied into the next good fish, also about four pounds. Shortly after that I made a bad cast and had to break of my trusty Rapala, which prompted me to give the nightcrawlers a try. This decision was rewarded shortly thereafter when I set the hook on what certainly felt like a significant fish. Sadly, my drag was still set high from breaking off my lure. One good tug was all it took for the fish to end the fight.

Mike with a smallmouth that fell victim to the humble worm.

     After a bit of dock fishing that afternoon with the kids we hit the water for an hour or so trolling for pike. This was not a terribly formal operation, but it had potential to work. Mike drove while Jay and I each manned a trolling rod tipped with a large, jointed plug. We made a large, amoeba-shaped circuit around various islands, channels, and shorelines. Our efforts were unproductive, but we had fun anyway.
     We rounded out the experience that evening with smallmouth fillets, bathed in buttermilk, breaded and fried in butter. All who partook agreed that it was excellent. It was easily some of the best smallmouth I have ever tasted. I suspect it was the cold Canadian water but it may just as easily have been the combination of a relaxed vacation spent with good company.
     

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