Thinking back to the early days of my childhood, I can still remember parts of my first fishing experiences that took place on Lake Kashwakamak. Thanks to a family friend that owned a lodge on the lake, my family was able to visit several times a year and experience the outdoor lifestyle on just one of the many lakes in the Land O’ Lakes region. Trolling for walleye with Rapala’s in Arnold’s boat was one of my favourite childhood memories. Little did I know at the time how these experiences would shape my future and instill a lifelong passion for fishing. The Land O’ Lakes region has over five-thousand lakes and rivers for anglers to choose from and create unforgettable fishing memories that last a lifetime.
Each year I make it a mission to fish on new lakes in the region. Every lake and body of water has it’s own unique charm and it’s always exciting to explore a new area. Whether it’s by boat, canoe or kayak, the opportunities are literally endless, as the famous saying goes: ‘It would take 13 years to fish a different lake each day in the Land O’ Lakes.’ At only 29 years old, I haven’t even scratched the surface yet and I look forward to spending the rest of my life exploring what the region has to offer. A few lakes that are among my favourites include: Sydenham, Loughborough, Stocco, Silver, Beaver, the Napanee River, and Palmerston. This list grows each year!
Some of my preferred summer species to target include: largemouth and smallmouth bass, northern pike, and muskellunge. Although I spend most of my time on these warm water species, there are still many other angling opportunities in the summer and throughout the rest of the year in this four-season fishing destination.
Largemouth and smallmouth bass can be found in most all of the lakes in the region. While their habitats may differ slightly, largies and smallies can still be found in many of the same types of habitats. Largemouth prefer warmer water and relate to structure such as weed beds, lily pads, fallen trees and docks. Smallmouth can usually be found in cooler and clearer water and relate to rocks, and areas with sandy or hard bottom. Both species are a riot to catch and put up a respectable battle.
Northern pike also populate several of the lakes in the region and grow to impressive sizes. They inhabit areas similar to largemouth and can be found in brackish waters. Unless there are musky around, pike tend to hold the top of the food chain and will even stalk your lure all the way to the boat as it is retrieved. Pike show no mercy on their prey and thus put up a great fight on the end of your line!
Musky are not as common throughout the Land O’ Lakes, which makes proper catch and release essential to sustain the population. Known as the ‘fish of ten-thousand casts’ musky fishing takes a little more dedication and knowledge to be successful. The proper tools and equipment must be used to handle these fish to enable a quick ‘catch and release’. As such a powerful fish, musky will put on quite the show for anglers with headshakes and full jumps clear out of the water. Musky are one of my favourite species to target and it’s easy to see why perseverance pays off!
Whether it’s smallmouth, largemouth, northern pike or even musky that you’re after, the Land O’ Lakes has it all and much more. Come explore this region and experience the great fishing it has to offer!