I think deep down in everyone there is a voice telling you to get out and explore. It’s human nature to be curious about what’s over the next hill. We have lakes north of the border where you need to ride a half hour on an ATV to reach some of these treasures. When you get there you will be blown away. These lakes see very little fishing pressure throughout the year and bass will almost attack anything you throw in the water. You can catch some very large bass in these back water lakes but, you will have to weed through a lot of smaller fish. I keep all my gear pretty simple since I need to pack it in and out of the bush.
Getting to these lakes is not as hard as a lot of people think. Yes, it requires a little preparation and some homework before hand. Some of the Provincial Parks here in Ontario (if you choose to fish in them) require you to buy a pass. It’s a small fee but well worth it, in the end. You can go to the local Government office and pick up a map of the area and it will tell you everything you need to know, direction wise. Some lakes are day trips while a lot of them can be overnight trips. We have so many lakes in the area that you can set up camp, fish one lake then fish another lake the next day. A short portage is all it takes sometimes. Most of the trails are marked so there is very little bush whacking needing to be done. It’s all worth it in the end when you leave the lake with very little skin left on your thumbs from lipping all those bass.
My tackle selection is kept to a minimum. I bring a lot of soft plastics with me as well as a few poppers, spinnerbaits, frogs and the odd crankbait. A lot of people make the mistake of bringing in baits that are too large. These lakes are smaller so the bait is smaller. I’m not bringing a 10” worm into these lakes, 5”-6” is all you need. Matching the hatch is the key. I’m also not bringing in a bunch of rods either, 2 at the very most. I normally have a Dobyns 704SF and a Lews Lazer Speed Spool spooled with 20lbs braided line. I use a Medium/Heavy action rod because sometimes bass are not the only predator in the water. Sometimes you need to deal with Northern Pike, Walleye, Lake Trout and Brook Trout. All very tasty fish in case you ever want a shore lunch. A two piece rod is best for these backwater experiences. Break them down and tie them to your backpack and away you go. For a one piece rod, I keep it in a rod glove and tied to the canoe while we are portaging. It’s just one less thing you have bouncing around your head.
Important gear to also bring in is:
Toilet Paper: when nature calls and it’s also good fire starter. Don’t get caught using Poison Ivy
Bear Spray: We share these woods with a lot of Black Bears. Sow’s with cubs become extremely aggressive.. So be careful and just let the bears leave before you press on.
Bug Spray: Come Spring and early summer you can get eaten alive. These Mosquitoes’ and Black Flies can be tamed with bug spray (most of the time). Horse flies are a different story, no spray works for them. A bug jacket works best for these big guys.
Water Proof Matches: You never know if you get stranded over night and you need to build a fire. Also, a shore lunch of fresh fish is always nice.
Remember that these lakes are for everyone to use.. I hate having to bring back bags of garbage from these places. Often you have the entire lake to yourself, let’s keep it clean. The Ministry of Natural Resources, Ontario Parks and Park Canada try to keep it clean, maintain the trails and campsites. Let’s do our part and remove whatever we bring in so future generations can enjoy these pristine treasures as much as we do.