Big Lake (O) Bachelor Party

Bachelor Parties.  A time in a persons life where they celebrate the single lifestyle one last time before they take the plunge into marriage.  For many this means bars, strip clubs, drinking, maybe even gambling.  However recennt trends seem to be leaning towards trips that are somewhat more memorable.  Canoe trips into the wild, summiting a mountain, renting heavy equipment and going to town in a field for a weekend.  It seems sharing a mutually enjoyable and memorable experience is the new thing.

I recently found myself taking part in the planning of a bachelor party for a good friend, and felt the need to come up with an experience that was memorable, surprising and exciting all rolled into one.  The groom (Jamie) had recently discovered his love for fishing which naturally led me towards the idea of a fishing charter.  With the salmon and trout season still in full swing on Lake O, my choice was almost predetermined.  After convincing the other BP attendees that getting up at 3:00 am was a good idea, we booked the charter with Joe from Salmon Tracker Charters and set about thinking of a way to get the groom to the boat.

The day of party arrived, and the goom and I made our way towards Ajax under some pretty solid false pretenses and directed him towards Frenchman Bay Marina where he conveniently bumped into his father, brother, and two close friends.  All waiting in the parking lot with a tied look in their eyes and a cooler full of snacks.

We met on C Dock and boarded a beautiful boat that comfortably seated six plus the captain.  Joe as courteous and knowledgeable and quickly familiarized us with the boat and the days itinerary.  Joe came highly recommended by my Uncle, who guided on Lake O for salmon and trout for many years.  In my opinion, if my uncle recommends you, that means you have some serious street cred in the fishing community.

Joe’s boat was perfect for 6 blokes looking to score some big fish, and Joes prowess as a captain would live up to the luxury of his boat. Joe had two games plans, stick close for staging king salmon, or go deep for cohos and Rainbows.  After consulting with some other captains and learning that fishing was lean near shore, Joe chose option B and took us several kms out into the blue waters of Lake Ontario.

The first fish hit quick and was ceremoniously reeled in by the groom.  Not a big fish, but the little shaker made up for it by its sheer presence and determination on the line. Catching anything right off the bat, no matter the size will put a smile on your face.

We decided to take turns and chose a batting ordered that favoured those who had not fished in several years.  That said, Jamie’s Dad, Dennis, was next up to bat,  and what a swing he took!  The battle was on and it became clear early on that what ever was on the other end of Dennis’s line wasn’t tiny.  In fact, it ended up being a beautiful 18lb rainbow trout.  Quite the trophy for someone who hadn’t fished in over 10 years.

Next up was Jamie’s brother Mike who landed another respectable rainbow which led to another happy fisherman.

As much as we were bucking the normal customs of typical Bachelor Parties, we felt obligated to include a few traditions, such as the customary Cuban Cigar

The battle continued and action remained steady.  Time for old Davey T to step up and take a turn.

Next up was Justin.  At first, the fish didn’t want to play ball for Justin as several were lost at or close to the boat.  Finally however, a small King decided to commit and made Justin’s Day.  Unfortunately the little guy took some battle damage which made him a prime candidate for the cooler.  Perfect size for a meal.

The author even got to take a turn.  After loosing what we think was a monster to a broken line (no seriously, I promise it was huge!!!), I managed to boat a respectable rainbow trout.  Surprisingly enough, this guy was my biggest rainbow so far. Actually come to think of it, it was my only wild rainbow I have ever caught!

Overall we boated about 7 fish and lost another 10 or so.  Enough to keep us busy and quite the days work for a group of gents who got up at 3:30 to drive from Kingston.  The experience was memorable for everyone, Most of all for the groom.  He obviously had no idea what was in store for him which made the day that much more memorable.

The bachelor party continued with food and drink in downtown Toronto where great times were had by all.

Congratulations on your upcoming marriage Jamie.  All the best to you and your bride for the future.

Cheers from the boat,


Crotch Lake & Tumblehome Lodge

Most avid anglers have a list of places they would love to fish.  I am no different and Crotch has held a spot on my list for a while.  Partly because it is local but also because Ive heard the walleye fishing here is pretty good.  Till now I have never been able to venture out on Crotch but when a friend of mine named me his best man and wanted me to throw a modest outdoor bachelor party I started looking closer at Crotch Lake.  Finally, after much research I decided we would stay at Tumblehome lodge, which is located at the southern tip of Crotch Lake.

That’s a lot of Crotches right? Alright, go ahead, get all of the crotch jokes out of your system before reading further.


Great, because although the fishing was average when compared to walleye powerhouses like lake Nippissing or Bay of Quinte, it was a dynamite weekend for the area and deserves a serious report.

To prepare for the weekends festivities, I took Friday off and hit the road at 8:30, heading north towards a weekend of fishing and most likely drunken debauchery.  They guys were starting to call the weekend “Sausage Fest at Crotch Lake” and they were looking forward to some heavy drinking.  I just hoped we would at least get some fishing in between the beer and harassment of the groom.

So I Loaded my car with a ridiculous amount of beer and hopes for catching fish and I arrived at Crotch lake an hour and 45 minutes later.

For those of you who don’t know, the most direct route to Crotch lake from Kingston is to take highway 38 through Verona, turn left onto highway 7 and then turn again onto Highway 509.  Take a left onto Ardoch Road, and 15 minutes later you will arrive.



Although there is a launch at the North end of the Lake, the best access point is by Far Tumblehome Lodge located at the southern tip.  The folks here know the Lake very well and are great to deal with.  Not to mention, Tumblehome Lodge has some of the best accommodations around with the best prices!  I can assure you, staying here will give you the best bang for your buck.




Now to the fishing.  Crotch lake is approximately 3,850 Acres in size with 55 miles of shoreline.  Lake depths extend up to 100 ft and the majority of the lake is 20 + ft deep.  Crotch lake has very little weed growth due to its sharp sloped rocky shores and hard rock bottom.  This translates into a lot less Largemouth bass and a lot more Smallmouth.

We started by tackling the bass population in the lake which included testing out the few weedbeds we encountered and hitting the rocky shores and drop-offs with jigs and crank baits.  Mediocre success was had with a few largemouths caught every trip and about double the amount of smallmouths.  The odd Pike fell to our tactics as well.  Although the numbers weren’t huge, we did catch some decent size fish.  We even saw a few guys with a 4lb 7oz beast as we were coming off the lake.

The wind continued to be a problem throughout the weekend as the wind direction was perfectly inline with the lake’s fetch.  Thankfully it was nothing the green machine couldn’t handle.



With our bass appetite sated, it was time to chase some gold around the lake.  Catching the smallmouth had been a “first” for the groom and he was looking to add another “first” to his repertoire by catching a walleye.  Our attempts to catch walleye included pitching jigs, trolling spinner baits and running bottom bouncers at depths between 18 and 40 ft.  All of these techniques produced fish, however, I caution the use of bottom bouncers due to the large amount of boulders and rocks littering the lake bottom.  You will loose tackle on this lake with this method!  We had pretty good success for Walleye and the numbers remained consistent with 2 to 3 walleye caught every time we ventured out for a fish.  Not to mention the odd incidental smallmouth.  Fish measured between 15 and 18 inches landing a few squarely in the slot size (15.7 to 19.5inches).  We did witness a larger 3+ lb beast caught by another angler when we returned from one of the morning runs.


Look at the colour on these fish!


(A face only a mother could love!)




I am sure those of you who are dedicated walleye fisherman are probably laughing at these sizes and weights I am posting.  Even though they are not huge, I ask you to think about the sizes compared to walleye fishing in the general area.  Walleye are a hard species to come by near Kingston and they are heavily fished across southern Ontario.  Not to mention this was my first time fishing this lake.  All things considered, the trip was a success.

We certainly enjoyed the fishing on Crotch, not to mention the quality accommodations and delicious beer.

I am sure the bachelor party/fishing trip will not soon be forgotten.


Cheers from the Wild