Land O Lakes Fishing Derby – Kashawakamak Lake

The first annual Land o Lakes Smallmouth and Largemouth Derby was held last weekend on August 17, 2013.  The derby spanned across 5 different lakes in the Land O Lake region including Sharbot Lake, Loughborough, Desert, Big Gull and Kashawakamak.  These lakes represented some of the best fishing Southern Ontario has to offer.

Seeing as how the derby was right in my back yard I felt compelled to attend, but I was left with a nagging question; which lake do I fish?

After much deliberation, my Uncle, who decided to join me fort he derby, and I decided on a lake we both had never fished. Our choice? Kashawakamak Lake.  Renown for its smallmouth population, this lake promised to offer a change from the regular large mouth fishing I was used to and a chance to see a different lake in my neck of the woods.  Although I had no experience with this lake we were confident we could make something happen.

The lake itself is 15 kilometres (9 mi) long, 0.75 kilometres (0.5 mi) wide, has a surface area of 1,159.8 hectares.  The maximum depth of the lake is 22m. The lake bottom consists of sandy bays and rocky bottom with a large amount of fallen wood dotting the shores.  The thing that surprised me most about the lake was the lack of weed beds around the lake.  It seemed there were only a few to be found in some of the bays.  This posed a big problem for me and forced me to fish outside of my comfort zone.

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The derby started at 7:00 am on Saturday morning.  We launched at 6:15 and had chosen a spot to start by 6:30.  Not to many boats on the lake for the kick off which we had expected.  Chalk this up as another reason why we decided on Kashawakamak.

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My Uncle decided he would bring the Boatillac up for the derby.  Let me tell you, this Lund Fisherman really does live up to the moniker, the “Cadillac of boats”.

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Fishing started slow in the morning and we were cycling a variety of lures and techniques to try to coax out some fish.  It wass at this point I was praying the next bay held some weeds so I could drag out a mercy largemouth to at least get on the board.  No such luck.

We kept persistent and tried all sorts of different approaches and techniques.

Finally we cracked the code of the lake and the small mouth tap was turned on.  The final tally was around 23 small mouth with the biggest being around 2 lb 3oz.  No picture of the smallmouth though as we were kept pretty busy with fish on our rods.

Regardless of the action, we were still hungry for a monster.

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(one of the few weed beds we encountered).

Considering the extreme sun, clarity of the water and lack of wind that day we were convinced the fish were deep. And so we tried deep 20 – 40 FOW water.  No smallmouth but low and behold we caught a decent walleye.  This was a nice surprise and it signalled the end of the day.

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Sun beat and tired, we made our way back to the weigh station only see our 2lb 3oz fish was just under the third place spot.

Ah well, that’s fishing, and the lack of quality fish was offset by the numbers we caught.

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The weigh station staff were friendly, and the Derby Spokesperson Ashley Rae, from Captured TV did a great job of advertising and spreading the word for the derby.  Not to mention favouring one of my 5am tweets the morning of the derby (that’s dedication)!  Over all it was a good experience and we will definitely return next year.

Cheers From the Wild

Al

Learning Is Fungi

A friend of mine has recently kick-started a new website promoting outdoor education for young children.

I think kids in general do not get enough exposure to the outdoors and its good to see people utilizing the tools of internet and social media to remedy this.

Please give the website a look!

http://learningisfungi.com/#home

 

Cheers from the Wild

Albert

Lyme Disease Awareness

I recently found out that Steave Rinella, one of America’s most prominent young hunters and food advocates was diagnosed with Lyme Disease.  I felt compelled to post about this issue to raise awareness amongst Canadian Hunters.

Lyme disease is present throughout southern Ontario.  Transmitted by a small insect know as a deer tick, this disease is caused by a bacterium known as Borrelia Burgdorferi.  The disease is treatable, but gets progressively worse if left with out medical attention.

“The first symptom of the disease may include the appearance of a red target like rash around the bite.  Although this rash is not always present on an infected individual.

The common symptoms are:

  • fatigue;
  • chills;
  • fever;
  • headache;
  • muscle and joint pain; and
  • swollen lymph nodes.

If untreated, the second stage of the disease, known as disseminated Lyme disease, can last up to  several months and include:

  • central and peripheral nervous system disorders;
  • multiple skin rashes;
  • arthritis and arthritic symptoms;
  • heart palpitations; and
  • extreme fatigue and general weakness.

If the disease remains untreated, the third stage can last months to years with symptoms that can include  recurring arthritis and neurological problems.”  – Public Health Agency of Canada

As an avid outdoor enthusiast I take Lyme disease very seriously and perform self checks after every outing in the woods.  This is a good habit to get into and can lead to early detection of a bite.  If bitten, see your local doctor or health clinic for removal and to obtain a test for Lyme disease.  Be safe out there!

Cheers From the Wild

Albert

Canadian Lyme Disease Foundation

http://canlyme.com/

Great source for info on Lyme Disease:

http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/id-mi/lyme-fs-eng.php

Steve Rinella’s personal Site and TV series website:

http://www.stevenrinella.com/

http://themeateater.com/

Out of One Office and into Another – Canada Day on Cranberry Lake

” lets get to work”

Figuratively, that is.  My two co-workers, Dave and Jordan, and I had put in a solid 9 day stretch at work right through the first two days of the Canada Day weekend.  You would think after 12 hours days the last thing we wanted to head to the office, But this was no ordinary office.  This was the kind of office where your coworkers are your buddies, your clients are cagey bucket mouths with a temper, and the wages directly proportional to how hard you want to work and how good your skills are.

Thankfully we are good at our jobs, so the pay was good!

We left Kingston around 6:30, grabbed our morning coffee and hit Highway 15, my gateway to all things fishing.

Getting up this early on or first day off in a while was tough, bit we all knew what was waiting for us so we did it gladly.   We had yet to decide on a lake and all had a serious craving for some bucket mouth action.  and Since we had all heard of the monster bass stories from cranberry and dog lake we decided to give it a go.  We had never fished the lake before and had nothing but our hard earned bass fishing experience to guide us.  With that, we fired up the 40hp on the green machine and ripped down the lake.  Didn’t take long to find a nice weedy cove and we were in business.  moments later we were hammering in to green gold at every weed bed edge and every floating muck pad.  This was the only way to relax after a hard week.

Fish were caught on every rig imaginable including wacky worms, texas rigged swim baits, crank baits and jig and pigs.  Definitely a big shout out to Lunkerhunt http://www.lunkerhunt.com/ for making such quality plastics.  Same goes for cotton cordell!  http://www.cottoncordelllures.com/

Bass started small, and gradually got bigger.  Things got interesting when Jordan hooked what he thought was the biggest bass he ever caught.  Turned out it was a decent sized dogfish (AKA. bowfin).  These characters showed up fairly often during the trip and were always huge.

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Me with a decent little bucket mouth.

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Lots of wildlife to bee seen on cranberry and plenty of ospreys.

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Dave with a pig he dragged out of the shallows.

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halfway down the lake we picked up a stalker who thought our boat would be a nice place to sun himself.   I always love seeing big snappers swimming around.  A true sign of a healthy lake.

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This office, definitely has a better view and is much more spacious!

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The clients were happy today and very cooperative!

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The wages were good!

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Fishing was good and the office was busy.

Best we have seen all year and its only the beginning of summer.  That being said, we will definitely be going back to cranberry.

Cheers from the Wild

Al

Round Lake – Early Season Stress Releif

Work has been tough lately.

I have been putting in long days at the office  for as long as I can remember with no foreseeable end in sight.  Not only is this tiring but its draining in every way conceivable.  Its times like these that a little stress relief is in order, so when my co-worker jokingly suggested a quick fish after work tonight I decided to take it seriously and jumped at the chance.  Enough of the late nights at the office,  I decided a break was in order (not to mention well deserved).

With that snap decision made, off I went to change and grab my gear and a half hour later we were at the launch pushing off in a canoe.

The trip was nothing fancy.

There were no huge expectations for trophy fish.

Just two dudes, a canoe and the lake.

Part of me wonders at how many world problems would be solved If every person got to experience this feeling on a regular basis.

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Ok. enough rambling, here is the report:

The afternoon was an exceptional one, with warm sunshine and a very slight breeze.  Temperatures were fairly warm and the evening was gearing up to be a good one.

The first fish (a small Pike) came a few minutes later on the fifth cast of my senko.  Nothing big, but definitely fun.  Fishing was nothing exceptional, but certainly decent enough to make the evening enjoyable.  We totalled around 8 bass for the evening, plus a horde of Rockies and that first Pike.  All fish were caught on a variety of plastics, crank baits and jigs in varying depths.  The fish were modest, with the biggest being between around 2.5 lbs.

It was interesting fishing as the lake is basically a deep bowl with 20 to 50ft drops right at the edges.  Really no weedy flats to fish at all so typical tactics don’t usually apply here.

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(Apparently I approve of this fish!)

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Heres a nice shot of me landing a LMB (Photo credit: Dave Hodgson)

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(Above Photo credit: Dave Hodgson)

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We were sure to take advantage of the beautiful scenery to be had on this quaint little lake.  Something Southern Ontario has in abundance.

Definitely one of the best ways I can think of to recharge the batteries after a tough week at work.

Reminds me of a saying:  “All work and no fish make jack a dull boy”  … or is it play? … no its definitely fish.

Cheers from the Wild

Al

Newboro Lake – Spring Pike

We are a week away from the opening day of bass here in South Eastern Ontario.  Most people are spending the weekend polishing up their spinner baits and putting new braid on their bait casters in preparation for this holy day. For me though, this is just another weekend to chase the last remnants of spring pike around with the bonus of little to no boat traffic to get in my way.  Kicking things off at 6am, my friend Dave and I took the 45 minute drive to the Crosby/Westport area and launched at Newboro Lake.  I had only ever fished Newboro twice before, and Dave had never been, so although we had a slight inkling of where to start, the majority of the trip was an exploratory one.DSC_0054

As almost always for spring pike, we started with a troll line using spoons on a line that had produced on my previous two trips (thank goodness for Navionics path tracking!).  This produced two decent 2 -3 lb pike.  Moving on we tried a two edged approach by trolling along sharp drop offs near a set of islands where the depth changed from 9 to 25 ft over a distance of about 15 ft.  One line targeted the shallows and the other probed the deep. This produced some pike as well as a decent 2 lb out of season small mouth that was promptly released.  On to the next area!

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We toured around a good 1/2 of the lake and continued to pick up stragglers throughout the rest of the morning using a multitude of techniques including spinner baits, crank baits and even some extra large swim baits.  Fish were caught in a variety of depths and conditions indicating a high degree of variability.  In my opinion this is indicative of the transition between spring spawning and the usual summer haunts.

The trip was a great way to explore and put some time into getting to know the lake.   Not to mention a great way to relax after a busy week in the office.

Hopefully next visit will see us catching some of the elusive walleye that are said to inhabit the lake.

All in all a great way to warm up the rigs for the fast pace action that is bass fishing in southern Ontario.

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Cheers from the wild!

Albert

 

Summer Salmon – A Lake Ontario Specialty

Summer brings many things to Southern Ontario. Soccer teams flock to the fields to test their mettle against one anotehr, bikers are out in droves pushing their machines to the limits on our endless Ontario highways, yard sale/antique season is in full swing.  Great hobbies to be had in a great place. but perhaps my favourite thing to do in the summer, besides sipping an ice cold Ice cap from Tim Hortons, is to head out on the big lake to enjoy pitting my wits against the steely Rainbow trout or a Majestic Salmon.  Thanks to stocking efforts from the MNR and agencies in New York, Salmon fishing in lake Ontario is some of the best in the country.  Sadly, few people realize the resource we have so close to home.

I was definitely one of those few people until my uncle (watch out here, comes the shameless plug!), who runs RP Salmon Guide Charters, asked me and a friend to join him one warm June day in 2011.  A tad early for the bulk of salmon fishing but a beauty of a day no less.

We left port at about 6 am from Newcastle, On, a popular launch site for many salmon charters and headed out to 60 feet of water (FOW).

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Once we got there we rigged up the rods with an assortment of giant spoons, flies and cut bait rigged up to down riggers and dipsy divers. I’ll spare you the explanation of these amazing contraptions.

This was quite the set up as most of my fishing is fairly minimalistic when it comes to hardware.  However, I trusted my uncles experience and knew he wouldn’t steer me wrong.

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First fish of the day went to my buddy who had never really caught anything bigger than a small bass in his life.

Im not sure what was running through his mind when he set the hook this giant Rainbow Trout, but when he couldn’t gain any headway, I’m sure holy sh*t was among his thoughts!

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What a beautiful 13 lb 8oz fish! After some quick photos of a beautiful fish and a proud/excited fisherman, the trout went back into the lake.

My friend still bugs me ever summer about when we can do the trip again!

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Now that the appetizer was out of the way it was my turn for the main course.  bout 30 minutes later we trolled through a large school of bait and just after got a hit on one of the flies.  This was a big fish and consequently, my first crack at a Lake Ontario Salmon.

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It was probably at this point where I realized that 1) this was probably the biggest fish I had ever hooked into and 2) this wasn’t just some big empty mass of blue we were trolling on.  This was a healthy fishery with some world class trophies swimming about it.

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Following a decent 15 – 30 minute fight I managed to wrangle this 22 lb salmon into the boat.  I was absolutely stunned, excited and ecstatic all at the same time.

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A few minutes after dealing with the big beast, it was my uncles turn.  He boated this decent little 8lb 9oz rainbow.  A respectable fish by an account!

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Followed again by several small salmon (shakers as the guides call them because they are not strong enough to pull the lines from the down rigger balls).

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Unfortunately they did not make it back to the lake, but take it from me they make quite the feast compared to store bought/ farm raised fish.

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So next time your cruising along the shores of Lake Ontario, remember, there is more than meets the eye out there and I am not talking about transformers!  Maybe, if your brave enough, you will decide to attempt to catch one of these majestic beasts.  Trust me, if you pull the trigger on a trip out to Lake O, and hire a guide worth his salt, you will not be disappointed!  You may even walk away with a feast fit for a king.

Cheers from the wild,

Albert P

RP Salmon Guide Charters – https://www.facebook.com/pages/RP-Salmon-Guide-Charters/128039840606982