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,


Collins Lake Pike

Having been away overseas for the first two weeks of the Walleye and Pike opener in Ontario has left me anxious to get the old Green Machine out for some action.  Having finally found some time this past Friday afternoon I was faced with the big decision on where to fish.  Ive got a long list of lakes to try out including spending more time on Lake Ontario, however, what I really needed was a sure thing for some Pike action.  Really just something to scratch the fishing itch and to start the season off with a bang.   In my opinion the best way to achieve this is too hit up the closet thing we have in the area to a sure thing for pike: Collins Lake.

So a couple of guys from the office and I loaded up the boat and made our way to Collins in search of some Esox Lucius.  Immediately upon our arrival we were met by a few critters.

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After relocating the turtle to a safer location and letting the Geese get their chicks away from the boat ramp, we launched old Greenie and immediately started a troll line.  The north section of Collins is essentially a large basin with depths pushing 30 FOW.  The north has so pretty decent drop offs that line the edge of the basin that have healthy weed beds along the slope all the way up to near the shore.  These are perfect conditions for trolling crank baits and spoons and after a few moments, our game plan paid off.

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Many of the pike were caught in the 10 FOW range although the bigger beasts seemed to be a bit deeper.  We worked this method all the way up an edge of the lake unitl a natural pinch point and cut across to a flat weedy bay.  The bays are typically where I would start at the beginning of the season followed by troll lines along drop offs closer to summer but we were so anxious this time around we couldn’t wait.

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We pitched around in the flat bay with crank baits, angled spinners and inline buck-tail spinners with a decent success rate.  The action was good on the cast and the troll so we continued to meander around the lake using both tactics.  The great thing about Collins is that it is such a eutrophic lake, you can pretty much catch pike anywhere in the lake.  I admit there are hot spots like around the lake edges and basin rims, but really there is forage and weeds everywhere so long drift lines or troll lines through open sections can also pay off.


there is a lot of talk from folks about how fishing for pike gets better as the sun goes down.  This is likely due to the natural advantage these predatory fish enjoy in low light conditions.  While this old piece of fisherman’s advice may be true sometimes, I think its important to not neglect the mid day and early afternoon bite.  Heck don’t neglect any time of day, as fishing for Pike during these times can be just as good.  For those interested in reading up on Pike activity and their feeding patterns in a little more detail, check out this study by Beaumont et al conducted in the UK. 


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All in all, a good, albeit late, start to my pike fishing season.  Once again Collins you didn’t disappoint!

Cheers from the lake,



Angler Atlas

For many of my fellow Ontarians, Finding bathymetry for your favourite lake can be a challenge.  Especially if your like me and your favourite lake is located in the middle of nowhere with very little interest from the general public.

Thankfully Anglers Atlas has just recently added a big chunk of maps for many smaller lakes in southern Ontario and to my delight, a bunch of my favourites made the list.

Spend a few minutes, sign up and check out Anglers Atlas.  Who knows, maybe you’ll find a map for your favourite back lake!

Cheers from my desk,