There are so many lakes and rivers across our great province of Ontario that showcase tremendous bass fishing, trophy northern pike ,and muskie; lakes with excellent numbers of walleye, crappie, and jumbo yellow perch or lake trout, the ever-popular whitefish, and speckled trout—and then there are those that that have a nice mix of the aforementioned.
Here are three of my favourite lakes (although it is so hard to not include a list of top 10) that impressed me enough on our initial visit to these lakes and lodge operators that the memories are pleasantly carved into my brain.
My first choice of a top three multi-species lake in Northern Ontario would have to include Rainy Lake near Fort Francis in Northwest Ontario. Our very first trip to this lake with lodge operator Camp Narrows featured so many angling adventures, with an abundance of species including both numbers and size of smallmouth bass. Just about every island, rock point, weed bed, shoal, or back bay held smallmouth bass. The lake really is a bass factory, with so many back bays and spawning opportunities for good reproduction of bass. Not to mention the fact you can catch them with almost any presentation you prefer, from splashy topwaters, jerk baits, and crankbaits to soft plastics, tube jigs, and drop shot rigs. If you’re looking for variety, Rainy Lake is the place to go.
As an added bonus, these same bass locations also hold good numbers of chunky walleye close to the shorelines, and if it's big walleyes you desire, Rainy Lake has both the numbers and sizes to boot. Walleyes in excess of 30-plus inches were caught each day of our trip by members of our party. Most of the deep ledges on rocky points held the trophy-size walleye.
And speaking of deep ledges on rocky points, Canadian Gators (aka northern pike) in excess of 40-plus inches were so abundant, it was actually an effort not to catch them while fishing for big smallies or walleyes on the deeper drops and ledges—they really were everywhere.
This lake really is a bucket list location for any serious angler who likes variety.
My second choice for multi-species action and adventure would have to be Dinorwic Lake, 18 miles east of Dryden on Highway 17, again in Northwest Ontario.
Our road trip to this lake was memorable in terms of angling success for our targeted species, walleye, but we caught so many bonus species in both numbers and quality that it ranks right up there as one of the top multi-species lakes in our books.
Our trip included visiting with the friendly owners of Pine Sunset Lodge located on Dinorwic lake and having the opportunity to share a boat with the lodge guide and co-owner Sharon Gusick made this trip even more enjoyable. Sharon was one cool stick— her boat operation, positioning, and angling skills matched just about anyone I have shared a boat with, not to mention her knowledge of the lake’s hotspots made our trip that much easier and entertaining.
Again, our primary focus was walleye, but we caught so many alternative species including over 40-inch northern pike, jumbo perch, all kinds of walleye, and an added bonus, a mess of super-sized slab crappie on virtually the exact same spots as most of the other species, give or take a few cast lengths in between.
This lake really boasts good numbers and quality of walleye, but the alternative species like the big northern pike, tasty jumbo perch, and thick-bodied crappie turned a good day of fishing into a great day of fishing. Tired of catching walleye after walleye? No problem, move a short distance on Dinorwic lake and you could be in prime jumbo perch spots or slab crappie locations. Fish closer to weed beds and the river, and you’re bound to see or catch some big northerns.
To top it all off, you don’t even have to change rods or presentations from walleye fishing to most other species in this lake—the good old ball head jig bounced or slowly fished off bottom catches them all. Talk about having your cake and eating it too. If you're looking for somewhere new to vacation or fish this year, consider Dinorwic Lake at Pine Sunset Lodge—I can guarantee you will return after witnessing the excellent multi-species action.
3. Lake Clear – Ottawa Valley Region
The third choice, but certainly not least, would have to be located in the Ottawa Valley region of Northern Ontario near Eganville called Lake Clear.
We have visited with the great folks who own Opeongo Mountain Resort in this picturesque region of tall hills and crystal-clear lakes, home to a wide variety of game fish that attract guests each and every year to this region, and usually go home with more than a few fish stories of the ones that didn’t get away.
Responsible fish management and catch-and-release practices by anglers and visiting guests have ensured this lake remains a popular destination for vacationers to Ontario each season.
From topwaters, crankbaits, and jerk baits to bulky jigs, minnow baits, and drop shots rigs, the big bad largemouth and smallmouth bass at this location offer a lot of opportunities to vacationing anglers.
Lake Clear is very clear in terms of water clarity. You can virtually see bottom in 15 feet of water, so it can be challenging at times to fool the bigger, wiser bass into biting. But throw in a little wind or overcast conditions, and the fishing can be as fast and furious as it gets.
Can you even get bored catching bass? I don’t think it’s possible, but for those who need some variety in their angling vacation, the abundant walleye is usually always willing to co-operate on this lake. Usually it’s just a matter of moving to locations with the thicker or deeper weed growth that attract the bigger walleye. And on those perfect occasions, when everything is going your way, you can catch those same big walleyes with the exact same soft plastics, crankbaits, or jerk baits you were using earlier for bass.
Ontario has so many lakes with even more great lodge operators, an abundance of angling opportunities just waiting to be explored and enjoyed by you. If it’s multi-species action you desire, check these locations and the hundreds more that Ontario has to offer.