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Algoma's Spectacular Smallmouth Bass

Karl Kalonka, of Extreme Angler TV, catches a trophy smallmouth bass in Algoma Country. • Credit: Karl Kalonka
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Algoma's Spectacular Smallmouth Bass

Extreme Angler TV

If fishing is your thing, this resort is for you.



I have been very fortunate and blessed to be able to fish for a living and visit some truly amazing places to fish for bass, but I can honestly say I was at a loss of words trying to explain the amazing smallmouth bass fishing after my latest visit to Algoma Country while staying at Birch Lake Resort in Thessalon, Ontario.

The Resort is set up on the shores of Birch Lake, offering modern housekeeping cabins that cater to anglers, friends and families. It is very similar to some of the "hardcore fish camps" we have visited that offer packages for anglers, hunters and campers alike, but offer additional amenities for families looking for some time away from everyday life in Northern Ontario. A beach, warm shallow water, water toys, propane barbeques and large windows overlooking the lake, clean bedrooms and all the necessities with an affordable price tag but without the glitz and glamour of a traditional lodge. If fishing is your thing, this resort is for you.

And fishing was our thing on this road trip.

Birch Lake Resort was our base camp, allowing us to fish several of the nearby lakes that have a reputation for not only big bass but lots of them. Cranberry Lake, Big Basswood Lake, Tunnel Lake to name a few.

As this was my very first time on this lake system, I decided to start the first morning just putting around the lake slowly, while watching my electronics trying to locate potential fish-holding structure, cover or baitfish activity, always on the lookout for shoals or other potential hazards that could potentially ruin a trip.


Birch Lake Resort is located around several big Bass lakes like Cranberry Lake, Big Basswood Lake and Tunnel Lake.

I was slowly doing my thing when I was rudely interrupted, not a one-quarter mile from the boat ramp, by a big bass breaking the surface while having its morning breakfast right in front of my boat! Stop everything. Get out the camera gear, let's put down the trolling motor, pick up a rod, and see if that fish has friends in the area.

On my third cast with a Strike King KVD Splash topwater popper, a fat three-pound-plus smallmouth bass decided to engulf my lure while sending a spray of water skyward. Not a bad way to start my day and trip, I thought. After catching and releasing that fish, I noticed the huge symbols of baitfish on my sonar unit over 25 feet of water with more than a half dozen fish symbols hovering around the bait in the ten to the twelve-foot range. Bingo found them, or should I say they found me!

A view from one of the cottages of Birch Lake Resort, Algoma Country
A view from one of the cottages of Birch Lake Resort, Algoma Country.

Over the course of the next two-plus hours, it was non-stop cast, twitch, wait, and then bam! Another thick bass would inhale my lure. I was in bass heaven.

These fish were not in an aggressive mood considering the number of strikes I was getting. I had to let the bait sit stationary after the initial cast, make very subtle twitches, and then let it sit again before a fish would attempt to eat the lure.

All the while, I kept a sharp on my electronics which consistently displayed more and more bait balls and big "hooked" fish symbols around the bait.

Occasionally, I would put the topwater rod down and pick up a drop shot rod and drop a Strike King Dream Shot to a depth I saw the fish holding on the sonar. Almost immediately, I would either get bit or get a bit off by the many big pike that resides in this lake.

Shoreline of Birch Lake Resort in Algoma Country
Shoreline of Birch Lake Resort in Algoma Country.

Now, you might be thinking this was similar to other road trips to Northern Ontario, and it was, but the smallmouth bass kept getting bigger and bigger as the day progressed. It didn't really matter where I went or if I fished with top waters, the drop shot, or even the Strike King Z-Too shad bait in the shallows; I kept on getting bit and kept on catching bigger bass after bigger bass. Yes, it really was that good.

Will I be going back to Algoma for more big bass? You bet I will, and I can guarantee you this: if one of you are truly serious about catching some of the biggest smallmouth bass of your life and relaxing after a great day of fishing back at the cabin with friends or family, consider Birch Lake Resort as I did, and we just might see each other fishing for those spectacular smallmouth bass of Algoma.

Visit Birch Lake Resort Tel: 705-842-2219 let them know the Extreme Angler sent you. Have fun and release the beasts.

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