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Bass Love the Grass

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Bass Love the Grass

• Credit: Karl Kalonka

Northern Ontario is home to incredible fishing for both smallmouth and largemouth bass



Safely discover Ontario when the time is right. For the most up-to-date information on where and when it is safe to travel please visit: covid-19.ontario.ca.

Do your part by following public health advice. It is important to wear a face mask or covering, practice physical distancing, and wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water.

What makes bass the number one most sought-after gamefish in North America?

Could it be the way they scrap once hooked?

Or maybe it’s the unlimited number of lakes, rivers, and reservoirs where they can be found in Ontario.

Personally, I get a natural high from just chasing these magnificent finned creatures across the province.

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Smallmouth bass offer mind-bending acrobatics that attracts anglers far and wide to Ontario’s north country, while the largemouth has an entirely different appeal for those that love to hunt them down in the nastiest of nasty locations where they like to hide.

And one of those locations is the very abundant eelgrass, found all across the province from Algoma Country to the French River, Northeastern Ontario and to the northwestern part of the province in Sunset Country.

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Largemouth bass seems to thrive in warm, shallow back bays where the weeds are thick and the dark mud bottoms attract a wide variety of frogs, baitfish, and panfish, all favourites of Mr. Largemouth.

One particular aquatic vegetation called eelgrass, also known as wild rice, usually lays flat on the surface of the lake, creating a canopy of shade for these lazy big green and blackfish and a perfect location to ambush the next meal.

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One of my favourite ways to fish eelgrass is by pitchin’ jigs with chunk trailers or soft-bodied plastic baits rigged weedless into the thickest part of the weed bed and hold on tight!

Because the eelgrass is fairly thin in nature and lays across the top of the water, this bass can virtually see everything and anything that enters or falls into the patch of weeds they are hiding within.

Your very first cast into these sparse weeds can produce strikes even before you engage your reel or start any movement of your bait.

Heavy power casting rods with heavy fluorocarbon or braided lines are recommended for these locations, especially if the lake or river you are fishing has really big largemouth present.

Once hooked, the fights are not lengthy, like they are smallmouth bass, but intense—any weak link in your chain can end in disaster by losing the fish of a lifetime.

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Lakes across Ontario, like Nipissing, the western arm of the French River, Parry Sound, Haliburton Highlands, and throughout the northern regions of the province have unlimited lakes that receive very little angling pressure for this eelgrass dwelling bass. A lot of visiting or vacationing anglers usually prefer the smallmouth, walleye, northern pike or muskie as their primary quarry and catch the odd largemouth by mistake.

When you are making plans for your next Northern Ontario angling vacation, consider bringing some tackle for our big green and mean largemouth bass hiding in the grass. You may be surprised with both the numbers of largemouth we have and the quality of largemouth we have.

Please consider catch and release for a better fishery for future generations to enjoy and travel safely when the time is right.

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