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Pine Cliff Lodge

Beautiful bass caught at Pine Cliff Lodge in Northwest Ontario. • Credit: Colin McKeown
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Pine Cliff Lodge

Catch big bass on a fly at this lodge in Northwest Ontario



Those who have fly-fished for smallmouth bass know what great fighters they are on a light rod. They are strong, aggressive and acrobatic. The only thing better is to catch them with poppers on top. At Pine Cliff Lodge, the lake and inflowing river are full of big fat smallmouth. How big? Up to 8 pounds!

These smallmouth love to eat crayfish, leeches and baitfish. But they also love dragonflies, frogs and small mice that fall in the water. Their takes are explosive and quite a thrill on a 6-weight rod. Pine Cliff has some of the best affordable and accessible fishing. This drive-to lodge in Dryden, Ontario is set up to allow anglers to bring their own food and drink, they supply the boats, accommodations and great fishing. This is the best of DIY (Do-It-Yourself) fly fishing.

The main lake has walleye and northern pike but we really like are the bass. The structure they like to hold near is sunken humps, submerged islands, drop-offs, fallen trees and beaver lodges. Boulders are a not-favourite haven of smallies and if you cast your poppers near the shadows, don’t be surprised if you see a big bass come up and inhale your offering.

Gear to Bring

Six- or even 7-weight rods are the order of the day with floating lines. Ensure you also bring an intermediate or sink-tip line to present streamers or crayfish patterns if necessary.

Top producing colours include yellow, green/white, orange and black. Smaller sizes work as well as large ones. I like leaders of 8 to 10 feet long with a 10-pound tippet. Just cast them out and twitch the poppers slowly back. The strikes are impressive as are the average size of fish.

Visit pineclifflodge.com to learn more about the lodge.

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