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Chiblow Lake Smallmouth Adventures

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Chiblow Lake Smallmouth Adventures

Karl Kalonka with two mighty smallmouth bass. • Credit: Karl Kalonka

Karl of Extreme Angler visits Algoma Country on a Smallmouth Bass Adventure.



Ontario encourages everyone to travel safe during this time and to follow public health guidelines. It is important to practice physical distancing, frequent hand washing, and the wearing of a non-medical face covering where required or where physical distancing is a challenge.

Northern Ontario literally has thousands upon thousands of lakes that hold bass. Some say the overall number of Ontario bass is in the millions. So here is my question for you: how would you feel about getting away from the crowds, fishing a brand-new lake that has virtually no pressure whatsoever, and maybe never seeing another boat during a full day of fishing?

This opportunity is a lot closer than you may think.

We had this exact opportunity early last summer on a trip to Algoma Country in Northern Ontario, near Iron Bridge at Chiblow Lake, while visiting with the nice people who operate Chiblow Lake Lodge. Extremely peaceful. Amazing views, surrounded by nature and the lake. An awesome place to spend time with family and friends. All this and more is waiting for you at Chiblow Lake Lodge.

Chiblow Lake Lodge

This is the place to go to get away from it all; to lay back, relax, and have fun! Days are spent fishing for bass, pike, and lake trout, exploring the lake by paddle, or jumping off the dock into the lake on a sunny, sultry summer day. Evenings are spent around a crackling campfire, indulging in s’mores, and telling fish tales, with the dark, starry night sky above.

Sounds like fun does it not?

But the smallmouth bass fishing is what attracted us to this location, and the bass fishing is what I will not forget. This being the very first time ever seeing the lake, not to mention never having fished it before, we were immediately impressed with the crystal-clear water clarity while launching our boat in the morning. I did a little research on the lake prior to our arrival, to give me some idea of where to start fishing for bass and what baits to use.

The lake has no shortage of natural structure and elements that produce and can sustain a very healthy fishery. Lots of shallow back bays with sand, gravel, and rock (excellent spawning habitat). Small islands abound throughout the lake, offering tapering points from shallow water to main lake basins with sand, gravel, rocks, and weed. Classic smallmouth bass habitat.

Ariel

We were fortunate to have one of the local residents of the lodge give us a short guided tour of the lake and offer some insight to any areas that may be hazardous for first time boaters on Chiblow Lake, and it is safe to say there was very little in the way of unmarked shoals or hazards. The locals and lodge operators have marked the areas very well. A bonus when bringing your own boat.

We set out early in the morning and began our day only minutes from the lodge launch site. We began casting small soft plastic minnow baits like the Strike King Rage Swimmer & KVD Swim-n-Shiner rigged onto a screw lock jig head, making long casts to the mouths of back bays, rocky outcroppings, from shore and any rocky areas we could see along the shoreline. Five minutes into my day, and I hook into a 30-plus-inch Northern Pike at the mouth of one such back bay. Nice start, but I came for bass and I want my bass.

As mentioned earlier, Chiblow Lake is a very clear lake, and these smallmouth bass have a very wide range of visual opportunity to hunt their prey. So I made long casts to any potential locations that looked like they should attract bass and, two bays over from my Pike attack, I connected with my first Chiblow Lake smallmouth bass on the swim-n-shiner: a thick-bodied, beautifully coloured bass in the three-pound range that was roaming a gravel bar near scattered rock piles.

Lake Shot

Two casts later, I missed another violent strike on the same spot that tore up my bait on the vicious strike, so I picked up my secondary presentation, a small four-inch Ocho stick worm by Strike King rigged wacky on a weighted jig head, and cast to the same gravel bar; I hooked up with a four-plus-pound smallmouth even more beautiful than the first.

Yes, I am impressed with Chiblow Lake.

Chiblow Lake was formed from the flowing waters on the west from Little Chiblow Lake, and from the east, the Blind River. The water exits the lake on the south end by the Chiblow Lake Dam. Chiblow Lake Lodge is located 20 minutes north of Iron Bridge, Ontario on Chiblow Lake Road. It’s an hour and 30 minutes east of Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, and two hours and 30 minutes from Sudbury, Ontario.

Guests are close to local amenities in Iron Bridge such as the grocery store, LCBO, gas stations, convenience stores, and restaurants.

Lodge

The lodge is close to local attractions like the Iron Bridge Museum, Cordukes/Weber 12-sided barn, Round Barn Gift Shop, local farmers’ markets, hiking trails, Timber Village Museum and art gallery, and more. Many events take place during the summer months in the surrounding communities.

Chiblow Lake Lodge is proudly owned and operated by the Mississauga First Nation. The friendly staff will ensure you have everything you need for a great, unforgettable vacation. The lodge is home to nine cabins with full amenities, and located at the perfect spot on the lake. All nine cabins have fully equipped kitchens with appliances, three-piece baths, electricity, and hot/cold running water. One cabin is accessible; please call for more information. Cabins are within walking distance of the beach area.

So now after approximately 45 minutes of fishing on this brand-new lake, I have hooked up with a nice Northern Pike in excess of 30-plus inches and two nice bass in the three- and four-pound class. Time to find more bays with more bass.

For the rest of my morning I slowly worked my way around any rocky points, back bays, and boulder strewn areas, casting my small soft minnow baits and four-inch stick worm rigged wacky and connected with all kinds of bass in the one- to two-and-a-half-pound class. But I wanted more of those big boys, so I ventured up the lake a little ways to an area with not another boat in sight and an amazing location, featuring a large gravel shoal with basketball-sized boulders and isolated weed patches that just screamed BIG BASS!

Big Bass

Over the next two-plus hours, I fished my way around the gravel and rock bay with the swim bait, stick worm, and drop shot rig, making long casts in the crystal-clear conditions, and connected with so many quality bass I literally stopped counting how many bass I was catching—no joke, it was that good. A lot of the bigger fish came off the gravel bars, roaming or hunting for food, and with the clear water conditions and polarized eyewear, I could see a lot of them swimming up to my bait even before they ate it: simply awesome.

It is important to note that a bass fishery as good as the one on Chiblow Lake can only sustain the same quality and quantity of bass with proper fish management, and catch and release. If it’s bass you seek for your shore lunch or evening BBQ, harvest the smaller one- to two-pound class fish that taste better and are plentiful, but respect the bigger bass that keep reproducing the kind of bass this amazing lake is famous for.

Check out Chiblow Lake Lodge this year; get away from the crowds and see why so many visitors vacation in Northern Ontario, and our thousands of lakes and millions of bass just waiting for you.

CONTACT information

Chiblow Lake Lodge
95 Chiblow Lake Rd, Iron Bridge, Ontario, Canada
705-843-0402

www.chiblowlakelodge.com
chiblowlakelodgemanager@mississaugi.com

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