I’ve been fishing The Bing to satisfy my trout urge since 1996 when it was opened by Chris Fisher, a retired Ottawa carpenter. The Retreat is on Horseshoe Lake, an appealing spring-fed body of water with over three kilometres of rocky, pine-bordered shoreline.
Located near Westport, about 35 kilometres outside of Kingston and 140 southwest of Ottawa, it’s close enough to my home in the nation’s capital to go down and back the same day. Most enjoyable are stays of several nights with a gang of fishing friends in the elegant five-bedroom cottage on the water’s edge. We bring our sleeping bags, personal items and groceries and do our own cooking. There are two other smaller housekeeping cabins on the property.
I usually take my canoe when fishing The Bing as the lake is small enough for me to easily paddle in a day. Kayaks and float tubes are also popular. Gas-powered motors aren't allowed. A rowboat goes with each cottage rental and electric motors are available at extra cost.
Fisher stocks 2,000 - 3,000 trout each year and rainbows can reach 6 pounds, and specks, 3 pounds. Although there are no restrictions on the type of fishing gear used, The Bing has become very popular with fly fishermen.
Spring and fall are the best action times, but my last trip was in July with Rob Capell, a biologist by profession who guides part-time. It was the first time fishing with someone who really understood the lake, the best techniques to use and the flies that really worked. We trolled as slowly as the electric motor would move the boat which dropped our full-sink lines with flies such as Woolly Buggers, Hamill’s Killer and various chironomids down to about 20 feet. We landed a dozen trout and kept a few for a meal.
I haven’t tried it as yet, but friends have had good success ice fishing for rainbows with January to mid-February the best time. Winter anglers must stay over at least one night. Because the lake is privately stocked, the usual Ontario trout season dates do not apply. Fisher allows angling from January 1 to September 30.
During summer, family or friends who may not be avid anglers can swim, hike and explore the unique shops in the nearby village of Westport. In winter, there is cross-country skiing.
The Bing Retreat has earned a reputation for quality fishing in a pristine environment with modern housekeeping cabins at a reasonable cost; a great alternative to a long drive to uncertain greener pastures.
Visit bingretreat.com to find out about how you can visit, or find your own trout trips in Ontario.