One of the most common questions we get is “What is your favorite lake in Ontario?” Well, that is a huge question that can vary certain times of the year, so I am going to break it down per season so you can try all of these lakes at different times of the year.
Spring - Rice Lake
First let's start with spring. One of the best lakes I like to fish in the spring is Rice Lake which is located in southeastern Ontario about an hour north of Port Hope. This lake is known for its unlimited panfish, crappie, bluegill, and perch which are in abundance. You can land crappie up to 14 inches on a regular outing. The third week in May, walleye opens and the walleye fishing is fantastic just outside of the two main rivers—the Otonabee River and the Hastings River. Jigs and slow moving Rapala crankbaits seem to do the trick.
Summer - McCarthur Lake & Otter Lake
As we move on to the start of summer, there are really two lakes that I find great—one is for numbers of fish and one is for trophies. First let's talk about a little lake called McCarthur Lake. This lake is located in the area of Elliot Lake in Northern Ontario, and if you want Smallmouth fishing, and I mean unreal Smallmouth fishing, you have to hit McCarthur Lake. We have had days where we caught 50 to 80 Smallmouth Bass with an average size of 2 lbs and for sure you will get a few in the 4- to 5-lb range. This is one lake you have to try. The second lake would have to be Otter Lake, located in Parry Sound, Ontario. It is a bit tougher lake to fish, but it is loaded with Lake Trout and giant trophy Pike. We shot a show up there last year (2018) and caught two Pike in the 25-lb class with some Largemouth and Smallmouth mixed in for a great day on the water.
Fall - Lake Simcoe
When we move into fall, the lake of choice for me would have to be Lake Simcoe in Southern Ontario. It is well known for its trophy Smallmouth Bass and fish up to 7 lbs are very common this time of the year; if you get on the right school you can catch 50 or more on a great day.
Winter - Bay of Quinte
The final lake I would choose in the winter would be the famous Bay of Quinte, located right off Lake Ontario down Bellville way. This is by far the best winter haven for trophy walleye in the world, with fish of 13 to 15 lbs caught every year, and the average size is probably in the 4- to 6-lb range. This is one body of water where you will need a guide in the winter, as there is a ton of current in places; one area can have seven inches of ice and another right beside it could have two.
So the answer to the question “What is your favorite lake?” is that it varies from season to season, and I have to say these have to be my best choices.