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Happy Days Full of Bass

• Credit: Karl Kalonka
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Happy Days Full of Bass

Fishing for Smallmouth Bass at Happy Day Lodge

Do you believe there are lakes with drive-in access that can produce both numbers and bragging size trophy walleye, northern pike and smallmouth bass? In this age of everything fast paced, overcrowding and exploitation, it’s refreshing to know that these pristine lakes and locations are available across Northern Ontario. We were fortunate enough to once again experience it for ourselves firsthand this past summer on a trip to Chapleau, Ontario from Happy Day Lodge and  Prairie Bee Outpost Camps.


This location truly is in a class of its own: an un-pressured lake with so many natural structure elements that result in high spawning and reproduction rates, from miles and miles or prime spawning bays, sand flats, and coves to hundreds upon hundreds of fish holding rocky points, islands, gravel and rock shoals, underwater points, reefs, and river currents. It all adds up to make Lake Windermere a top fishing destination in our books.

Not only do guests of Happy Day Lodge catch high numbers of fish, Lake Windermere is such a nutrient lake that the average size of all species of fish seems to be much bigger than the Ontario average.

They also have five portage lakes for those looking for an adventure, which gives you the opportunity to immerse yourself into a deeper northern experience.

Here is some insight to the quality of fishing from this lodge.


The Fishing

Walleye can be caught in good numbers and sizes. Guests enjoy hitting hundreds of spots on the lake, where they are consistently catching walleyes up to the 4-pound range. Many of the guests come to Happy Day Lodge because they can catch Walleye up to the 10-pound range, which are available but not as common. The numbers of thick bodied 20-plus-inch walleye are excellent.

There are northern pike in the lake. It's easy to hit the back bays and catch pike throughout the day. Guests who specifically fish for northern pike could catch a fish up to the 40-inch range. And of course, one of our favourites, the mighty smallmouth bass of Lake Windermere.


This lake has 133 miles of rocky shoreline, and smallmouth bass can be found almost everywhere. Smallmouth are common in the 1- to 3-pound range, and guests catch a surprising amount in the 4- to 6-pound range. Not a typo, yes: 4- to 6-pound range every season.

This is a Provincial Designated Conservation Reserve Lake. What does this mean? It means the lodge owners work closely with the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) biologist and have rules that protect the breeding stock of Windermere Lake. By protecting the breeders, this ensures that guests will have a quality fishery and offers guests a greater opportunity of catching a trophy fish of a lifetime.

They encourage guests to harvest only the non-breeding stock for eating and taking home. Remember, there are plenty enough non-breeders for everyone to fill their limits. Happy Day Lodge has a saying… “protect the breeders and you will catch lots of eaters!” 

Our trip to lake Windermere and Happy Day Lodge was met with perfect weather conditions, warm summer days with very low wind and excellent opportunities to explore many back bays and natural structure elements, as mentioned above for the lake’s big brown bass.

I fished a lot of visual locations that literally screamed bass.

If the spot looked fishy, it held fish. Not a lot of places can say that.

Lake Windermere truly is a smallmouth bass and walleye factory.


I chose to fish the way I enjoy most for smallmouth bass, and that was a variety of topwater baits, including walking style baits and pop n’ stop baits that splish and splash water, triggering bass to bite. And man, did I ever hit the pot of bronze gold. Some of the sharp dropping rock points had numerous fish, with a bonus 4-plus-pound fish sandwiched between all of the chunky, fat, cookie cutters class bass in the 2- to 3-plus pound range.

Quality? Yes. Numbers? Indeed. Fun? This was amazing. And what made it even more special was I didn’t see another boat on any of the locations I fished over the three days of our trip, truly incredible.

I caught so many bass that first morning, affording me the opportunity to truly enjoy myself on this trip and head back to the lodge after the morning bite tapered off to enjoy a hearty breakfast, socialize with guests, take in some quality R & R, enjoy an afternoon BBQ on these warm summer evenings, then head back out for the prime after dinner bite that has to be experienced firsthand to believed. Again, so many bass, so little travel time to boat to prime locations, and I never saw another boat on any of the locations I fished on any evening outing. Priceless.

The Lodge


The lodge itself is impressive.

They have nine cozy lakefront cabins, which all have a beautiful view of the lake. The cabins are fully equipped for housekeeping and can sleep between two and eight people comfortably. If you want a complete wilderness setting, they offer accommodations in their remote outpost camp at the far north end of the lake.


The lodge is also family-friendly, offering all kinds of activities including game room with pool table, air hockey, foosball, and satellite TV. They also have a basketball hoop, paddle boat, kayaks, canoes, horseshoe pit, lawn games, and a beach for playing in the sand or swimming. Great location with excellent fishing, what more do you need?

The Location


Happy Day Lodge is the only outfitter on Lake Windermere.

This beautiful 20-mile-long lake is adjacent to the Chapleau Game Preserve, which is the largest game preserve in the world! The lake has 133 miles of shoreline and countless islands, bays, and coves to explore.

The hundreds of miles mentioned does not represent a large bowl of water. It refers to the endless bays, coves, and channels that make the shoreline of Lake Windermere constantly new and interesting. There are waterfalls, beaver dams, inlets, train trestles, and bays that keep your fishing excursion a memorable one.

Like I said earlier, this location is a real fish factory.

You owe it to yourself to see all that Northern Ontario has to offer, visit the nice folks at Happy Day Lodge in Algoma Country near Chapleau and experience some of the finest angling opportunities and adventures, while making some quality memories that will last a lifetime with the ones you love on the unspoiled beauty of Lake Windermere.

Contact Information

Contact Happy Day Lodge and your friendly hosts Bob and Sondra Zimmerman and sons to book your next vacation in Northern Ontario.

Summer: 705-852-0558

Winter: 419-822-0110

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