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Ontario's Bass Bonanza

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Ontario's Bass Bonanza

Wonderful example of bass caught in Ontario's Kenora District on a recent road trip. • Credit: Karl Kalonka

Fishing for smallmouth bass in the Kenora District of Ontario



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Just returned from another road trip filming shows for the upcoming season of Extreme Angler Television, and crossed off yet another region from my must-fish Ontario bass bucket list, Lake of the Woods and Kenora district lakes.

This incredible trip had us travel to Hawk Lake Lodge, situated on beautiful Hawk Lake, approximately 45 minutes from Kenora, Ontario, with guest host Ted Putnam and family. The lodge is exactly what you would envision a "perfect lodge" to look like, with an oversized stone fireplace in the main lodge, cedar posts crisscrossing the ceiling, large decks overlooking the lake, all of it surrounded by nothing but trees, lakes and nature.

The guest cabins are not your typical "fisherman only" units, rather they are very spacious, have large bedrooms and oversized king-sized beds, are very clean, and offer all the amenities of home. Perfect for the travelling angler and family.

Hawk Lake Lodge offers its guests the option of fishing on the remote lakes surrounding the lodge, which are a short boat ride and portage to lakes that are virtually all to yourself! Yes, all to yourself for the day. Amazing, yes they are.

We decided to take that option and fished one of the lakes for smallmouth bass, and to my pleasure it had so many prime locations for bass, I picked up my topwater bait and fished it the entire day, only putting it down every so often for a change in pace, but caught fish in virtually every location. Being able to fish on a lake that has absolutely not another sole on it makes you feel like you're in a bass dream, or that you have gone to bass heaven, it is that amazing.

Hawk Lake Lodge is also well known for spoiling its guests with the incredible trophy walleye fishing found on the main lake, with so many over 30-inch walleye being caught on a daily basis that photos of 30-plus inch fish hardly raise an eyebrow during happy hour each evening before dinner, when the best fish stories are shared by the guests in the main lodge.

Hawk Lake Bass caught on a recent trip into Northwestern Ontario. (Photo credit: Karl Kalonka)

And speaking of the dinners, five-star all the way. Ted and his staff go out of their way to make sure every guest has the option of choosing the next breakfast, lunch and dinner options from the menu and also offer a boxed lunch for those guests who choose the remote lake option for the day. They literally spoil you from the meals, accommodations, and of course the fishing.

It might have been my first time to Hawk Lake Lodge, but I can guarantee that it will not be my last and next time I might even bring my wife (it's the least I could do since she had to look at the constant text messages and photos I was sending her during my visit).

Our next stop on this road trip has us travel a short distance to Sioux Narrows, Ontario to Crawford's Camp owned by Matt Rydberg and his mom. Now this place is as hardcore a fishing and hunting camp as your ever going to see. The staff, guides and close friends of Matt, are all very knowledgeable fishing Lake of the Woods, and know every nook and cranny in the woods for guests in search of that special trophy.

The cabins are very spacious, clean, and offer the angler and hunter plenty of room to organize their equipment, have large screened in decks that overlook the lake, private dock space, BBQs, and all the appliances necessary to cook up your own meals with your buddies or family. The camp has been in the family for a long time and lives up to its reputation as a place that offers the serious angler options of where to fish and what to fish for, and is open year-round. From giant Muskie and Northern Pike, to walleye, bass, lake trout and crappie, beautiful Lake of the Woods has it all, and then some.

I had the pleasure of fishing with both Matt and his tournament partner Brian McNanny of Sioux Narrows on separate occasions with the same results, fish and lots of fish!

These guys spared no expense to put me on some of the best locations on that part of the lake, which I might add, look and produce some of the finest smallmouth bass fishing anyone could ever wish for, especially if you're a "power fisherman" like I am. Meaning I like to throw the big stuff like walking top waters, jerk baits, crank baits, over sized jigs, and baits that look like they are meant for largemouth at smallmouth bass.

Mother Nature spared no expense when she created Lake of the Woods; it truly is a sportsman's paradise with so many options to fish, hunt, camp, hike, canoe: you name it, the opportunities are there.

This truly a road trip I will not forget for many years, offering me a chance to fulfill a dream of bass fishing in the Kenora district of Ontario. I can guarantee you this: if you are looking for locations to fish that offer both the pristine rugged nature of Ontario, and  rarely harbour another angler, then the Kenora district of Ontario truly is for you.

Contact Information
Hawk Lake Lodge - Ted Putnam (807) 548-2930
Crawford's Camp - Matt Rydberg 1-888-266-3474

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