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Lake Nipissing Dinosaurs

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Lake Nipissing Dinosaurs

Jim Saric with a big Lake Nipissing muskie. Big baits get the nod on this big water. • Credit: Jim Saric

A giant lake with lots of places to catch muskie

Lake Nipissing is located in Northeastern Ontario approximately 200 miles north of Toronto. It's 337 square miles and is the fifth-largest lake in Ontario. Lake Nipissing is the headwaters of the French River and home to some of the largest muskies in the Province. Why this giant water remains relatively unknown to the muskie masses I can't understand. Possibly it's the size of the lake that is intimidating. Yet, for any serious muskie hunter in search of a trophy muskie, this should be on your radar screen. Like any big Ontario water, the key is breaking it into smaller pieces and learning the various sections. This approach makes fishing any large water manageable.

Nipissing runs in an east-west direction, is approximately 50 miles across and is relatively shallow. Because it parallels the prevailing winds, you have to be aware of the weather forecast and respect the lake. With a big wind, the waves can reach Great Lakes proportions. Fortunately, there are lots of islands and protected areas particularly in the western portion of the lake along with South Bay. Also, being that Lake Nipissing is the headwaters to the French River you can easily sneak into the French or fish near the mouth. The bottom line is that in this giant lake there is always a place to fish.

Nipissing is loaded with resorts as well. Those fishing in the eastern region should check out Promised Land Camp. Those fishing near the French River check out Chaudière Lodge and those fishing the west arm check out Lakair Lodge. One thing is for certain, no matter where you decide to fish on Lake Nipissing there is a great resort with all the amenities.

Tom Sullivan and Mike Lazarus admire a big musky caught Trolling on Lake Nipissing. Tom Sullivan and Mike Lazarus admire a big muskie caught trolling on Lake Nipissing. Trolling is a great way to cover water and locate muskies. (Photo credit: Jim Saric)

Some of the key areas to fish Lake Nipissing include the large islands, clusters of smaller islands, bays, large points and shallow submerged rock humps. Within any of these areas pick sections that have "character". That might mean patches of thicker weeds or sections of broken boulders. Look for some type of irregularity along the shoreline or along with any structural element. Given the fact that the lake is large, the islands as well as other spots can also be large. So, trolling for muskies is an excellent option to cover water. However, don't think for a second you can't cast on Lake Nipissing. There are lots of spots that are simply too complex to troll, and casting is the best option.

Once you decide to start fishing a particular section of Lake Nipissing focus on 10-12 spots and really start to learn them. While you are fishing on any given day try and determine the types of spot and cover the muskies are using. For example, are the muskies using bays or islands? Are they using rocks or weeds? Are they using points or other shoreline areas? One piece of advice to keep in mind is that once you locate and/or catch a musky from a spot, more than likely it will be a spot you'll want to fish forever. Use your GPS to mark the spot and save the location. There are lots of spots that look good, but unfortunately, not all hold muskies. Keep fishing them and over time you'll develop a milk run of big fish spots.

Since you are fishing for big muskies large lures rule on Lake Nipissing. I use large bucktails with double-10 blades, 10-inch jerkbaits, pounder Bulldawgs, and big topwater. You need to present a big meal and get the lure noticed. More than likely if a muskie is using a structural element it may be feeding so give it a big offering!

Lake Nipissing is big water that holds giant muskies, in fact, it holds some of the largest muskies in the province. When fishing Nipissing you have to remember that you are on trophy water, as this isn't an action fishery, it's the place where your muskie dreams can come true!

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