The first thing that hits you when you pull into Brennan Harbour Resort and talk with either James, his wife Casey, or one of the young people that work there, is how friendly these folks are. You immediately feel welcome and at home with these people. This young family work very hard making sure that their guests are well looked after.
This was my second trip up to Brennan Harbour Resort, which is just a few kilometers southwest of Spanish, Ontario. The last time we were there we fished walleyes during the spring of the year and we had amazing fishing. We didn’t have to go far to catch fish, in fact, sometimes we just used the electric motor and starting fishing right off the dock. The walleyes were plentiful, even right in the bay where the lodge is situated.
On this trip we were up there in the latter part of August and the goal was to go for smallmouth bass. An old buddy of mine, Rob Hyatt, from Callander just south of North Bay, was joining us for a few days. Rob was one of the pioneers of operating ice bungalows in Canada and he ran a very successful business for years up on Lake Nipissing.
While we were there it just so happened that Frank Clark, who is a tournament angler and guide from Sudbury I’ve known for many years, and is also friends with Rob, was out with his wife for a day of fishing on his birthday. We hooked up with Frank to say “hi” on the water on our first day out,
Our goal on this outing was to fish for smallmouth bass but a cold front hit the night before we got there, and it really affected the fishing. It was the most severe cold front I think we had all summer. It seems like this was the year of cold fronts, at least when I attempted to shoot shows!
In a lot of the spots where I thought we would catch enough fish to get the show in an hour, it turned out that the fish were not there. So, we had to do a little prodding and exploring.
We ended up fishing for largemouth bass, even though I didn’t know if there was a decent population of them up there. We went out on the big water, south of the resort, headed east and got into some good largemouth off of some pencil reeds. I was casting a Berkley War Pig lipless crankbait on the edge of scattered weeds that were off of the pencil reeds. I got three in a row before Rob, who is a bass tournament guy, picked up a rod and started throwing right into the pencil reeds where he immediately started hooking up on largemouth. I had no idea there was such good largemouth fishing up there and it really opened my eyes. We caught a number of largemouth and then started going to some isolated little rock shoals that were in the area where we started catching some decent smallmouth.
As it turned out, we got our show shot and had a lot of laughs out there. A lot of our fish came on 5-inch Berkley Generals, in green pumpkin party, and we also got some good bass on the Berkley lipless War Pig crankbait.
It’s amazing how weather affects fish. No matter how good of a place you’re going to go fishing, weather will still change the activity level of the fish you’re after. In our case we hit it during a front but still got a lot of fish. We definitely caught enough to get our show shot. I’d rate the fishing on this trip as very good, compared to the last time I was up there when the weather was stable and the fishing was off the charts. It just goes to show how good a place Brennan Harbour is - you can still catch plenty of fish up there, even during a severe cold front.
The biggest thing that appeals to me at a place like Brennan Harbour Resort is that it is absolutely impossible to fish that whole area in your lifetime. You can go east, west or south of the resort and never fish all of the water that’s available – and you can run as far as you want. The irony is, whenever I’ve fished there I’ve never seen a lot of other people out fishing. Even on my last trip up there, during the peak time of the walleye season, I only saw about 15 other boats in two days of fishing. The fishing pressure seems to be minimal and I don’t know why, because it’s such a phenomenal fishery.
For you folks who are looking for a great fishery that you can drive to, this is a place that you really should check out. The owners are friendly people, the accommodations are comfortable and they’ve got a wonderful little restaurant so you can enjoy delicious home cooked meals right there if you don’t feel like cooking for yourself. Brennan Harbour Resort has definitely got everything you need for a great fishing trip.