What’s your favourite species of fish to target? Is it pike? Muskie? Walleye? Smallmouth or largemouth bass? Well, if the answer is, any or all of the above, you should consider a trip to Lake Nipissing.
Lake Nipissing is about a 3½-hour drive north of the city of Toronto and is the fifth-largest lake in Ontario. For my latest trip, I had a chance to visit Mashkinonje Lodge and spend some time with owners Regan and Goldie Thompson. They were amazing hosts and made our entire crew feel right at home.
They have a variety of accommodations available and run a really great operation. Regan is also a fishing guide so he can take you to whatever species of fish you want to target as he’s spent a lot of time on the water over the years. If you want to fish on your own they have boat rentals available, and there are plenty of secure dock spaces if you bring your own boat.
One of the cool things about Lake Nipissing is there is so much water to fish, being such a large lake. Where Mashkinonje Lodge is located is on the West Arm of the lake so it offers lots of protected water that’s close by if the wind’s blowing and if it’s a calm day and you want to venture out onto the main lake you can go for miles in search of fish. There are so many different options of species, structure and cover to fish on this lake.
When I was up at Mashkinonje Lodge in late September we targeted mostly bass with a few bonus pike thrown in the mix. The bass were still shallow when we were up there and we got a variety of fish using soft plastic Berkley swimbaits. We even sight-fished a few as well. In some areas of the lake, it’s pretty clear so you can see some of the fish swimming around if you’ve got a good pair of polarized glasses. During our short stay, we caught and released several trophy smallies over five pounds. This is one of Ontario’s premier smallmouth bass fisheries and it has very little fishing pressure.
This lake is also renowned for its muskie fishing and there is a lot of trophy-sized fish to be had throughout this body of water. We didn’t have a chance to fish for muskies while we were there but there were a number of folks out muskie fishing and, from what we heard, they were catching them.
One of the things about a resort such as Mashkinonje Lodge is that it can house a number of visitors so whether you’re with a big group or a smaller one they can accommodate your needs. From basic one-bedroom, two-bed cottages suitable for two to four people, to fully-equipped two and three-bedroom units that house up to six, there’s no shortage of choices for visiting anglers or families. They’ve even got a massive 2,500 square foot, two-story, four-bedroom unit in the main lodge that features a pool table, foosball and a huge deck overlooking the water. Now that’s fishing in style!
Lake Nipissing is a vast, somewhat shallow lake that has so much to offer—and that's why I like it. There is an abundant amount of weed cover that will always sustain a great population of fish, as well as countless islands and humps that will also hold fish. It’s really endless how much water you can fish on this massive lake with all of its different bays, tributaries and rivers. I can’t wait to get back up there and try some of the incredible walleye fishing and maybe even take a shot at catching one of the trophy muskies I keep hearing about!