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Multi-Species Fishing at Wakomata Lake Cottages

• Credit: The New Fly Fisher
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Multi-Species Fishing at Wakomata Lake Cottages

Epic pre-spawn smallmouth bass fishing in Ontario's Algoma Country

The cottage resort is nestled in a stretch of Algoma known as Trophy Alley.

As all anglers know, there are limitless types of fishing adventures. From the backyard pond to the once-in-a-lifetime destination, and everything in between; each experience presents the opportunity to create life-long memories out on the water. After a long, cold winter, like many of us, Colin Mckeown was more than ready for one of these fishing adventures -- eager to head north and indulge in some quality time on the water. Colin invited long-time friend Terry Loates on his adventure, and the two of them headed to Wakomata Lake Cottages in late May to indulge in some of the epic pre-spawn smallmouth bass fishing available in Algoma this time of year. The shoulder seasons for smallmouth bass fishing (end of May-early June & mid-September to early October in the Algoma region) can often provide some incredible fishing for anglers who are willing to brave the possibility of less-than-ideal weather conditions.

Located in Thessalon, Ontario, Wakomata Lake Cottages is nestled along a stretch of the Algoma region infamously known as Trophy Alley. This title does not go unfounded, and for avid anglers like Colin and Terry, makes Wakomata Lake Cottages the perfect home base for their first fishing trip of the season. Wakomata Lake Cottages has a variety of packages and accommodations available for guests depending on the kind of trip you’re looking for, boasting two-, three-, four- and five-bedroom cottages. Each cottage comes prepared with bedding and linens, a private dock, firepit and BBQ for the convenience of their guests -- making this location an excellent choice for any angler looking for a budget-friendly DIY trip. What’s more, new owners Mark and Candice Bouchard are working to make a great place even better. In addition to all of the current activities, guests can look forward to new amenities including a dartboard, pool/snooker table, foosball table, poker table, children’s mini-putt area, children's playground, rec games center and a volleyball court!

When fishing for pre-spawn smallmouth bass, you’re going to want to locate steep breaks adjacent to spawning flats. As the water temperature begins to rise, the big females will slowly rise from depths to shallower water to feed. Temperature plays a huge role when bass fishing this time of year; water temps between 55 and 60 degrees Fahrenheit will be optimal for targeting giant pre-spawn females.

Wakomata Lake has very clear water, and unfortunately, this meant it wasn’t retaining heat as well as stained water typically does. This meant that for the first few days of fishing, Colin and Terry had to work hard to find fish, searching the lake for areas with warm enough waters to hold active fish. Their efforts paid off, and they were both able to bring in a few beautiful smallies. On day three, they met up with local guide Adam Vallee of Angling Algoma, and he brought them to a lake a short drive away. According to Adam, this lake was shallower, and based on the weather, may yield more results. This is one of the great aspects of the location of Wakomata Lake Cottages -- you can fish the main lake, or if you’ve brought your own boat, you can explore the great fishing all through the area. Adam hit the nail on the head, and both Colin and Terry were able to get into numerous fish.

Generally speaking, the diet of a smallmouth bass often consists primarily of baitfish, like minnows and smelt. For this reason, streamers and Clouser Minnows are my go-to (with the Game Changer being a personal favourite). Topwater action can also be explosive during this time, depending on the weather and temperature. Poppers with rubber legs are my preference for this, as the sound and vibration of the legs are great for attracting active fish.

Coming prepared with a variety of line types will allow you to target different depths. However, as the bass is often beginning to come shallower during this time due to the rising temperatures, I would suggest a floating and intermediate line, paired with a heavier fly for the subsurface, and a floating line for topwater. This is an excellent way to imitate their prey and trigger a reaction. On this trip, Colin used fast actions, 6-weight rods, in 9- and 10-foot lengths. Pre-spawn smallies are hungry and often aggressively on the chase. When it comes to your retrieve, it’s imperative to use a variety of speeds and cadences, including pauses, to help you determine what will trigger a take.

If you’re looking for more than smallmouth bass, don’t worry. Wakomata Lake Cottages is located within an epic multi-species fishery. In addition to smallmouth bass, northern pike is also open year-round. Lake trout fishing opens January 1st to labour day weekend, and Wakomata Lake also boasts the opportunity to catch whitefish and perch. For those looking to do some exploring, there are many lakes accessible within a short drive from the lodge. For example, nearby Dam Lake gives anglers the opportunity to fish for splake and jumbo perch.

For those in your party who may want to indulge in non-fishing activities, Wakomata Lake Cottages has you covered. No matter the season of your visit, there is plenty to do around the property! Whether you’re hiking through the vibrant colours of fall, snowshoeing amongst glistening pines in winter, or throwing a line on the lake during the spring and summer, fun abounds.

No matter the time of year you choose to visit Wakomata Lake Cottages, you’re sure to be entertained, with a variety of activities available to guests that cater to every season! Ice skating, snowmobiling, ice fishing, snowshoeing in the winter months; nature trails, 4-wheeler trails, and boating in the spring; swimming, an aqua park, canoeing or kayaking, pontoon all summer long; and come fall there are a variety of local hiking trails to enjoy the changing foliage!

Despite the tough conditions, Colin and Terry had an incredible time on their trip. At the end of the day, the company of good friends is what really matters, and bending the rod is just a bonus.

For a sneak peek at this episode, see the teaser on our YouTube page here:

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