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Musky Mayhem in the Kawarthas

Jim Saric and John Cowan with a Kawartha Lake musky caught on a day of musky mayhem. • Credit: Jim Saric
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Musky Mayhem in the Kawarthas

Experience top-notch musky fishing on Buckhorn Lake in the heart of the Kawarthas.

The Kawartha Lakes in southeastern Ontario, Canada are a great escape, with multiple lakes loaded with muskies. Last summer, while filming an episode of The Musky Hunter television show, we stayed at Scotsman Point Resort on Buckhorn Lake in the heart of the Kawarthas, and experienced the musky mayhem that these lakes are known to produce.

The Kawarthas are located approximately 100 miles northeast of Toronto, and consist of 14 lakes that form a major link in the Trent-Severn waterway, connecting Georgian Bay in Lake Huron with Lake Ontario. These lakes do produce a few trophy 50-inch class muskies every year, but are most well known as action waters. If you want to catch your first musky, or actually catch a bunch of muskies, the Kawartha Lakes are the place.

Scotsmans Point Resort ,located on Buckhorn Lake in the heart of the Kawartha lakes, has easy access to many of the lakes in the chain. It has all the amenities for any musky hunter including great cabins, a great docking system, and even its own boat launch. You can literally launch the boat and be fishing in a mater of minutes, as there are several great musky spots in sight of camp. Buckhorn lake is loaded with muskies, but if you want a little variety there’s lots of musky lakes literally a short boat ride away, offering a variety of water color and structure to fish.


Musky fishing in the Kawarthas is mostly about fishing weeds. Early in our trip, we had sunny and bright conditions and encountered the muskies along deeper weed edges in 11-18 feet of water. We caught muskies on large soft plastics such as Bulldawgs in both black and walleye patterns. On such bright days, expect early morning and late evening to be best, which is typical of most musky waters.

Day two brought entirely different conditions, including clouds and rain. Although many vacationers consider such dark and dreary days a shopping opportunity in Bobcaygeon, musky anglers dream of these days. On this particular day, the Kawarthas did not disappoint and the muskies were everywhere. It was pure musky mayhem.

We found the muskies in the shallow weed cover (6-8 feet) and they were chasing smaller bucktails such as showgirls and Junior Cowgirls. Key colors included black and orange, and black and gold. During the first four hours of the morning, we were fishing fast and the muskies were striking and following. It seemed every weed bed was holding muskies. After we took a break for an hour or so to avoid a storm, we were back on the water and the muskies were still biting.


By the end of the day, we had boated eight muskies and lost several others, with over 20 other muskies following lures to the boat. It was an awesome musky day, and it made an incredible television episode. I am frequently asked why we film on the Kawarthas, and my response is always the same. It’s simply a fun place to chase muskies, and it seems no matter the conditions, you can always catch them. It’s just not something you can say about many other musky waters.

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