Rice Lake has always been kind to me. I repeat this mantra as I cast my bucktail jig into the edge of a weedline. As the jig drops, a slight line twitch signals a pick-up. I set the hook and the fish reacts, running into the weeds. Moments later, the four-pound walleye is in the net. This is definitely a good start to our day.
I’m fishing with my friend Terry Curtis who operates a guide service on Rice Lake. Curtis is the most experienced guide on Rice, with over 20 years on the water. We’re fishing out of Golden Beach Resort, located on the south shore approximately halfway along the lake. Golden Beach has been a family-owned and operated resort since 1948. Located an hour and a half east of Toronto, the resort offers an on-site licensed restaurant as well as cottages, condos and full-service camping sites. With an excellent launch ramp and extensive docking facilities, Curtis guides most of his clients using Golden Beach as his main base.
Back on the lake, we continue to move down the weedline, casting bucktails to the outside edge. In less than 10 minutes, I hook two small walleye but lose both. Curtis switches to a tube jig and on his next cast, I see his line scoot sideways. A healthy three-pounder is hooked and I net and quickly release Terry's fish. Using the electric motor to hold on to the weed edge, we connect with three more walleye. “If you’ve caught enough walleye, let’s go for smallmouth,” suggests Terry. Fishing should always be this good, I think to myself.
Rice Lake is approximately 35 km long by 2 km wide, with several islands distributed throughout. There are main lake troughs as deep as 27 feet and bordered by twisting weedlines. Access to fishing spots is great, because Rice is boater-friendly, with a number of small communities offering launch facilities.
After a two-minute run in his 21-foot bass boat, Curtis and I pull up to a point with a rocky shoreline. I cast into five feet of water and twitch a Rapala X-Rap back to the boat. The second cast entices a two-pound smallie into feeding mode. Fishing in five to 10 feet of water along the rock and gravel shoreline with crankbaits and tube jigs catches a procession of cooperative smallmouth. When Terry suggests switching spots for big largemouth, I convince him to leave that opportunity for another day.
Golden Beach Resort
7100 County Road 18
Terry Curtis Guide Service