As the old saying goes, "variety is the spice of life." For anglers, Rousseau's Landing Resort on Sandbar Lake in northwestern Ontario is a pretty spicy destination. Not only can guests fish Sandbar Lake Provincial Park north of Ignace on Highway 599, they have access to 30 additional lakes where the resort has boats cached.
"They're semi-remote," says owner Jon Rousseau. "It gives you a variety of lakes, a variety of scenery. You can go to a different lake every day of the week."
Each night Rousseau works out a schedule for the next day so his guests don't all end up at one lake. Guests are responsible for reaching the lakes themselves via gravel roads. In many cases, there are no launch ramps, so boats from Rousseau and other outfitters are the only ones on the lake.
We start with an evening fish on Sandbar Lake. Fishing with friend Dave Metselaar and local Joe Lecuyer, we set out in search of smallmouth bass and pike. Sandbar is an irregularly shaped, cool-water lake that averages 22 to 25 feet in depth and is divided in two by a narrows. Although our short excursion only results in a few small pike, Rousseau says that smallmouth bass, walleye and perch are plentiful. It produces some of the larger walleye in the area, with the largest Rousseau has seen topping 13 pounds.
The next morning Metselaar and I are anticipating some good action as we drive north about 40 miles on 325, an abandoned logging road. We are headed to Lake Kukukus, a 12 mile stretch of the English River system loaded with bays and islands. I team up with Rousseau for walleye and Metselaar and Lecuyer target pike.
It isn't long before I boat the first fish. Rousseau follows with a few 17 to 18 inch walleye before we drift off a point along an island shoreline where we pick up 10 fish in short order. We gradually work our way down the lake, trying different spots along the way. One of the highlights is watching Lecuyer, in the other boat, tie into a 30 inch pike that tail-dances across the surface before throwing the hook.
While Lecuyer and Metselaar continue on the pike front, Rousseau and I head to a spot he knows holds walleye. My line doesn't hit bottom before a walleye grabs it. Less than 45 minutes later we've boated 15 fat walleye and our minnow supply is just about depleted. While our time here was limited to two days and two lakes, a longer stay would plumb the depths of angling variety that makes Rousseau's Landing a spicy destination indeed.
Sunset Country offers world-class fishing opportunities and a great escape in Northern Ontario.