I pitched my creature bait to a spot just outside the reeds and before it hit bottom, a 5-pound smallmouth demolished it. Seconds after that one was in the boat, my wife leaned into a 3-and-a-half-pound smallie.
We were fishing the Shebandowan Fall Bass Classic Tournament on Shebandowan Lake, 100 km west of Thunder Bay along Highway 11. The lake stretches 40 km from east to west and consists of three unique basins: Lower, Middle, and Upper Shebandowan. We’d started our day on Middle, where miles of rugged shoreline and rocky structure produced a limit of mid-sized smallmouth. Around noon we hustled down to Lower Shebandowan and started connecting with big fish.
Lower Shebandowan is my favourite section of the lake. It features spectacular shorelines filled with beautiful cabins and holds some of the largest smallmouth in the lake. After my wife and I both pulled big fish from a reed-line in seven feet of water, we decided to fish the rest of the tournament on different areas of Lower. At the end of the day we brought our catch to the scales to earn the Big Fish Prize and top finish in the tournament, with a two-pound lead over second place.
Lodges and Resorts
Not only does Lower Shebandowan have large fish, Shebandowan Shores Resort and Beda's Lodge offer anglers family-friendly accommodation right on the lake. Kashabowie River Resort, on upper Shebandowan, is another option for waterfront cabins. Upper is where you'll encounter the most wildlife, from soaring eagles to moose wading the backs of weedy bays. Upper offers numerous points and shoals for smallmouth to congregate. There’s even a small population of largemouth bass in addition to the pike and walleye found throughout the entire system.
Keeps on Giving
Shebandowan is where I cut my teeth fishing, and is still the body of water I frequent most in summer. Whether it's fishing for fun, fishing a tournament, or guiding clients with Thunder Bay Pro Fishing Guides, the lake will always hold a special place in my heart. As a fishing guide on Shebandowan, I've seen leaping bass that have made grown men scream with excitement and kids laugh uncontrollably. I look forward to more trips to Shebandowan, a lake that continues to be a generous Northwestern Ontario angling destination.