The Muskoka region offers anglers a fantastic variety of game fish to catch, and a whole bunch of different lakes to choose from. World-class fishing is just a short drive from Toronto and the GTA.
Did you know there are over 680 lakes in Muskoka that are over 15 acres in size? Here are some spring primers on just a few of Muskoka’s larger and well-known lakes.
The Big Three: Lake Muskoka, Lake Rosseau, Lake Joseph
These three huge lakes are joined by rivers and a lift lock so you can boat from one to another, and there are over 50,000 acres of fishable waters. This chain of lakes has lake trout, walleye, northern pike, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, muskie as well as perch and sunfish.
The spring season can be great fishing for lake trout right after ice out, as trout roam the surface and shallows in search of food. Try trolling jointed shallow running minnow baits on a long line like the Rapala J13.
The third Saturday in May is opening season for pike and walleye in the Muskoka region, which falls within Zone 15 of the Ontario Fishing Regulations. (You can find the details on season openings and exceptions in the link below.)
The northern pike will generally be in very shallow water at this time of year and can be lethargic. Slow moving baits can be very successful. Walleye will be slowly breaking up and scattering from their spawning run up rivers, and some will be around shallow rock and shoal spawning sites in the lake. The traditional jig and minnow, or jig and worm combo is a sure bet, especially in the deeper waters and current areas.
Kashe Lake south of Gravenhurst offers early season fishing for black crappie and perch right after ice out. Shallow protected bays can congregate good numbers of these tasty pan fish. Cast slip floats with small hooks tipped with worms, small minnows and soft plastic baits. Walleye and pike in this lake will relate to any emerging weeds and the schools of perch and crappie. Slow trolling crankbaits, and worm harness along weedlines works well, and a jig and minnow combo can be great when schools of fish are encountered. Muskie are also prevalent in good numbers in Kashe Lake but must be released as their season opens later in the summer.
Sparrow Lake offers the largest variety of species as it is part of the Trent Severn Waterway, a navigable system of lakes and rivers that connect Georgian Bay to Lake Ontario. Crappie and perch have patterns that are very similar to Kashe Lake, and walleye will be relating to the many strong current areas in this lake. The Kashe river and Trent Canal inflows are key areas, as well as the North end of the lake where current flows pick up as the lake narrows into the North Channel of the Severn System.
Channel catfish in Sparrow Lake are scattered throughout, with better populations in the North Channel. Large minnows and cut baits drifted just off the bottom below the strongest current flows can produce great catches.
Three Mile Lake
Three Mile Lake in the Township of Muskoka Lakes can be good in spring as it is a fairly large and quite shallow lake, so the waters warm quickly and fish are more active early in the year. This lake has good numbers of perch, sunfish and rock bass that roam the shallow bays.
Walleye fishing is usually better in the slightly deeper areas of the lake. Look for small pockets of deeper water in the large shallow flats. Casting or trolling crankbaits and jigs though these pockets will produce walleye. Also the north bay of the lake has greater depths and many walleye will migrate to the deeper rocky points and weedlines as waters warm up.
Practice “Selective Harvest” when angling in our great Muskoka Lakes; keep the smaller fish for table fare but release the large fish of the species to help keep a healthy fish population for our future generations.