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Stoney Lake's Viamede Resort

Southern Ontario's pictureque Viamede Resort on Stoney Lake in the Kawarthas.

Setting out from the dock at Viamede Resort I head towards a white plastic bleach bottle that warns boaters of the rocks below. For my wife Lois and I, the bottle marks the initial stop of our first-ever attempt at fishing Stoney Lake. Lois casts first, using a three-inch tube jig. "I’m hung up on the bottom," she says midway through the retrieve, "No, it was a fish!" Offering condolences I immediately cast to the same spot and hook a two-pound smallmouth. It makes an acrobatic leap before throwing the jig. “Serves you right!” my fishing partner whispers.

For the next couple of hours, we try different shoals within sight of Viamede Resort. All the spots produce perch, bluegill, and chunky smallmouth. At one shoal a husband and wife troll by 100 feet out and tell us they are catching walleye.

After darting in for lunch at the dockside Boathouse Pub, I have a chance to chat with Blake Morton, who works at the Viamede Marina. He invites me to fish for smallmouth at a couple of his hotspots after he finishes work. We only have an hour but catch and release five good smallies in the 1- to 3-pound range.

Author Bob McGary battles a smallmouth bass caught from an offshore Shoal of Southern Ontario’s Stoney Lake. (Photo credit: Bob McGary)

That night Lois and I ate supper at Viamede’s main dining room which overlooks the lake while we watched anglers fish for walleye and smallmouth within a kilometre of the lodge.

Stoney Lake is 20 miles long and has over 1,000 islands. Lumbering in the 1850s opened up the area. Shortly after, settlers moved into the region, followed by cottagers in the late 1800s. Steamships were the primary mode of travel until roads were constructed in the early 1900s.

Viamede Resort and Stoney Lake can be found a couple of hours Northeast of Toronto.

Known as the "Grand Lady of the Kawarthas”, Viamede started out as a lumber camp over 140 years ago and has evolved into the premier resort of today. With 2,000 feet of shoreline and 165 acres of pristine forest, the year-round resort offers a variety of activities including ice skating, cross-country skiing, curling, snowshoeing and hockey. Ice fishing is also available for perch, bluegill and crappie.

We even got a chance to sample the great muskie fishing in Southern Ontario’s Stoney Lake. (Photo credit: Bob McGary)

Ben Samann, general manager at Viamede, invites me to fish with him the next morning. Lois is happy to fish the shoreline for crappie and bluegill while Ben takes me to a few of his favourite smallmouth spots. Between fish, Ben tells me about the excellent muskie and largemouth populations that we’ve yet to sample.

After a doubleheader on smallmouth, Ben sums up the lake’s fishery. “The amazing thing about Stoney is that whenever you come across a spot that looks like it should have fish, it always does,” he says.

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