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Kayak Fishing in Sudbury

Kayak fishing at sunrise • Credit: Delmas Lehman
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Kayak Fishing in Sudbury

One local's tips on setting up your fishing kayak rig

Access those hard-to-get-to secret spots close to shore and enjoy the quiet solitude of nature in the lakes and waterways around Sudbury



Kayak fishing is the perfect way to fish in the lakes and waterways around Sudbury. A quieter, more contemplative sport than traditional boat fishing, it's ideal for avid anglers looking to get into secret spots that you can't access from a motorboat or casting from shore. Beginners will also enjoy the benefits of kayak fishing; the quiet, solitude, exercise and feeling closer to nature. We all know Greater Sudbury has lots of great spots to fish — here's how to get at them with a different mode of transportation!

Sudbury local Davin Levesque is a keen fisher with a unique take on kayak fishing, which is growing in popularity in Sudbury.

“I started kayak fishing about seven years ago. I was actually given a kayak for free, a brand new kayak, that was abandoned at my aunt’s rental property. So, I bought a couple of items to turn it into a fishing kayak, and I’ve been hooked ever since.”

We sat down with Davin and asked him for some beginner kayak fishing tips. For the curious fisher, this is one activity to check off your bucket list this summer.

Fishing Kayaks vs Regular Kayaks

Aren’t kayaks tippy?

Well, newer fishing kayaks nowadays are super stable. Last year was my first year using an actual fishing kayak, and it was night and day compared to my old kayak. New fishing kayaks are similar to standing on a stand-up paddle board, so they’re very stable. It’s comparable to an aluminum boat.

Do you need to learn any special casting techniques for fishing on a kayak?

I don’t really change my technique, but I am more cautious when it comes to casting. You have to really make sure you’re not getting hooked on your net, on your feet, and stuff like that. If you get hooked on that while doing a back cast, you can throw yourself right out of the boat, and I definitely say that from experience. There’s a couple of things you can do, casting wise, to keep you stable. You can point your boat to where you’re casting towards – you can go a little bit to the side, but you don’t want it all the way on the side because you’ll be more prone to tipping your kayak.

Obviously there are different kinds of fishing kayaks out there, but one of the most important things that you’d need is a paddle. What kind of paddle should you look to bring?

There’s some fishing-specific paddles out there, and they’re going to range in length. So they vary a bit, but it depends on the width of your boat and how tall you are, but a the biggest benefit to getting a fishing-specific paddle is that they have a line hook on the back that will actually grab your line in case it gets snagged.

Setting up your Kayak Fishing Rig

How do you rig your kayak for fishing?

So personally the first thing that I’m going to get is rod holders, you can’t have enough. I like to have a tube style rod storage for extra rods. I bring around four or five rods with me fishing, depending on what I’m doing. I like to have a good selection of rods with me. I still have different tackle on each one, that way I can just switch really quick depending on the activity, the position I’m in, and the time of day.

I also use the ram style rod holders. The multi-purpose ones are awesome, because you can actually put all kinds of style rods in them. I’ll put everything from baitcast rods to fly rods in these holders, and it is really nice, super high-quality aluminum. So, when you’re trolling, it puts less pressure on your components. Having high quality rod holders to have while you’re trolling is important.

Another thing that you must have for kayak fishing is an anchor. It’s actually one of the cheapest modifications you can do. There’s a big difference between buying an anchor, and knowing how to set one up properly – it can be night and day. Even the cheapest anchor can be the best. Some kayak anchors allow you to change the position as well. So if you’re fishing in a river, or if you’re fishing in wind, your kayak will get pulled around, and it usually doesn’t work in your favour. But if you have an anchor, you can anchor it from the side, back or front – and then position in front of your fishing hole in the best way.

The other piece of equipment I’d recommend is electronics. So there’s a lot of great models out there, like the Humminbird Helix 5 Sonar or the Garmin Striker 4 or 5, which is my favourite. It’s amazing, I’ve been using it for a long time. The most economical option is the Striker 4. It’s huge when you’re going for a deep-water fish. If you’re on Wahnapitae and going for Lake Trout, you need electronics - otherwise you’re fishing blind.

All the Tackle you Need for Kayak Fishing

What would you recommend for bait and lures when kayak fishing?

Depends on what you’re going for. The most versatile lures that I go for are jerkbait.  I’ve caught my biggest brook trout, my biggest bass and my biggest pike with jerkbait lures. That’s huge! So jerkbaits really imitate a wounded bait fish super well, and some of the newer ones that are coming out have such a good action on them.

You can get deep diving ones, and shoal ones, for lake trout and deep-water brook trout as well. So it’s really a versatile lure. Other than that, topwater fishing is a lot of fun on a kayak. I’ll use top-waters for bass and pike.

You mentioned bringing four or five rods with you every time you go kayak fishing. What do you bring?

I like to bring a really long rod with me, that way I can scan-cast a whole area and cover a lot of water really quick, then I can move on to the next spot, and so on. That being said, for bass, I’ll bring a medium-heavy seven foot baitcasting rod. And I’ll bring that to a fast action. I usually pair that with a size 100 baitcasting reel. For finesse fishing, I’ll usually bring a 7’1” or 7’3” spinning combo medium fast action. I’d usually bring a 2500 size reel for that one. And usually I’ll run a braid with a flurorocarbon tip on there.

The last rod that I’ll bring with me – I don’t always use it, but I’ll always bring a fly rod with me because it’s one of my favourite styles of fishing.

Where to go Kayak Fishing around Sudbury

Where do you recommend trying kayak fishing here in Sudbury?

Ramsey Lake is awesome. It’s super accessible and is an amazing bass fishery that’s right in town. So it’s really easy to access. It’s somewhere that you don’t need a lot of expensive gear to really fish. I personally really prefer big water, but I don’t recommend that for beginners.

For beginners, lakes over rivers. Rivers are a little tricker to handle in a kayak, and there’s a higher chance of tipping. Some great lakes to start would be Ramsey Lake, Windy Lake (on calm days), and Onaping Lake, which is up by Halfway Lake Provincial Park.

Kayak Fishing Tips for Beginners

What final tips do you have for beginners?

The biggest thing I can tell you, is before you even start kayak fishing, put on a PFD and a swim suit and take your kayak out, then lean on your kayak until it tips over. Do it on both sides. Then you understand exactly how stable your kayak is, and to me that’s the most important part.

Pliers. Always bring pliers with you. Everybody forgets pliers when you go fishing and it sucks when you catch a pike or a musky. Bring pliers – and if you have dry storage on board, leave it in there.

Also, bring good quality, polarized sunglasses. They’re another must. Then you can actually see the fish when they’re in the water.


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