The sun is barely peeking over the tree tops. You open your bail, prep your line, and make a smooth cast to the perfect piece of structure on opening morning. The anticipation and excitement you have been feeling for weeks finally releases from your body. Action is applied to your lure; the initial kick, dart, or dance of your bait catches the attention of an onlooking bass. Before you know it, your line is tight, rod is loaded and you are into your first bass of the season. Drag screaming, line changing directions, and the bass breaks the surface giving you a quick glimpse and heightens your excitement. Finally the fish is in the net, a celebratory high five is shared with your fellow anglers and you’re officially ready for bass season in Northeastern Ontario!
The fourth Saturday in June marks bass opener across the whole province, however the MNRF has provided Nipissing anglers with an early opportunity starting the third weekend in June. Zones 8 and 10 have been enjoying early season success and it’s time for the rest of us to catch up!
Both smallmouth and largemouth bass are fattening up after the rigors of the spring spawn. The majority large mature bass can be found in the transition from their spawning locations into their summer haunts. Many fish will be available in the shallow waters of the lake’s littoral zone the warm shallow waters have bass’ metabolisms on the rise—a perfect opportunity for anglers.
Some of proven techniques for this time of year include jerk baits, tubes, spinner baits, top waters and swim baits. Bass are scattered across the lake at varying depths this time of year and these choices cover the entire water column. The spawn is over for the most part; the males are scattered throughout with some still on beds protecting fry and bigger females have moved off their beds in transition to their summer haunts.
Focusing on large sandy, gravel filled bays is a great start and work your way into the deeper areas. Once you find a few bites focus your day on this depth or type of structure. A pattern is usually obtainable while targeting bass so let them tell you what they want. Avoid dropping anchor and waiting for the first to come to you, don’t hesitate to fish through an area quickly looking for aggressive fish and focus on areas with different habitat and structure—this will help you to start to pattern the bass that you are after. Get out there; challenge yourself and the healthy fish populations available throughout the BIG Northeastern Region.
Some great areas to test your early opener skills include Callander Bay, South Shore, West Arm, and the upper French River. Click here to explore some Lake Nipissing hot spots. Other locations to be mindful of for this season include Temagami, Cassels, Nosbonsing, Temiskaming, Panache, Onaping, and the French River.
Fishing season is here in full effect so don’t delay, gather your gear, change your line, check your favourite baits, replenish your inventory and get after some brown or green fish this summer! The Region awaits you with open arms and a supply of aggressive bass to keep you entertained until winter.
Stay safe, fish hard, make memories, learn new techniques, challenge yourself and get out on some new water. Let’s kick off the 2016 bass season in style.