At The Manitou Weather Station
Enormous and Plentiful Smallmouth and Largemouth Bass
Lake Trout Fishing
Smallmouth Bass Fishing Manitou Lake
Lower Manitou Lake has outstanding Smallmouth Bass fishing. Actually, most lakes in Northwestern Ontario have similar conditions and habitat and can grow big bass but Lower Manitou Lake is more remote and hard to get into without flying so our bass have seen very little fishing pressure.
Smallmouth Bass seem more common in the 1 to 3-pound range. The reason for this is Smallmouth Bass travel in hunting packs and when you come up on a shoal that the bass have taken command of, you will catch tons of them in the 1 to 3-pound range. Bigger Smallmouth travel in mating pairs. Generally they mate with a bass the same size so if you catch a 4 or 5-pound bass, there will be another one in the same area.
Smallmouth Bass in the 4 to 5-pound range are caught frequently in Lower Manitou. If you are catching tons of small ones, you are in the wrong place. The bigger bass not only travel in pairs but stake out territories. If you come to a really nice shoal or rocky point and you don’t catch anything right away, it usually means there is a big pair in the area. There are 6 and 7-pound Smallmouth Bass in the lake but they are rare, which is why they are considered trophies. When you find a spot that looks great and you do not catch anything, come back an hour later and be very quiet as to not spook them.
If you wanted to you could catch 60 to 80 bass in a day. That would be from concentrating on areas with high populations of smaller bass. If you specifically want to catch a trophy bass, you need to sacrifice numbers and patiently fish the prime areas. If you are not catching small ones, then you know the big ones are there. They are there! Lower Manitou Lake is swarming with Smallmouth Bass.
The Smallmouth Bass in our lake taste awesome. If you clean some 1 or 2-pounders and cook them like you would Walleye, you will be pleasantly surprised. There is very little difference between the taste of Smallmouth and Walleye. What is really good, which you can do at shore lunch, is deep fry Smallmouth in Tempura Batter or English style beer batter.
Smallmouth Bass Fishing Tips
How to Catch Smallmouth Bass:
Smallmouth Bass are generally very easy to catch and easy to find on Lower Manitou Lake. Because it’s a deeper lake, the Smallmouth generally stick to the shoreline and rocky points. At times they will head into deeper water but they will stay close to their territory.
On still days when the water surface is like glass, the Smallmouth Bass are feeding, but they tend to explore their area and get spread out along the shore. Sometimes baitfish will feel too vulnerable and head deeper into darker water and the Smallmouth Bass will follow them. If you are not hitting fish at rocky points or over rocky shoals, try covering some area and troll along the shore about 15 yards out and cast towards shore with small black Mepps Furies or Blue Rapalas or Blue Thundersticks. If the bass have gone deeper, try sinking blue, black or worm-colored tub jigs off in the deeper water that is just off the shoal or rocky point.
When it’s windy and sunny, that is the very best time for Smallmouth Bass. Normal behavior is to patrol around and on top of the shoals. When it’s windy, the Smallmouth Bass will move to the backside of the shoal on the opposite side of where the waves are hitting the rocks. This is also true for points. The bass will move to the backside of the point. They may come up shallow or sit back in 5 to 10 feet of water. You can cast with lures because they will keep their eye on the shallow water and come up and hit lures just under the surface. You can also try some lures that go deeper. The very best way to get the big Smallmouth is to get a good size bass hook and put on a big worm with no weight and cast out and let the worm slowly sink. What you can do is un-clip your bail and let the bass take the worm and run with it for 10 second before setting the hook. You can also use the same technique with a live minnow. Some of the biggest bass are taken this way.
When it’s windy, Smallmouth Bass will also head towards a rocky shoreline. Depending on how big the waves are, the bass will sit off in 5 to 10 feet of water but stay close to where the waves are pounding the shoreline. Big waves bring in surface water, which attracts minnows. They also cause an oscillation in the water that the bass do not like. They sit off-shore in quiet water, but close enough to the turbulence to see unsuspecting prey.
Rain and low pressure:
Generally the Smallmouth Bass will go deep and stop feeding when it’s raining or if a low-pressure system moves into the area. They don’t always stop feeding. In this case, try heavy tube jigs and fish a lot deeper. On small inland lakes, the bass will go 15 to 20 feet deep. On big lakes, people have found incredible success fishing 30 to 40 feet deep using jigs.
Sunny and Hot:
In some lakes, the bass will hide in thick weeds. This is a good time to try weedless rubber baits like a Texas Rig or a Carolina Rig. These rigs are usually used for Largemouth Bass but can be effective for thick-cover Smallmouth Bass.
Small bass in the ½ to 2-pound range will school and stay in hunting packs. Generally the really big Smallmouth Bass that are 3 pounds and bigger will travel in mating pairs. They will also have a territory and try to keep the smaller bass out. If you find a spot that looks really good for bass and you are not catching any, most likely there is a pair or really big bass in the area. They are big because they are smart. Be very quiet and try casting with lures or jigs. If you don’t get anything, leave the area for an hour and then come back and try using some slow baits that will not spook them. A big worm on a hook with no weight is the very best.
Largemouth Bass Fishing Manitou Lake
Largemouth Bass are not a dominant species in Lower Lake Manitou, but they’re here! Compared to the extremely high population of other game fish, the Largemouth Bass could be considered a rare catch unless you specifically fish for them.
There are lots of back bays and weed beds that produce enough bass for you to have lots of fun for an afternoon, but don’t expect the numbers or the size that you get in southern reservoirs and don’t plan your holiday around Largemouth Bass fishing.
We still get some nice Largemouth, and every year guests are catching more and more of them. We want you to come to Lower Manitou for the awesome Muskie, Smallmouth Bass and Lake Trout fishing and think of Largemouth Bass fishing as a fun sideline.
Top Bass Lures
- X Raps (white, black/silver, perch)
- Twister Tails (cotton candy, white, orange/black, silver/black)
- Spinner Baits
- Cracklin Raps (white, perch, black/silver, Chug bug)
- Walk-the-dog type top water baits
- Tube Jigs
- Mepps #3 -#5 (silver or gold blade)
- Jig and Leech – always work, great for young kids