Bass opener recently arrived here in southeastern Ontario where I reside, and it is one of my most anticipated fishing seasons of the year! I just can’t get enough of chasing both largemouth and smallmouth bass and spend a majority of my summers targeting both. To kick off the season opener this time around, I headed back to Lennox & Addington County, this time to chase smallmouth bass on Skootamatta Lake.
Fishes of Skootamatta Lake
A variety of fish species can be found in this beautiful lake including: largemouth and smallmouth bass, northern pike, walleye, lake trout, whitefish, plenty of panfish species, and more. Skootamatta Lake is approximately 8 kilometers in length and 6 kilometers wide, with a maximum depth of 96 feet and an average depth of 27 feet. The lake is located just south of Bon Echo Provincial Park in Addington Highlands.
Eric, myself, and (our pup), Blitz, hit the road early opening morning to make our way to the lake. We put the boat in the water at the Jacques Bay Road boat launch and began fishing right away.
There are also two other boat launches on the lake, which can be found here on the Lennox & Addington County website. This lake is very rocky with lots of stunning steep shorelines and structure providing a great habitat for smallmouth bass. Smallmouth tend to love rocky and sandy habitats. We began by focusing on the rocky shorelines and discovered that while there were some fish holding up along the waters edge, it was the areas with adjacent weeds that were consistently holding fish. We made our way between the weeds and the rocky shorelines casting on the inside and outside to cover water.
The Ned Rig: A staple in my bass fishing experiences over the past few years has been the Ned Rig. It’s a super simple presentation consisting of a mushroom jig head and a short Senko-style worm. I like using the Z-Man Finesse TRD (worm) as the plastic is super stretchy and doesn’t easily tear even after multiple catches. This Ned Rig is a presentation you can work a variety of ways: letting it sink, dragging, hopping it along bottom, or varying the retrieve. On this adventure it worked best to let the rig sink, pick it up after a few seconds, let it drop back down, and then repeat. The smallies were picking up the Ned Rig while it was sitting on bottom.
Chatterbait: Another popular item on the menu during this outing was a Chatterbait (also known as a bladed swim-jig). The blade is positioned above the jig head, putting off a ton of vibration while it’s moving through the water. This is a presentation that is meant to be consistently retrieved. Although our Chatterbaits didn’t out-perform the Ned Rigs on this outing, both Eric and I caught some nice fish on them. This presentation is another favourite of mine as it’s so effective. It’s exciting to get a bite on a Chatterbait as it seems the bass nearly rip the rod from your hands. Hold on tight!
In addition to catching smallmouth, we also picked up some other species including: northern pike, a few largemouth bass, and approximately 900 rock bass (ha,ha)! The rockies were feisty.
A Scenic Location
Skootamatta Lake was so much fun to explore, especially with such a scenic backdrop of rugged rock along it’s winding shoreline. As you can see, Eric and I got into some nice smallmouth bass and were able to establish a pattern pretty quickly. This was certainly one of my most memorable bass openers yet. I look forward to our next visit here! To learn more about Lennox & Addington County, visit: http://www.naturallyla.ca/
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