Each year I count down the days to the start of bass season with so much anticipation. I always feel as though bass season truly kicks off my summer season, and this year it happened to fall on the first official day of summer. For this year’s opener I traveled to Frontenac County to explore the waters of Sharbot Lake in pursuit of largemouth and smallmouth bass. It was a very successful bass fishing adventure, and we managed to pick up a few other bonus species as well!
Please note: It is recommended to plan ahead before traveling by connecting with local operators and businesses to determine any new safety measures and procedures put in place.
To Sharbot Lake We Go!
Eric and I loaded up the truck and boat at our home in Ottawa and made the hour-and-a-half drive southwest to the town of Sharbot Lake, Ontario. We made a couple stops in the village prior to hitting the water to get all the supplies we needed for a long day on the water. This included a visit to Sharbot Lake General Store on Highway 7 for some fuel, then off to Cardinal Café to pick up breakfast and lunch takeout to enjoy on the boat. Food always tastes better on a boat, right? I certainly think so!
The Lay of the Lake
Sharbot Lake has two distinctive sections, an eastern basin and western basin. The lake covers over 1,700 acres and has a maximum depth of 105 feet. It is home to a variety of fish species including: largemouth and smallmouth bass, northern pike, walleye, lake trout, perch, and other panfish.
Sharbot Lake West
On the first day we explored the western basin of Sharbot Lake. Launching the boat at the Cannon Road boat ramp, it didn’t take long for us to get into some bass. I landed my first largemouth of the trip right by the boat launch on a bladed swim jig, called a Jackhammer ChatterBait. Eric also picked up his first bass using a light jig head and a small soft plastic craw imitation, the Z-Man TRD CrawZ.
We targeted rocky shorelines with Ned Rigs, deeper weedbeds with ChatterBaits, and even fished dense isolated clumps of vegetation using light punch rigs. In the process, we picked up a lot of largemouth bass, a few smallmouth, and some pumpkinseeds. Eric landed this nice northern pike on a ChatterBait.
The biggest surprise of the day was a nice walleye Eric landed on a punch rig while flipping into some heavy vegetation in 5-6′ of water. Typically this is the type of habitat where you’d expect to find largemouth, not walleye.
No sooner had Eric flipped his lure into the thickest section of the clump of vegetation, he set the hook and hollered: ‘Get the net!‘
I thought my ears were deceiving me at first when he followed up with: ‘It’s a BIG walleye! BIG walleye!‘
This walleye, and all of our other captures, were safely released to live on and hopefully be enjoyed by other anglers.
Sharbot Lake Country Inn
After a busy day on the water, we headed to Sharbot Lake Country Inn for the night. We stayed in their Suite, and I was really pleased with our accommodations. The modified/contactless check-in process made it quick and easy to get settled in. I loved the spaciousness of the Suite along with the decor and style. In fact, I picked up some inspiration for future home renovations here! Sandra, the host, was fantastic with answering my questions over the phone and through email when I booked in. I’ve included a few photos of the Suite below.
Sharbot Lake East
On Sunday we explored the eastern basin of Sharbot Lake. We would be spending another full day on the water, so I grabbed some snacks for breakfast/lunch at Mike Dean’s Super Food Stores along with some baked treats at Gray’s Grocery & Bakery. We also grabbed dinner takeout in the evening from the Maples Restaurant.
The east side of the lake is the shallower of the two basins, which is prime habitat for locating post-spawn bass. Largemouth and smallmouth bass will spawn in shallower waters in the spring and then transition to areas and points adjacent to their spawning grounds along their way to their summer hangouts. Weed lines, points, rock piles, and other structure near the mouth of major spawning bays, are all great places to look for bass at this time of year.
On Sunday evening we keyed in on one point in particular that ended up producing 4 of our biggest largemouth of the trip. These fish were caught on ChatterBaits (the Z-Man Elite ChatterBait including a RaZor ShadZ trailer). This point was the first major piece of structure leading out of a shallow bay where these fish had likely spawned a few weeks prior.
We threw our last casts of the day in and around this spot, which was a perfect way to wrap up such a great weekend on the water! I look forward to our next visit to Sharbot Lake!
For more information on Frontenac County, visit: http://visitfrontenac.ca/