Kayak Fishing on Lower Buckhorn Lake in Peterborough & the Kawarthas Region, Ontario

I recently had the opportunity to load up my kayaks for a multi-species fishing adventure on Lower Buckhorn Lake. This waterbody is located in the Peterborough & the Kawarthas region in Southern Ontario, Canada, and is part of the Trent-Severn Waterway. It’s been a few years since my last visit here and with fond past memories, I was very excited to be back! This would also be my first time exploring this area by kayak as I was previously here with my boat. I have partnered with Peterborough & the Kawarthas Tourism on this adventure.

Westwind Inn

Joining me for this trip was my partner, Eric. We stayed at the very lovely Westwind Inn resort which is situated on the north shore of Lower Buckhorn Lake. Westwind Inn has their own private beach and boat launch on site which made it very convenient for launching our kayaks and maximizing our time on the water. We hung our hats at their ‘Chalet’ accommodations for the duration of our stay, which is separate from the main lodge. This Chalet features 4 rooms, each with a private balcony overlooking the lake, and is right next to their beach.

Left photo: Our Chalet accommodations at Westwind Inn.

Right photo: The onsite beach with the Chalet in the background.

In addition to accommodations at Westwind, they also offer the option of pre-ordering meals (breakfast and dinner) which is served at their Tree Top Dining room that also overlooks the lake. We thoroughly enjoyed the breakfast and dinner menu during our stay, and they also packed us delicious lunches to bring along on our fishing outings. We ate very well here! My personal favourites included the pan-seared Ontario walleye for dinner, eggs Benedict for breakfast, and brownies for dessert!

Left photo: Pancakes & eggs Benedict breakfast.

Right photo: Brownies for dessert.

Fishing on Lower Buckhorn Lake

Our fishing adventure began the evening we checked in. We tossed some casts off the docks and in a short window of time before dark, we landed numerous largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, black crappie, yellow perch, and even some rock bass. My most exciting catch of the first evening was a small musky that I hooked with on a gold Musky Factory Baits bucktail. While Eric was running for the net and pliers, I fought the fish alongside the dock and thought I could manage without netting it. It was not a good decision! While leaning over the side of the dock to unhook the fish, it flipped and slipped back into the lake before Eric returned. Oops! Unfortunately there’s no photographic evidence of this one. But it wouldn’t be the only musky we crossed paths with on this trip!

We spent the following two days exploring and covering a lot of water. My first fish from the kayak (as shown in the cover photo above) was a gorgeous smallmouth bass. I picked this fish up on a Ned rig (a Z-Man TRD TicklerZ in Green Pumpkin on a 1/15oz NedlockZ HD jighead) just off the edge of a rock face not far from the beach we launched at. I was thrilled to start the day on a high note! Eric and I both fished a variety of techniques in pursuit of bass, including: Ned rig, drop shot, ChatterBait, and a light punch rig. We caught a fairly even mix of both smallmouth and largemouth bass. The most productive areas were the outside edges of dense weedlines (mostly milfoil) or isolated clumps of vegetation (mostly cabbage) in around 8-12 feet of water. As an added bonus, we were both pleasantly surprised at the amount of walleye we got into while targeting bass, most of which were caught on both the Ned rig and drop shot (using a 4.2” Z-Man Trick ShotZ). The schools of walleye we found were also hanging out along the outside edges of weedlines mixed in with the bass. Each evening though, we could see walleye actively chasing bait around in the main channels of the lake using our Garmin electronics.

Photo: Eric with a beauty walleye caught on a Ned rig.

Photo: Ashley with another smallmouth caught on a Z-Man Elite ChatterBait with a Z-Man RaZor Shad trailer.

In addition to chasing bass and walleye, we also spent some time targeting musky using a few different bucktails made by Musky Factory Baits. I had hope for another shot at a musky during this trip, and I was SO close! I hooked into a second musky once again on a gold bucktail during our last evening on the water. It smashed the bucktail, swam towards me, and while I was reeling quickly to pick up the slack line, it darted sideways and then jumped, throwing the hook. It was a little heartbreaking, but there was one very exciting musky catch from this trip that made up for it!

Eric was drifting along a weedline casting for bass and hooked into his first ever kayak musky! I assisted him with the net job, and after unhooking the fish and letting it recover in the net momentarily, he noticed that this fish was sporting a tag! We noted the number listed on the tag and don’t have the details as of yet on this fish. I’ll be sure to update this blog once we find out more. Fish are typically tagged as part of scientific studies, so we are very excited to learn more information about this fish!

Photo: Eric’s first kayak musky, and a tagged one at that!

It was another memorable and eventful visit to Lower Buckhorn Lake! Thank you to Peterborough & the Kawarthas Tourism for partnering on this adventure, as well as Inga and Jamie at Westwind Inn for a wonderful stay! We look forward to visiting again!

Learn more about the fishing opportunities in Peterborough & the Kawarthas: https://thekawarthas.ca/see-do/fishing/

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  1. Enjoyed this one – you clearly put a lot of effort into these articles. Nice job, and bummer on the first two muekies… but… you know, if we caught ’em all, we’d never really appreciate ’em as much! (Still… it’s tough when we gotta watch ’em swim off…)

    1. Thank you, AJ! That means a lot ☺️ I completely agree, and muskies have a way of making us earn the right to hold them! Haha. I appreciate you taking the time to read my article!

  2. Great story. Have spent time at a friends cottage just south of Buckhorn but must admit never hooked into musky or walleye. Only largemouth and smallmouth bass, perch and sunfish.

    1. Thank you for stopping by my blog, Archie! I hope you’ll get a chance to get into some walleye and musky here! ☺️

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