Wild Northerner Magazine Summer 2018 - Page 32

BY SCOTT HADDOW

Wild Northerner staff

The bugs are swarming. The beer isn’t cold. The bruises on your legs hurt.

It doesn’t matter. The bass are biting and everything else comes second.

Summer is a glorious season. Sunrises are only matched in splendor by sunsets. Long days are typically filled with blue skies. A gentle breeze is always appreciated.

Summer is the ultimate time for backcountry tripping. This is, without a doubt, the peak time of the year for people with adventurous spirits to roar down rivers and loop big lake systems.

Backcountry tripping doesn’t always have to be an epic occasion of numerous nights and mind-blowing experiences. Backcountry tripping is ideal for getting on fish and also enjoying some seclusion away from busy and popular lakes.

An overnighter is a perfect quick getaway in summer to go in search of lakes or rivers that might harbour intriguing fishing opportunities. Smallmouth bass and largemouth bass in northern Ontario present two great choices to pack a tent, sleeping bag, a few supplies and head out with a partner and enjoy the finest Mother Nature can offer – a lake or river devoid of camps and boaters and surrounded by wilderness and wildlife.

I do as many overnighter fishing excursions as I can each summer. It’s awesome. I’ve been doing them since I was a kid.

I find bass in these less-pressured lakes can be more willing to give you a heck of a time. You don’t have to be a pro to get into fish. Aside from the latest techniques or new lures, the standard selection of bass tackle will see almost any angler through the process with getting fish in the boat.

The classics such as plastics (worms, bugs, craws, tubes), spinnerbaits, topwaters, jerkbaits and inline spinners will produce bass. Remember, in backcountry, weight can be a factor and one of the biggest culprits of heavy packs is tackle. It’s small but it adds up fast. Standard techniques such as drop shot, whacky rigged, dragging and bumping tubes and working structure will be fine. I like the tried, tested and true method of troll and pound. I love this method for brook trout. It’s simple, easy, effective and anglers have been doing it since boats were invented. Get your canoe going with two people paddling. Once the desired speed has been achieved, the person at stern lets out the trolling line, while the bow person keeps paddling. The stern person then takes over paddling while the bow person pounds the shoreline, structure and drop offs and holes with casts. When we troll with plastic frogs and craws, unweighted, it can yield solid results on mid-day bass.

I also like bringing in a small minnow trap. Getting your own bait isn’t hard with some bread chunks and can pay off with some of the biggest fish of your outing.

I would also suggest picking up a portable fish finder. The unit doesn’t have to break the bank account. The unit can be cheap, even if it just for marking depth. I have a couple of portable units I love. I use a Humminbird Helix 5. I have also used a Humminbird 160 in the past.

Like any angler worth his weight in Berkley Gulp juice, the value of a fish finder cannot be overstated. These units are vital when going into little pothole lakes off the beaten path.

There are many moments in the outdoors when you should sit back and just soak up the experience. Backcountry fishing is one of those moments. It’s a highlight of mine to ease back in my canoe seat and make casts at a submerged rockpile and have no sign of other human life.

It’s just you and the lake and the fish. Maybe an eagle flies by and perches in a big white pine tree on a rock cliff. Maybe a moose wanders down to the water’s edge for a drink of water in a bay. One thing is for sure, it might only be a short period of time, but it will be a lasting and meaningful period.

Then you end the day with a sweet campfire and a modest shore lunch of fish and a few beers.

An overnight fishing outing isn’t about the grandiose. It’s about recharging and giving your outdoors spirit a shot of the wild. It’s easy and impossible to put into words what it can do.

Grab the canoe, kayak, SUP, or jonboat this summer and get in the backcountry.

Good times with backcountry bass