Location: Northern shore of Lake Ontario, Ontario
Hottest spot: Hay Bay
Why we chose it
In 2012, ranked #2 in all-time hot spots
Arguably the best trophy walleye water in Ontario, Quinte also ranks high on any national list, with 10-pound-plus fish caught every day of the fall and winter, both on open water and through the ice. But since 1998, we’ve picked this long, narrow bay on Lake Ontario’s north shore just as many times as a hot spot for quality largemouth bass. And the salmon fishing is just icing on the cake.
In 2011, Best for numbers of largemouth bass
As my tournament partner passed me the bandages while waiting to weigh in, I couldn’t help but laugh at the mess our hands were in. For the second day in a row, we had landed more than 100 three-pound-plus largemouth bass and, as a result, our hands looked like raw hamburger. It took the term “bass thumb” to a whole new level.
Without doubt, there are plenty of other places where you’ll have a better chance of catching a true giant largemouth. When it comes to numbers of good fish, however, I honestly believe there are very few places in North America that produce better than “The Bay.” It’s just that good.
When Quinte’s largemouth form large schools in the latter half of the summer and into the fall, they seem to be constantly on the move following schools of baitfish. As a result, one part of the bay might be hot for a few days, then suddenly seem devoid of fish. Typically, changes in the weather and wind direction will cause the fish to move, sometimes great distances. When that happens, you need to cover some water to find the schools.
While in search mode, you’ll at least continue to catch enough fish to keep things interesting. And for those just learning the nuances of bass fishing, you’d be hard pressed to find a better learning ground.
Hot lure: Chigger Craw on a 5/8-ounch jig
Hot fly: Large Bunny Leech
Learn more: Quinte Outdoor Sports
In 2010, Largemouth bass; Great numbers of fish and the chance at a five-plus-pounder
When to fish: All season long.
Where to fish: Launch from Trenton and work weedbeds and flats in eight to 10 feet of water.
Tip: Use topwater frogs in shallows and pitch tubes over the flats. Super-shallow running cranks work over weedbeds, too.
—John Noel, owner of Principle Outdoors Agency
Walleye; Good numbers of double-digit fish
When to fish: Late November and early December.
Where to fish: Focus on the area near the Glenora Ferry.
Tip: Troll deep-diving crankbaits.
—George Wallace, Canadian market manager for Bass Pro Shops
In 2009, Largemouth bass; Good numbers of fish. When to fish: From the start of the season until late September
Where to fish: Anywhere from shallow to deep weedlines.
Tip: Try topwaters, such as weedless frogs or a Horny Toad; or toss a Texas-rigged 10-inch PowerBait Worm.
Walleye; Potential for big fish
When to fish: Summertime is his favourite.
Where to fish: Focus on shoals and deep weed edges.
Tip: Cast deepdiving crankbaits.
—Tom Brooke, vice-president of Shimano Canada
In 2008, Walleye; The best water in the world for trophies
When to fish: Evenings in November until freeze-up.
Where to fish: Rivermouths, sandbars and gravel points near deep water.
Tip: Cast or troll six- to seven-inch, shallow-running minnowbaits.
—Gus & Steve Jojos, hosts of the In-Line Fishing Show
Largemouth bass; Lots of big fish
When to fish: July to September.
Where to fish: anywhere: there are weeds, in six inches to 10 feet of water.
Tip: Cast a 10-inch black, soft-plastic worm or ½-ounce flipping jig.
—Dave Mercer, host of Dave Mercer's Facts of Fishing: The Show