No rest for this guy—it’s bass-opener week in southern Ontario! And get this: I’m just back from my fourth annual boys’ fishing trip to Quebec’s La Réserve Beauchêne, where our target species was, you got it, bass. Actually, my fishing buddies and I were after smallmouth bass to be precise, for which this special slice of near-north Quebec wilderness is so well known.
So, am I sick of bass? Not a chance. I’m actually pumped for the opener this Saturday in my home Fisheries Management Zone 16 (the lucky guys over in FMZ 17 had their opener last Saturday). Tomorrow morning, Patty Trudell, Billy Shields and I are heading to a secret little lake on a friend’s property near Tobermory. This place has yet to disappoint when it comes to serving up plenty of three- to five-pound smallies.
Patty and Billy are equally pumped, having also joined me once again on this year’s fish-fest at La Réserve Beauchêne. The three of us, along with another Beauchêne veteran, Jon Baker, made the five-hour drive to Beauchêne from my home in Aurora, Ontario, last Saturday. Joining us was the new Outdoor Canada boat for 2014, a sharp-looking Alumacraft Dominator 185 LD.
This was the same crew that joined me at Beauchêne last fall during the autumnal equinox (when the bite was admittedly tough), and once again we stayed at the off-grid outpost cabin on Foley Island. Foley Island is tucked away in the northwest corner of Lac Beauchêne’s Foley Bay, so it was a great advantage to have the speedy Dominator on hand to explore the furthest reaches of the main lake’s two distinct arms.
Unlike last fall’s visit, we certainly didn’t have to fight as hard to find the fish and figure out what they wanted—the bass would have only just come off the spawn. For me, the hot baits were hard-bodied topwaters, with the barbs pinched down to make sure I could get the fish back to their business as soon as possible. By our fourth and final day on the water, however, drop-shotting soft-plastic minnows was the go for me.
I won’t tease you with a blow-by-blow of all the fish we caught, but suffice it to say there were a few double-headers and several beauties in the five-pound range. For quality wilderness fishing so close to Toronto, it’s tough beat a drive-to destination such as La Réserve Beauchêne. That’s largely because this is a private, well-monitored fishery that sees very little fishing pressure—not surprising considering guests have some 40 different lakes to choose from. Thank you once again to General Manager Tony Avramtchev for the fine hospitality—and the great fishing.