Freshwater Sharks

Last week was an odd one on the fishing front. It began with a drive down to Windsor to drop our kids off at their grandparents’ place for the week. Since I was only staying for one night, I thought it best to leave most of my fishing gear back at home. However, as their place is on the water, I packed one of my spinning rods along with the kids fishing stuff – I figured I’d be able to sneak at least a few casts in the evening. I brought only a single lure: a weedless frog, still in the package. The canal they live on weeds over pretty heavily in the summer and there are lots of bass to be caught if you have the right gear.

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Detroit River Bass

I grew up on the Detroit River in LaSalle – a small town near Windsor, Ontario. This river connects Lake Erie and Lake St. Claire and is a very popular and productive fishery. The most targeted fish here is easily the Walleye, but it is also teeming with Smallmouth and Largemouth Bass, Silver Bass, Northern Pike, Perch and it even has healthy populations of Musky and Sturgeon.

It’s the Bass that have always occupied most of my time here. My parents live on a canal that has proven to be one of the better Largemouth Bass spots (that I know about) on this river and I’ve spent countless hours fishing for them. Historically this has been with spinning gear, but more recently with a fly rod.

Last weekend I was down at my parents place and we headed out in the boat Sunday morning for some fishing. I was casting red and white buggers on my six weight with sink tips and it turns out the bass were into the flies moreso than my dad and brother’s lures and bait (I’m not bragging dad, really!). I landed a few smallies, with one particularly large fish surprising me when it smashed my fly as it hit the water just in front of a weed bed.

A nice Detroit River Smallmouth Bass caught on the fly

A nice Detroit River Smallmouth Bass caught on the fly

I certainly appreciate the local trout rivers that I now have access to living near the GTA, but I also miss the great fishing, boating and ease of access to rivers and lakes in the Windsor area.

When It’s Too Hot For Trout

When it comes to fly fishing, I’ve traditionally been a resident trout only type of guy.  If I wasn’t able to fish for trout, I generally wouldn’t fish at all.  Although this might sound foolish, my reasoning was as follows:

  1. Steelhead and salmon fishing in any river within an hour drive in any direction of my house is generally a shoulder to shoulder meatfest.  Not my idea of fun, at all.
  2. Warm water fishing with a fly rod has often seemed impractical, or inaccessible, due to the difficulty getting into a river or lake without some sort of boat (most are not wadeable and/or have zero room for back casting).

Well, I’m happy to say that I’m a reformed warm water fly fishing enthusiast. This happened gradually over the past couple of years. The main triggers included a new float tube which made a bunch of new water accessible, as well as discovering a couple nice wadeable stretches of rivers I didn’t previously know existed.  Of course, the hot weather this summer helped push me over the edge a bit too.

First Carp on a Fly Rod

The net result was lots of fun warm water fishing this year.  In fact, I caught three species for the very first time on a fly rod this year: smallmouth bass, pike and carp.  Previous years had me dabbling with largemouth bass and panfish.

One of many smallmouth bass taken on the fly this summer.

Next year I’m planning to add a pontoon boat to my ever-growing inventory, so hopefully that will make things even more interesting!