Come Wander
Fishing in Ontario's Highlands

As an angler who is passionate about exploring new waters, I’m grateful to live in a region that has endless options! Whether you’re shore fishing, venturing out by boat, kayak, or canoe, there are bass fishing opportunities for everyone here in the Ontario’s Highlands region. I’ve put together a list of my five favourite bass techniques that I use throughout the region, along with how to get geared up for these techniques.

The Ned Rig

A largemouth caught on a Ned Rig at Bon Echo Provincial Park

The Ned rig has become one of my favourite go-to presentations for both largemouth and smallmouth bass and worked well during a recent adventure at Bon Echo Provincial Park. It is a finesse presentation, meaning that it is typically paired with lighter line and a sensitive spinning rod set-up. In terms of a fishing rod, I would suggest using a fast or extra-fast action in order to ensure you feel even subtle bites. I use a standard size 2500 spinning reel. The bait itself looks like a stick bait, or a Senko that’s been cut in half. It doesn’t sound very fancy, but it works! I use the Z-Man Finesse Shroomz jig heads paired with their Finesse TRD soft plastic baits. In terms of line, I use a braided main line (15-pound test) with an 8-pound fluorocarbon leader. I usually focus on shorelines, rocky points, and weedlines. I’ll work this bait a few ways: casting it out and hopping it back, slowly lifting and letting it sink, or even pausing it as sometimes bass will pick it up off bottom.


A largemouth caught on a ChatterBait in the Lennox & Addington region

The ChatterBait is a great search bait that I use to cover water and locate fish. One of my favourite places to throw a Chatterbait is along shorelines and on weedy flats on Big Rideau Lake in Lanark County. A ChatterBait is a bladed swim jig that has an erratic action as the blade wobbles through the water, with a skirt that pulsates as it moves. I recommend using a baitcaster set-up with this presentation. I use a medium-heavy moderate action rod, a 6.3:1 speed baitcaster reel paired with 40-pound test braided line. When fishing clear waters, I like to use a 15-20 pound fluorocarbon leader. This bait can be straight reeled although I like to vary my retrieve speed. I typically throw a ChatterBait through and over weed beds. My favourite options are the Z-Man ChatterBait Jackhammer and the Z-Man ChatterBait Elite. I will also put a soft plastic swimbait on my Chatterbait to give it a bulkier profile.

Drop Shot

A largemouth caught on a drop shot rig on Limerick Lake

The drop shot allows you to present your bait hovering just above bottom. This rig consists of a hook tied above a weight (which sits on bottom), and can be paired with a variety of soft plastic bait options. I had a lot of fun throwing a drop shot during a visit to Limerick Lake in Hastings County, and picked up both largemouth and smallmouth bass. The drop shot is a great option when fishing around mid-depth shoals, rocky points, and off-shore structure but is also versatile enough to be casted around shorelines, docks and weedlines. For this presentation I use a lighter spinning set up including an extra fast action rod, a standard size 2500 size spinning reel spooled with 15-pound test braided line and an 8-pound test fluorocarbon leader. I like the Gamakatsu TGW Drop Shots Hooks and the X-Zone Round Drop Shot Weights. As for the bait, I like the Berkley Gulp! Minnows, or the Z-Man Trick Shotz. When fishing a drop shot, I will cast it out and twitch it, hop it off bottom or slowly crawl it back.

Flipping Jig

If you’re comfortable using a baitcaster set-up, I’d suggest adding a flipping jig to your line-up if you haven’t yet! A flipping jig consists of a jig head with a skirt, and is typically equipped with a weed guard. This presentation is best thrown on a heavier baitcaster set-up such as a heavy action rod with a high-speed gear ratio reel (such as 8:1). The reason for the heavier set-up is due to the types of areas a presentation like this is typically thrown. For example; around heavy cover like thick vegetation, or around fallen trees and dock pilings. A flipping jig worked well for me while targeting largemouth on Weslemkoon Lake. Upon hooking a fish in dense cover, you’ll want a set-up that enables you to pull them out quickly so you don’t get bogged down with weeds or wrapped up on structure. A jig works great in covering structure and can work well even when it’s tough to get a bite. I like to cast in, ensure my jig touches bottom, do a few lifts and then move on.

Hollow Body Frog

Throwing a hollow body frog is one of my favourites for largemouth bass. Watching fish explode on the surface for this top water lure is very exciting! There are a variety of frog options out on the market, but I like the Live Target Hollow Body Frog. You’ll want to go with a heavier baitcaster set-up with this technique as it’ll help with pulling fish out of heavy vegetation. I use a 7’4” heavy action rod and a high speed gear ratio reel (7.1:1 or 8:1 works well), spooled with 65-pound test braided line. I throw a frog over thick floating vegetation such as lily pads or weed mats. It’s amazing what largemouth will bust through for a meal! Mississippi Lake is a great place to throw a hollow body frog.


Shine at Giving this Holiday Season

Today’s craft markets are full of fresh, hip products made by creative and talented makers. This holiday season, go above and beyond by picking up handmade items with a story to tell at one of these Ontario holiday markets.

Discover Historic Accommodations in Ontario

Spend the night in historic accommodations to take yourself to way-back-when, and get into the spirit of the community you’re visiting. These inns have stories to tell of the people who lived and breathed inside their walls.

Expert Tips to Catching Fish

As an angler who is passionate about exploring new waters, I’m grateful to live in a region that has endless options! Whether you’re shore fishing, venturing out by boat, kayak, or canoe, there are bass fishing opportunities for everyone here in the Ontario’s Highlands region. I’ve put together a list of my five favourite bass […]

An Ode to Poutine

Discover these chip trucks and their classic dishes, located throughout Ontario’s Highlands.

The Great Pizza-Off

Chow down on artisan wood-fired pizza at any of these gems across Ontario’s Highlands.

Perfect Picnic Spots Near Ottawa

Discover these perfect picnic spots throughout the Ottawa Valley and Lanark County on your next road trip just outside of Ottawa.

The Perfect Scoop

Discover these top ice cream stops across Ontario’s Highlands to keep cool this summer on your road trip.

Buffalo Thrills

Discover good food and great memories at the Ontario Water Buffalo Company.

Summer Music Festivals

From rock to folk, these Ontario’s Highlands summer music festivals will keep you coming back year after year.

Art in the Summer

Celebrate creativity at art festivals across Ontario’s Highlands this summer.

Unique Festivals & Events

Embrace the incredible spirit and wonderfully ‘different’ themes at events across Ontario’s Highlands this summer.

3 Cheers for Mom

Discover ways to give a mom a Mother’s Day to remember, with gift ideas that go above and beyond.

An Escape into Nature

Find your connection with nature and each other during a cabin getaway at Deacon Escarpment in Renfrew County.

Pause for Pi Day

Celebrate PI Day with the best pie at these bakeries in Ontario’s Highlands.

A Winter’s Break

Sometimes what we need is a little technology detox to spend a little less time with the screens in our lives and a little more time with the people who matter most.

Valentine’s Day Treats

Treat that special someone this Valentine’s Day to a gift of sweets at one of these top places.

New Year, New You

Winter events across Ontario’s Highlands that will help you keep your New Year’s Resolutions.

Hit the Slopes This Winter

Discover the ski and snowboard hills in Ontario’s Highlands that both beginners and pros will appreciate.

Winter? Bring it!

Discover your love for the season with a classic Ottawa Valley winter.

The Best Baked Goods

Discover some of the best bakeries in Ontario’s Highlands and their tasty treats.

Where Am I?

Visit Winterdance in Ontario’s Highlands and discover a love of winter from some of its biggest fans.

Where Am I?

Discover Calabogie Peaks Resort, a well-known gem, through new eyes.

Concerts with a Community

In September each year, the spirit of community comes alive all across Ontario’s Highlands when the Festival of Small Halls rolls in.

Where Am I?

Stand tall and marvel at the views from the top of historical attraction, the Dorset Lookout Tower.

Where Am I?

Step back into nature at the Haliburton Forest and Wildlife Reserve to celebrate sustainability in this unique place.

The Memory Maker

I’m a Memory Maker. I wander to celebrate traditions with loved ones and create lasting memories. I enjoy visiting the same place, annual festival, or seasonal tradition year after year.

Where Am I

Explore the sweet moments and ageless beauty of Perth, Ontario.

Where Am I?

Mazinaw Rock, a hidden gem in Ontario that’s ironically, hard to miss.

Parks Worth the Admission

Visit these 8 Ontario Parks’ campgrounds in Ontario’s Highlands and discover why they are worth the admission.

Where Am I?

Make memories as you discover one of the Province’s most intimate hidden gems, The Haliburton Forest Festival.

Finding Imperfect Moments

Sometimes it is the imperfect moments that matter the most. Become inspired to roam without the burden of worrying about everything going according to plan.

A Different Kind of Detour

Take the road less traveled through Ontario’s Highlands to these unique festivals that are sure to leave a lasting impression.