Thu. Feb 29th, 2024
Fishing the Bon Echo Inland Lakes

Today’s post comes from multi-species angler and writer Ashley Rae of SheLovesToFish.com.

Visitors from all over flock to Bon Echo Provincial Park on Lake Mazinaw to see the iconic Mazinaw Rock, which stretches 1.5 km wide and 330 feet high.

It’s a sight to see from the water, whether you’re casting a rod or just taking in the view. Although beautiful, Lake Mazinaw’s features are not the only gems found in Bon Echo.

If you’re craving an adventure a little off the beaten path, the park’s inland lakes also provide excellent fishing opportunities.

Mazinaw Rock in autumn

Some of the lakes are accessible by car, while others require walking or transportation. Growing up in nearby Napanee and now residing in Ottawa, I’ve made a few trips to Bon Echo over the years, but this would be my first time exploring. the inland lakes.

My partner, Eric, accompanied me on this adventure. It’s always fun to explore new waters and this trip left us both pleasantly surprised!

Explore by canoe or kayak.

There are many species of fish to hunt at Bon Echo and the scenery of these secluded lakes is stunning. During the fall months (with less traffic than the summer months), it’s not a stretch to think you could have an entire lake to yourself.

Woman fishing from a canoe on a lake

Motorized boats are not allowed on the inland lakes, but guests are welcome to bring canoes or kayaks.

A guy in a cap and life jacket, holding and watching a largemouth bass

As a side note, Friends of Bon Echo Park, a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving the natural and cultural heritage of Bon Echo Provincial Park, offers informative boat tours of Mazinaw Lake.

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Accommodations

Bon Echo has accommodation for all styles of camping, including: backcountry accommodation, motorhome, radio-free, walk-in and roofed accommodation. Another first for me on this adventure was staying in a cabin in the park.

Cabin in the woods with front terrace.

Quaint, rustic and very cozy, I fell in love as soon as I set foot inside. The cabins, built in recent years, are hidden among the trees along the shores of Bon Echo Lake.

Fishing opportunities within

A variety of fish species are found in Bon Echo’s various lakes, including: largemouth and smallmouth bass, pike, walleye, lake trout, perch and more. Be sure to check fishing regulations before your visit or visit the park office for more information.

Our largemouth bass adventure

During our visit, Eric and I decided to focus on largemouth bass. Upon arrival, we arranged to rent a canoe with Bon Echo Outfitters and headed out to explore a couple of bodies of water.

Woman from behind looking at a map

In late summer and early fall, largemouth can often be found in mid-depth waters. The rise and fall in water temperatures that occur this time of year causes baitfish to seek stable water temperatures. Their predators, such as bass, will follow closely.

Rear photo of a woman fishing in a lake

Shallow waters are also not off-limits, as bass can still be found darting in and out in search of their prey. Many anglers prefer to fish in the fall rather than the summer as it means the bass will stack up and feed, gaining bulk for the coming winter.

Tips and tricks

It was very peaceful exploring the lakes by canoe and we were able to locate a mix of rocks and brush that the largemouth were constantly clinging to.

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Man in brown cap holding a largemouth bass

Using Ned Rigs, drop shots and crank baits, we had a great time hitting some nice largemouth bass. In the morning and evening, topwater lures such as the Whopper Plopper were also effective.

Woman holding a largemouth bass

This was definitely one of my most memorable fishing trips so far and I look forward to our next visit to Bon Echo!

Are you inspired to plan your own trip? Bon Echo is open until October 20th this year and is gorgeous in the fall!