MUSKOKA — It is certainly great to be back writing my column for yet another year. These past months have certainly been a trial for me, what with nobody except my closest friends to share my fishing adventures with and most of them probably with me along the way.
BAYSVILLE GETS A VOTE.
Ed Haney and his son Spencer show off some of the bounty available off the Baysville dam.
This winter, or lack of it, was just a total disaster for most lovers of ice fishing. First of all, the lack of cold temperatures made for a poor start to the season. Most of my favourite lakes just weren’t safe until about the first of February and then the record heat wave in March found me cruising around in my small tin boat wearing shorts where normally I would be sitting on a foot or so of ice.
Even when the temperatures rebounded to normal, the lack of ice and rainfall made for severely low levels of water almost everywhere. This resulted in a very poor smelt run, or in some rivers, no run whatsoever. If the absence of smelt wasn’t bad enough, the lack of water played havoc with my normal lake trout and speckle action. Some of my best spots are down two to three feet, and the trout are just not there this year.
But, as I was heading home the other day from another fruitless outing, I happened to hear about a contest being held by the World Fishing Network (WFN). They are running a poll looking for the ultimate fishing town and the winner will receive a $25,000 donation to help the fisheries in the area. Some of the local names mentioned were Baysville, Gravenhurst and Parry Sound, three of my favourites in which to wet a line.
Immediately upon arriving home I keyed in the WFN website and checked out the numbers. To my dismay, these three places are so far down the list, it would take a small miracle for any to rise to the top.
As I tend to do while thinking about fishing, my mind began to wander. Would I really consider any of these places to be the ultimate fishing town? The answer for all three is a resounding yes.
When one thinks of big fish, any species, the name of Gravenhurst with Lake Muskoka on its doorstep is just a natural, along with Parry Sound sitting on sprawling Georgian Bay. Both offer top-notch angling opportunities for everything from smallmouth to walleye and pike, often of trophy-size proportions. If you toss in some world-class trout action and the chance to tie into the next world-record muskie, then either town could easily win this contest.
But for me, due to my close proximity, Baysville would have to get my vote. Sitting on the large, relatively untouched Lake of Bays, it abounds with opportunities galore. At any given time of the year, this area is a fisherman’s paradise with lake trout and smallmouth usually getting the nod as the go-to favourites for me. Add in the possibility of a trophy-size speckled trout or whitefish, I don’t know how it could possibly get any better, a true four-season fishery.
Now as we enter the month of May, here’s hoping the skies will open and give us the much-needed rain so the waters will rise. Without higher water, I fear that the next few weeks could have very slim pickings in terms of trout action, at least in the rivers and streams, no matter which ultimate town I decide to wet a line in.
Till next time, good luck and good fishing.
Ed Haney is an avid fisherman who lives near Huntsville.