• Outdoors Column June 6, 2013

    Bass-Bass Club President Rod Freiburger of Tara with a largemouth bass from a Grey-Bruce Bass Club event last summer.  Local anglers are anticipating the upcoming open season for the region's spectacular bass fishing.Smallmouth bass throughout Ontario have been growing to weights never seen before in history. Along with our Great Lakes, Lake Simcoe has seen an explosion in the overall size of mature smallmouth. Many have attributed this growth to the established populations of the invasive Round Goby. Gobies are thriving and expanding throughout the province, and inhabit many of the same areas smallmouth tend to feed. If you havenít taken notice of the exploding Goby population in Huron/Georgian Bay waters, I suggest you dangle a worm from any local breakwall or pier. The gobies are carpet thick. Plentiful gobies provide a super weight building food source for smallmouth. With such an abundant source of food, its no wonder the bass are bigger than ever.


    Unfortunately, gobies have also become public enemy number one for spawning bass. Gobies are notorious for their appetite in regards to the eggs of sportfish, and the smallmouth rank high on their hit list. Throughout the months of May and early June, male smallmouth often spend days on end guarding eggs and newly hatched fry from an army of gobies surrounding their nests. Just the other day I stopped off at a local marina to observe a male smallmouth guarding a nest from a dozen large Gobies. He looked exhausted, but I would like to think he won his battle against the thieves.


    Unfortunately gobies arenít the only threat to the bass population. The idea of maintaining a local bass season works to protect a species that is vulnerable during the spawning and winter periods. During the spawn, both largemouth and smallmouth are highly aggressive and very predictable. Males will charge and attack anything that comes near their nest making them an easy catch for poachers. When a bass is caught off a nest, the eggs and fry become fair game for gobies, perch, sunfish and just about any other predator that is in the area, and these predators can make short work of a nest. For this reason, we have a closed season to protect these fish when their population is particularly vulnerable. The over-exploitation of bass while nesting can lead to a serious population decrease.


    Unfortunately, during the considerable amount of time Iíve spent on local lakes over the past couple of weeks, Iíve had far too many reasons to be both distracted and irate. While I have been sampling our local walleye fisheries, far too many anglers have been poaching bass out of season. Targeting bass, whether they are released or not, is illegal while the season is closed. On numerous occasions over the past month, Iíve heard reports from friends and acquaintances who have witnessed anglers targeting bedding bass. Iíve seen it firsthand myself. Removing bass from their beds will only result in a negative impact for the fishery. When one considers the local goby population in Huron and Georgian Bay, the idea of pulling a bass off a nest spells total doom for any offspring. That means less bass to catch in the upcoming years, and less bass for the kids to reel in as they are introduced to this great sport.


    Bass make one of the finest sportfish in North America, and contribute more money to the sportfishing industry than any other species. Bass also represent the most predominant species caught and released across North America each year. We are pretty lucky to have both species, in large numbers and good size, spread across our region. So, if you are an avid angler, help to protect our resources by reporting poachers. For the newbies, if you are looking to spend some time on our local lakes in the coming months, try your hand at bass fishing. They make an incredible adversary.


    For interested anglers, there is a local tournament club devoted to the region. The Grey-Bruce Bass Club was formed over seven years ago and continues to host live release bass tournament events across the region. The club also donates manpower and money to local conservation projects focused on local bass fisheries. Tournaments are held on local lakes on a number of Wednesday and Saturdays during the summer. For more information, contact Watsonís Tackle.

    Salmon- Owen Sound local Wade "Goo" Nixon hoists a Lake Huron Chinook taken on a Hotfish spoon off Port Elgin.  The Fish Kincardine Derby wrapped up over last week with Bill Wyatt of Walkerton taking top salmon for his 17lb Chinook and Rick Dwinnell of Kincardine landing the largest fish overall, a 20lb plus Lake Trout.


    Salmon- Owen Sound local Wade "Goo" Nixon hoists a Lake Huron Chinook taken on a Hotfish spoon off Port Elgin. The Fish Kincardine Derby wrapped up over last week with Bill Wyatt of Walkerton taking top salmon for his 17lb Chinook and Rick Dwinnell of Kincardine landing the largest fish overall, a 20lb plus Lake Trout.
















    This article posted with permission, it appeared in the Sun Times June 6th 2013.
  • Recent Articles