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  • Smallmouth on the Manitou

    Lake Manitou, about 60 miles north of Fort Frances in Ontario is well known to many around the country as a top destination for Muskie. After all the Mepps Muskie of 1989 is the largest known Muskie Caught in the last 30 years. Still this typical Canadian Shield Lake holds another group of treasures.

    Smallmouth Bass. When I first came to the Manitou in 2003 the first fish I caught was a Smallmouth which hit an inline Muskie Spinner bait. What was really amazing were the fish that followed it in that were bigger. That first smallie was one of many I have caught over the years on this wonderful lake. Some were surprises, others I caught while trying to catch smallmouth.

    My favorite location to fish for smallmouth on the lake is right out from the lodge on the lake. Green Island Lodge is not ACTUALLY on the Island. The Island sits in the middle of the lake guarding the entrance to the Big Lake Manitou. A small straight about 8 feet deep and about 100 yards long separates the Big Lake from East Lake Manitou. The rocks and reefs that surround Green Island hold many big smallies. My largest fish was a 19 inch 4 pound behemoth caught trolling a DD 10 in hopes of hooking a large muskie, or pike.

    Smallmouth on the Manitou have that nice brownish bronze color that is typical of shield and clear lakes. The waters here never get above the mid 70's so these fish fight like freight trains all the way to the boat. I have never been able to get one so tired that it gave up. A net is a necessity when fighting these fish.

    My favorite baits on the Manitou are a #5 Mepps with no dressing on the tail, not even a red tube. Then it is a chartreuse skirt spinner by MND Lures of Ohio. After that is almost any Muskie Inline Spinner Bait usually made by Mepps. These smallies on the Manitou do NOT know they are not supposed to hit the oversized baits. These are aggressive fish and if you need to practice up on your soft plastic bait fishing, the Manitou is a great place to bone up on this technique. I do not get to fish enough normally and I often will make an effort to try out my skills with bottom rigged worms and tubes on this lake.

    Bonus fish you may catch? Pike to 16 pounds, and my personal best and probably the lake record a 31 inch Walleye. Walleye are NOT prominent on the Manitou. The Manitou did not have Walleye for some reason. No one really knows why. It is the upper end of a drainage that has steep waterfalls so the walleye may never have been able to get into the waters.. still somehow some walleye got stocked a few years back. Rumors of a lost stocking plane and a miner at Gold Camp who had a love of walleye meat and got tired of traveling to catch them, are the current explanations for the surge in the walleye population. Still walleye catches on the Manitou are few and far between.

    If you are looking for a GREAT Smallmouth lake with ferocious hungry fish, this lake will produce more than enough fish for you. Along with the occasional Pike, and Walleye the fishing on Lake Manitou is some of the best around. So with all the great lakes in Canada, WHY Green Island?

    My answer would be the people.
    Mike Korzinski and his wife are the nicest people I know, and the food at this lodge is worth the trip alone. The home made bread is to die for, and I often beg when I leave for an extra loaf of it to take home. My wife tells me not to come home if I do not bring here some of the Great Home Made Bread from Green Island Lodge.

    Give Green Island Lodge a try.
    You will love the place.. I do.