Woman with a white cap holding up a Largemouth Bass

Fishing the interior lakes at Bon Echo

Today’s post comes from year-round multispecies angler and writer Ashley Rae of SheLovesToFish.com.

Visitors from far and wide flock to Bon Echo Provincial Park on Mazinaw Lake to view the iconic Mazinaw Rock, stretching 1.5 km across and 330 ft high.

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

If you’re longing for an adventure that’s a little off the beaten path, the park’s interior lakes provide great angling opportunities as well.

Mazinaw Rock in autumn

Some of the lakes can be accessed by car, while others require hiking or portaging in. Growing up in nearby Napanee and now residing in Ottawa, I have made a few trips to Bon Echo over the years, but this would be my first time exploring the interior lakes.

Joining me on this adventure was my significant other, Eric. It’s always fun to explore new waters, and this trip left us both very pleasantly surprised!

Explore by canoe or kayak

There are plenty of fish species to pursue at Bon Echo and the scenery on these secluded lakes is breathtaking. During the fall months (with less traffic than the summer months), it’s not a stretch to think you might have a whole lake to yourself.

Woman fishing from a canoe in a lake

Motorized watercraft are not permitted on the interior lakes, but guests can bring along canoes or kayaks. If you don’t own watercraft, rentals are available onsite through the friendly staff at Bon Echo Outfitters, located in the Lagoon.

Guy with a cap and pfd, holding up and looking at a largemouth bass

As a side note, informative boat sightseeing tours on Mazinaw Lake are offered by the Friends of Bon Echo Park, a not for profit organization dedicated to preserving the natural and cultural heritage of Bon Echo Provincial Park.

Accommodations

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

Cabin in the woods with a front deck

Quaint, rustic, and very cozy, I fell in love the moment I set foot inside. The cabins, only built in the last few years, are tucked in amongst the trees along the shores of Bon Echo Lake.

Fishing opportunities within

A variety of fish species are found in the various lakes at Bon Echo including: Largemouth and Smallmouth Bass, Northern Pike, Walleye, Lake Trout, Perch and more. Be sure to refer to the fishing regulations prior to your visit, or stop in at 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 a canoe rental with Bon Echo Outfitters and off we went to explore a couple bodies of water.

Woman from behind looking at a map

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

Back shot of a woman fishing in a lake

Shallow water is not off limits either as bass can still be found cruising in and out in pursuit of prey. Many anglers prefer fall fishing over summer as it means bass will be stacked up and on the feed, bulking up for the winter ahead.

Tips and tricks

It was so serene exploring the lakes via canoe and we were able to key in on a mixture of boulders and weeds that the largemouth were consistently holding on.

Man with brown cap holding up a largemouth bass

Using Ned Rigs, drop shots, and crank baits, we had a blast getting into some nice Largemouth Bass. During the morning and evening, top water lures, such as the Whopper Plopper, were also effective.

Woman holding up a largemouth bass

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

Inspired to plan a trip of your own? Bon Echo is open until October 21 this year, and it’s gorgeous in the autumn!