Today’s post comes from year-round multispecies angler and writer, Ashley Rae, of SheLovesToFish.com.
Located just north of Parry Sound in Point au Baril, Sturgeon Bay Provincial Park is nestled on the picturesque shores of Georgian Bay.
A large bay on Lake Huron, Georgian Bay is well known for its granite backdrops, but also for the great fishing opportunities found here. Sturgeon Bay is the perfect place to hang your hat while exploring these scenic waters.
Joined by my significant other Eric, we traveled from our home in Ottawa to spend a couple of days at the park.
We stayed in one of the cabins, which included two bedrooms, a full kitchen (fridge, stove, cupboards, sink, counter space, microwave, coffee maker, toaster, stove top kettle, and dish rack). There’s also a common sitting area with a kitchen table, and a bathroom with a shower.
We fired up the barbecue following each day spent on the water, and also enjoyed wrapping up our evenings with a campfire. The cabin was a great base camp for our fishing adventure.
Exploring by boat
We began our fishing adventure by renting a boat over at Sturgeon Bay Marine, located just a minute down the road from the park.
The marina staff were super friendly and provided us with all the safety items required on board the boat, along with a paper map of the area.
The marina is located on the water across the bay from the park, making it quick and easy for us to load up our fishing gear and hit the water.
There is a boat launch located at the park, along with docking slips which can be reserved if you have your own watercraft. If you prefer paddling, canoe rentals are also available through the park.
There is a wide variety of fish species found in Georgian Bay including: Northern Pike, Walleye, muskie, Smallmouth and Largemouth Bass, Longnose Gar, perch, sunfish, and more.
We saw boaters and kayakers out chasing bass, and anglers of all ages fishing from the docks and along the shore at the park. There are plenty of ways you can enjoy fishing at Sturgeon Bay Provincial Park.
Chasing bass and Northern Pike
Since our visit happened to fall on bass opener, we decided to focus on areas which are typical habitats for this species: rocky points, shoals, and weed lines. There is so much of this type of structure to explore and the amazing scenery just adds to the experience.
I kicked off this fishing trip by landing a nice Northern Pike in a weedy flat on a Chatterbait not far from the shores of the park. Eric and I ended up landing a few pike throughout the trip, along with several Smallmouth Bass.
We fished with a few different techniques including: Ned Rig, Chatterbait, drop shot, and some top water lures such as a Whopper Plopper.
The Ned Rig worked great during the day as we made our way along the shorelines and points casting out this soft plastic worm and hopping it back to the boat.
When thicker weeds were present, I picked up my Chatterbait and worked it over top of and through the weeds (with some quick pops to break free of any vegetation that I picked up). A spinnerbait is another great option in this setting.
In the evenings, the top water bite was ON! There’s nothing quite as exciting as when a fish explodes out of the water on your top water lure! The Zara Spook worked great on scrappy smallmouth, and we even managed to pick up a few pike on top water as well.
A memorable catch
My largest smallmouth bass of the trip came on a Chatterbait that I was casting along a wind-blown shoreline, working it over top of the weeds. This fish was in the 3.5 to 4 pound range and was released back into the bay, along with all of our other catches.
I know there are bigger fish roaming these waters, and catch-and-release is certainly one way to keep them growing!
I’m so glad we had the opportunity to explore Sturgeon Bay and get a sample of the amazing fishing opportunities found here!