They say Rondeau Bay is Ontario’s best kept secret and I couldn’t agree more! It is an angler’s paradise! Situated on Lake Erie’s North shore between Leamington and Port Glasgow, Ontario, both off shore and in shore fishing are at their best there. Walleye, Rainbow Trout and good sizes of Smallmouth Bass can be had by via Erieau to the main Lake. The sheltered Rondeau Bay gives us approximately eleven square miles of weeded paradise, which is perfect Largemouth Bass territory. The depth ranges from three to eight feet on average making Bass and pan fish fishing excellent in the bay!
My focus that particular weekend was on the Largemouth Bass. I was amazed at the weed growth in Rondeau Bay. Seriously, everywhere I looked there were pockets upon pockets of Largemouth potential. Clear water was apparent, for the most part, so certain tactics were essential to be successful as I found out. Don’t forget your fluorocarbon line! Murky areas were evident too, but still produced for me with normal close proximity pitching.
Certain bodies of water change over the course of a season and some more than others. Rondeau Bay, I think, would change frequently because of winds. There is a section at the North central area that is littered with surface matted weeds. Wind might change its shape here and there, but I am willing to bet it is there to stay. This particular weed matted paradise makes it excellent for top water baits. Frogs, rats, buzz baits, you name it and I know Largemouth could be had in this area. Let me tell you, it was painful to watch all the surface activity knowing my top water baits were sitting on my desk in my office at home! As a matter of fact, buzz baits are a favourite of the local anglers. My family parked our motor home at the Summer Place Marina and Campground situated on Rondeau Bay’s east shoreline. We quickly noticed that come evening; everyone was casting buzz baits and spinner baits until dark. Many were successful and took pride in releasing the Bass to fight another day. It was good to see anglers who care enough to release what they catch.
During my family’s short stay my son Lorenzo and I were able to get out and sample the great Bass fishing. Wind was a factor for us because this bay is definitely a sight fishing bay. Strong winds hindered our visibility greatly at times. When good deep weed edges were located, marking them on the G.P.S helped in keeping us close to them. Thank heavens for the G.P.S because from re-rigging alone the wind would send us off target and many times, way off target!
Dunking pockets with a Lightning Series 916 oz. jig with a Yum Craw Chunk trailer produced a good 5lb Largemouth right off the bat. I put it in the live well for pictures back at the motor home which was conveniently located on the shore of a lagoon at the camp. Needless to say, the Bass was released alive and well back where it was caught. I know it sounds crazy, but whenever I catch a good size Bass, and forget my camera, I will take pictures at the cottage or camp and travel back to the exact spot where I caught it and release the Bass in its original setting. I think it’s important because the Bass doesn’t get disoriented and is calm because it knows its surrounding.
Weeds in Rondeau’s gin clear water were fished with Senkos rigged Wacky and Texas. My son fished the Texas and I fished the Wacky. Distance was key here and Spider Wires Invisi-Braid helped in the clear conditions. We were both successful many times over producing Largemouth from 2 to 3lbs consistently until wind, once again, made it difficult to stay on specific structure.
This Rondeau Bay outing was challenging with cold fronts, wind and 63 to 65 degree F. water temperatures. That is cool water for Largemouth Bass, so slowing down our presentation helped immensely. We still managed to have success and couldn’t help but wonder what would have been the outcome if temperature and conditions were perfect! There was so much Bass cover, but we were looking for distinction in the weeds and that took time to find. When the right cover was found we were rewarded for our efforts. Weed line edges were key!
Largemouth, Smallmouth, Walleye, pan fish, what else can an angler ask for in a body of water with easy access. The best part about it is that they can all be caught in good sizes too!
Our weekend stay at the Summer Place Marina and Campground was peaceful and tranquil. The people were remarkably helpful in making our Rondeau Bay visit a memorable one. The fish were abundant and so was the hospitality. Make Rondeau Bay your next angling destination and you will leave smiling after you too have discovered Ontario’s best kept secret!