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Related Topics
   Fishing in Weeds
   Home-made Portage Pads
   River Fishing for Bass
   River Fishing for Trout
   Wilderness Fishing

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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How to Choose the Water

Not every body of water is suited for canoe fishing.  Large deep clear lakes call for live bait fishing at great depths in water that is often choppy - you won't fare well with a canoe in this situation. Also, fast moving rivers icy cold with spring runoff are no place for a canoe, simply for safety sake. There are a lot of bodies of water that are fished well from a canoe - these are outlined below.

The Moderate Size Shallow River

For smallmouth bass and pike fishing, choose a river that has plenty of rocks, light rapids, and twists and turns. Rocks are nearly a guarantee of fish action since the smallmouth's favorite prey, the crawfish, makes their home in the rocks. Also choose a river that you can paddle upstream or easily drag or portage your canoe up against and over rapids.  In my section on River Fishing for Bass, I explain how you fish up a river rather than down. In my experience, fishing low water can produce some of the best smallmouth bass fishing where as moderate water levels tend to produce pike.  I would avoid high water situations altogether - you can't control your canoe well, the water is extremely turbid, and it's just plain dangerous!

For trout fishing, choose a large enough river to float a canoe. Also make sure you can paddle both up and down the river.  You will want to fish up the river rather than down. This must be a river big enough to cast a lure at least 30 feet to the wary trout. 


The Small to Moderate Sized Lake

Here's the problem with very small lakes: 3 people can just about fish the lake out if they put their mind to it.  Here is the solution: Pick lakes that are connected by rivers or streams to other larger lakes or rivers.  Actually, an oxbow off of a larger river will serve as a "lunch room" for the game fish that cruise the river.  The largest pike I ever caught was caught on a lake only a few acres big, but the lake was connected by stream to a much larger lake. You will not want a lake that is crystal clear to depths of 20 feet, but rather pick a lake with clarity down from 2 to 10 feet.  Try to find lakes that are mostly from 8 to 20 feet in depth so that you can get the bait down to where the fish is.   


The Larger Lake or Flowage

The larger lake is not necessarily off limits to a canoe.  You simply must choose a lake that has plenty of  sheltered bays and islands.  Avoid long narrow lakes such as the one a friend and I never thought we would get off alive from.  Here is a sample of a lake that would have a shape conducive to canoe fishing. Again, pick a lake that is neither too clear nor too deep.

First time on the lake? - Troll the entire lake shore at least twice.  After several times, you will quickly find the best spots.