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perfect simcoesimcoe NE shore

About the Lake

 

Lake Simcoe is located just a short cast north of Toronto and within an hour’s drive of millions of potential visiting anglers. For those who like a variety of fish, Lake Simcoe is hard to beat; with its deep sections for cold water species like lake trout and whitefish, mid-depth areas for popular fish like smallmouth bass and yellow perch, and shallower, weedy places that harbour largemouth bass, northern pike and a variety of panfish.


Ironically enough, despite being the most intensively fished inland lake in the province, it is during the winter that the vast majority of fishing pressure occurs. More people fish here when they can walk on hardwater than at any other time. So, for visitors coming to fish the lake throughout the open water seasons of spring, summer and fall, they may find  themselves wondering  where are all the anglers went. Let’s just say that their loss is your gain and if you want to maximize your Time on the Water during your visit, then read on and we’ll try and help teach you a little about our big lake. 

 

SPRING

Shortly after ice out, one of the first species to show up first are also one of the lakes’ most elusive – the black crappie. Although plentiful in Simcoe, these structure oriented fish are very difficult to locate in this massive body of water because there is not a lot of ideal physical structure for them to snuggle up next to. This is not the case when, shortly after ice out they move to near shore sections around piers, marinas, and up connecting rivers.  During the spring season the delicious crappie are sought after by anglers who know  that  if they time it right they can haul some beautiful 10-14 inch ‘slabs’ from the structure found in marinas and other nearshore areas. Several marinas in Georgina, Brock, and  Simcoe counties around the lake have crappie moving in ... but you may need to ask permission first before you venture in. Adjoining rivers like the Holland, Pefferlaw and the Maskinonge) also see some crappie move up every spring..

 

Yellow perch are without a doubt the lakes’ most popular fish. And it’s no wonder -  they taste delicious and are found just about everywhere.

 There are many excellent areas for spring perch, from Cook’s Bay in the south all the way up to Atherly Narrows in the north. Simcoe’s shores out from the villages of Virginia, Willow Beach, Keswick, Pefferlaw and Port Bolster, Innisfil, Gilford and even Barrie are tough to beat. Of course the annual Orillia Perch Festival includes both Simcoe and Cooch and is prime time for some great jumbo’s at the start of the open water season.

 

 Finding one or two perch usually means you have found a school so don’t become discouraged if you don’t get bit right away. When perch are shallow using a small search spoon such as a small Jig-Whopper is a great way to locate that school. One trick

I have found that is also very productive is to actually long line troll for perch with a mid-sized sinking Rapala. After I connect with one fish, I will throw a marker buoy to the spot where the perch hit and proceed to cast to that area with jigs.  The trend among some real perch experts has been to forgo the use of live minnows and opt for some of the new soft, lifelike, Trigger X minnow artificial's, available at tackle shops around the lake.

 

Every year northern pike season opens on the 2nd Saturday in May on Simcoe and most of the shallow, weedy areas in of the lake will hold these popular toothy critters. Effective techniques include trolling crank or jerk baits, casting spinnerbaits, or tossing jigs near the aquatic plants that pike call home. Perhaps none are as exciting though as twitching jerk baits like the Rapala X Rap or Husky Jerk, Live Target Smelt, or some of the new soft swim baits across weedy flats.  When a big Simcoe northern rushes up and viciously attacks that helpless minnow-imitating bait it is enough to give even the most seasoned veteran the a sever case of the shakes.

Many Simcoe anglers complain of fewer pike than ‘the good old days’ thinking that the population is nothing like it used to be. Fortunately however the pike are still there in healthy numbers. Perhaps the 25 pound plus giants are harder to find but there are still all kinds of 5-10 pound northern's and enough in the 15 pound range to keep things real interesting. Unfortunately for some anglers who have not adapted their fishing techniques to the increase in water clarity (caused by the filtering effects of zebra mussels) their fishing success has dropped considerably. One critical element to success for many has been to stash away the traditional steel leaders needed to prevent pike from biting through the line and replacing them with something more invisible yet still strong.  My choice has been to use a leader made from a couple of feet of 30 lb Fluorocarbon line. For jigs and spinnerbaits I tie directly, and for cranks, and jerk baits I use a snap.

 

Especially productive colour patterns for Simcoe include the Clown for rough or cloudy days and perch or natural gold colour for sunny calm days. Pike fishing during the spring on Simcoe is very weather dependant.  Pick a period if you can when weather patterns just prior to your day out have been stable.  A warming trend is great … a cold front sucks! 

 

Decisions in May - Pike & Walleye or Lakers & Whitefish

The 2nd Saturday of May has always been a HUGE day for anglers who love to fish Lake Simcoe but sometimes they have a difficult choice trying to figure out what to fish for.  Not only does northern pike and walleye season open up, but so too does whitefish and lake trout season. These two cold water species are usually found in deeper sections of the lake which is void of the aquatic plant growth that pike and walleye crave. Long lining flashy spoons or thin crankbaits like the original floating Rapala next to shoals or deepwater points works great for early spring lakers.

 

Jigging spoons like the Williams Whitefish spoon or HT’s ¼ oz rocker minnows vertically below the boat in 60-75 feet of water for Simcoe’s humongous whitefish, has become an increasingly effective form of angling.  Lately the new Lil Foxee Jigging Minnow worked with a seductive twitching motion right near bottom has been especially effective for the bottom oriented whitefish.    Those at the south end of the lake are especially fortunate in that they have two of the very best open water whitefish areas found anywhere on the lake … Out from the hamlets of Willow Beach and Jackson’s Point.

 

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Badd Boyz

 

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