Editor’s Note: This post comes from a week-long paddle trip through Quetico Provincial Park. See full coverage of the adventure on our Facebook page #FSQuetico.
I have an ongoing love affair with smallmouth bass; always have. I cut my angling teeth on bronzebacks when I was a kid, and they’re abundant in my home waters. So when I have the chance to catch truly wild fish — long, fat, aggressive smallies that likely haven’t seen a hook before — all other matters of paddling, camping, and food prep take a backseat, especially when fish are willing to come to the surface.
The great thing about smallies is they’re not complicated and are easy to please. They instinctively react to the splashing, gurgling sounds and motions of potential food struggling in the water and blitz with fury, sometimes going completely airborne.
The smallmouth in Quetico Provincial Park are no different. A handful of simple, cork or balsa wood poppers, which are inexpensive to buy or easy to make, are all it takes. On the water, we’re looking for fish around rock outcroppings, shallow-water shelves, and shallow logjams. Smallmouth are structure-orientated fish so once we find suitable habitat, the average size and number of fish we catch shoots through the roof. Give poppers a try this summer. You’ll be amazed how fast a smallmouth will rocket from the depths.
For a good outfitter in Quetico, check out: Moose Tracks Adventures