Previously we talked to Zac Amoroso from Ontario about his guiding at Lake Kesagami for northern pike and walleye. This time we discuss bass fishing Lower Rideau Lake in southern Ontario. We talk about how he catches smallmouth and largemouth bass on the lake.
How long have you been bass fishing Lower Rideau Lake?
I have been fishing Lower Rideau Lake as long as I could hold a rod. I have been coming to that lake ever since I was born. My grandparents own a cottage on that lake which is why I have fished it for so long. That is also why I use the tag #homeawayfromhome when fishing it. It’s where I grew up fishing and always my favourite place away from my home in Burlington, Ontario.
Describe Lower Rideau Lake from a bass fishing perspective for someone who has never been there.
This is a lake that is for the most part, a shallow, weedy lake. The largemouth are always in the weeds whether they are a foot off bottom or six feet off bottom.
The smallmouth on the other hand are around the main shoals found on the lake but aren’t schooled up by any means. They will stay in a general area but very spread out at the same time.
Overall both largemouth and smallmouth are found in the main areas but are always spread out. On this lake I like to cover water a lot.
There are a lot of bass lakes on the Rideau Waterway. How does bass fishing Lower Rideau Lake compare to the others?
I personally love this lake for a few reasons. One of them being that unless there is a tournament going on such as the renegade series, there usually isn’t many boats out fishing.
I find the bass fishing to be average compared to other fisheries. You can get some giant largemouth and smallmouth but usually they are around the 1.5 to 2 pound mark. My grandpa and myself have caught lots of fish in the 4 pound plus range with the odd one around pounds, a couple in thepound plus range and one over 7 pounds.
What is the breakdown between largemouth and smallmouth on the Lower Rideau Lake?
There are definitely more largemouth in the lake than smallmouth, but the smallmouth are making a big come back. I never really caught many smallmouth when fishing in my earlier years. Now, I have caught many smallmouth that are average size with some being over 4 pounds. I find it great to know that not only are the smallmouth numbers growing, but the size of them are as well.
In certain areas they co-mingle but for the most part largemouth and smallmouth are in there separate areas. Usually when I’m covering water, I will catch largemouth, then get into an area of smallmouth, and then back to largemouth again.
How do you rate largemouth bass fishing Lower Rideau Lake in terms of size and numbers?
The largemouth are an average size of 1.5 to 2.5 pounds with lots caught over 3 pounds. When it comes to numbers, a bad day is catching 3 to 5 decent fish. Usually you can get a few good fish throughout the day while still catching lots of smaller fish as well. Considering the variation in size and numbers, it indicates that the fishery is doing very well.
What are your favorite baits/presentations for largemouth bass fishing Lower Rideau Lake?
I definitely have a few techniques that produce for me day in and day out. My favourite is flipping and pitching.
There is an array of different baits that I catch fish on, on the Lower Rideau along with flipping. My other techniques that produce at certain times are spooks, spinnerbaits, chatterbaits, squarebills, frogs, dropshot, and swimbaits.
Flip all the irregular structure and weeds around the lake. Spooks produce like any other topwater which is in the morning or evening. Chatterbaits will produce for me throughout most conditions whether it be a warm day or a cold front. Spinnerbaits produce when there is a lot of wind in an area or sometimes in the evening. Squarebills produce more on overcast windy days and sometimes when it’s sunny out. I like to rip the squarebills out of grass to produce reaction strikes. Frogs tend to be a hit and miss. I get more fish on popping frogs than I do in heavy matted vegetation. Dropshot works in very specific areas and between weed clumps. The swimbait will produce well over rocky areas when it is slowly retrieved.
How do you rate smallmouth bass fishing Lower Rideau Lake?
The smallmouth are definitely growing in numbers and in size. When I was younger, I never caught many smallmouth, especially off the dock right next to a large rock flat. Now I can walk up to the dock, cast out a swimbait and produce many smallmouth around 1 to 2 pounds.
I have caught more larger smallmouth in the last 3 years than at any other time I have fished the lake. I do target them but even when I’m not targeting them, they sometimes come out and hit a lure when I’m in an area that usually produces largemouth.
What are your favorite baits/presentations for smallmouth bass fishing Lower Rideau Lake?
For smallmouth, I like all the same baits that I use for largemouth, except for frogs and flipping. I do catch the odd one flipping a jig though. I found that the smallmouth aren’t afraid to hit the same baits that the largemouth will hit either. If I come across an area while drifting and fishing for largemouth, I have more than enough confidence if there is a smallmouth in the area I will catch it. Even though they might sit in different areas, I find they will act like largemouth and will sit around certain structure.
What is your favorite season for bass fishing Lower Rideau Lake?
I would have to say that my favourite season for bass fishing Lower Rideau Lake is probably late summer to early fall. I love this time because I know I can get lots of good fish in the thickest weeds but also get lots of moving fish because they are slowly moving out of their summer grounds and getting ready for fall movements. This particular time of year is when I get more numbers but also better size, like most fisheries. I do still get some good fish in the early to mid summer though.
Overall, what are 5 pieces of advice that you have for anyone bass fishing Lower Rideau Lake for the first time?
- Cover water on the overcast days. These fish move a lot and can be harder to locate in a specific area so covering water is the best bet to produce.
- The murkier the water, the worse the fishing. These fish tend to like the clearer water even on the windy days so fish the edges of the dirtier water.
- Experiment with your topwaters. I’ve had many times where I work my spook fast and get the odd hit, but as soon as I switch up my cadence to a slower retrieve or longer glides, I tend to get more bites.
- Flip the irregularities. Not all spots will produce but certain areas and specifications in the water tend to produce all the time. Once you find those spots, you are sure to get good fish.
- Don’t be afraid of the wind. Even though it can get windy, The waves don’t get as high because the lake is not large enough to produce giant waves. The biggest I have been out in was 2.5 foot waves on a super gusty day. If you have a bigger boat, you definitely won’t be affected much by the waves.
Who is your current sponsor?
My sponsor is Tackle Junkie Jigs. This is my first year I have been with them, and they are an awesome company to work with. The Owner, Nick, is a great guy with a ton of knowledge in this sport. Any bait he makes whether it be the design or the paint job, comes from the knowledge he has personally obtained from fishing and from feedback from fellow anglers/pro staff. He takes all that info and puts it into his work.
Aside from the great company itself, I really am a big fan of his Arkie jig. It has caught me a ton of good fish and is my go to jig. I like an all green pumpkin 1/2oz jig and I pair it with different coloured craw trailers based on the conditions for that day.
Another couple favourites of mine is there chatterbait because it is very unique from any others as it puts off a lot off vibration, and the underachiever. The Underachiever is an underspin, but he puts a quick change snap on the bottom so you can change out the different blades depending on the clarity of the water and the situation. It is definitely a versatile jig head that will catch fish anywhere.
Overall, Tackle Junkie Jigs is an incredible company to be a part of and I hope to continue to work with them throughout my fishing career.
Thank you Zac for the great information on bass fishing Lower Rideau Lake. Will be following on Instagram @thebassfish3r.