We, at Dock Talk 365, found on Twitter a guy, Andrew D, who is a Ontario bass angler that loves Rice Lake fishing in Southeastern Ontario. Andrew took the time to discuss with us all the reasons why he loves Rice Lake fishing so much. He provides great detail on his approach to fishing the Lake.
How long have you been fishing Rice Lake?
I have been fishing Rice Lake since I was a little kid. I have some great memories of summer evenings sitting by the water and waiting for that red and white bobber to get pulled under. It is a lake that has always kept me coming back, as the potential for big fish and numbers of fish is always high.
What is your favorite thing about Rice Lake fishing?
My favourite thing about fishing Rice is the variety of species and the number of quality fish you can find. With smallmouth and largemouth bass, walleye, black crappie, jumbo perch, sunfish, trophy musky and sizable common carp, Rice Lake is an ideal lake for anyone chasing warm water gamefish. Most of the species can be found in abundance and in almost every corner of the lake.
Congrats on the new boat! How would you describe the level of boat and pleasure craft traffic for people who have never been Rice Lake fishing?
Thanks! I’m really excited to no longer be restricted to fishing the shore! The level of traffic on Rice varies with the time of year and day of the week.
When walleye opens in the spring, 2nd Saturday in May, activity on the lake picks up significantly. It is by no means crowded but you will notice the increase in traffic. Throughout the summer months after bass opens, 3rd Saturday in June, there is quite a bit of activity on the lake on the weekends. With numerous bass tournaments and people enjoying their summer holidays the lake is one of the busier lakes in the area.
Even with the increased traffic, you can always find some secluded water to fish without feeling like people are on top of you. If you are looking to enjoy Rice Lake without all the traffic, midweek during the summer or mid-September into the fall sees a noticeable decrease in boat traffic.
Is the Lake easy to navigate or does it have a lot of underwater hazards?
Rice is a very shallow, fertile lake that is fairly easy to navigate. It is 32km (20mi) long and only 5km (3mi) wide. After ice-out in the spring boaters often see dead heads, logs, in the water which remain throughout the open-water season.
Most hazards are well marked with the exception of the former Cobourg-Peterborough railway. This hazard runs from the Harwood public dock to the south shore of Tic Island . There is only one “gap” about 30 feet wide that is safe to pass through. Although it may look safe, just below the surface are rocks, pilings and structure from the former railway. This structure has taken MANY lower units and ejected some boaters into the lake! If you are in a larger boat or are unsure of the area, going to the north side of Tic Island is a considerably safer route.
It is important to always be alert when boating on Rice. Periodically check your boats propeller for weed build-up as much of the lake has heavy mats of dense weeds.
What is your favorite Rice Lake fishing species to target and why?
It’s hard to choose a favourite fish species on Rice Lake. If I had to choose it would probably be bass. Warm summer days and acrobatic fish play on my nostalgia. Rice Lake has numbers of both smallmouth and largemouth that commonly reach the 5 pound mark with many fish caught over that. Throughout the summer bass are willing biters and great fighters, especially the smallmouth! They can give you a day, or many, of great action on the water.
Three favorite lures/baits for Rice Lake fishing bass?
My 3 favourite baits to throw for bass on Rice Lake are xZone slammers on a drop shot, goby colours, squarebill crankbaits and weightless plastic like stick worms & tubes. Although in late summer/early fall it’s hard to beat the excitement of a bass blowing up on a top water frog!!!
What do you think are the Lake’s easiest species to catch and what do you think are its most challenging?
Sunfish and perch are easily the most abundant fish in the lake. It seems almost anywhere on the lake you go it’s easy to put numbers of sunfish and perch in the boat. They can quickly make a nice meal. I’ve seen perch up to 2 pounds caught in Rice and once you’ve found a school of bigger ones it’s non-stop fun!
Aside from an exceptionally good spring bite, black crappie are known to be difficult to locate on Rice. Many anglers target them due to how tasty they are. But when the summer heat sets in I’ve personally, and others I’m sure, have had difficulty locating them.
Musky can be another species anglers have difficulty catching on Rice. think because trolling is really only possible in a few places on the lake. The heavy weeds make trolling a chore. So setting up and casting on weed edges near drop offs or near where the Otonabee enters the Lake can be productive areas.
For those coming for a Rice Lake fishing trip, what are three important things that they should know about the Lake?
Rice Lake makes an excellent vacation spot for anglers both in Canada and the United States. It’s easy to drive to and has many amenities nearby. The roads in are paved and the boat launches are well maintained. Ice fishing is popular on Rice, but only panfish (perch, sunfish, crappie) can be targeted. Three things to know before fishing Rice are:
- The regulations. There are possession limits, slot sizes and open/closed seasons on many gamefish. If you’re after a specific species please be aware of the regulations and follow them to the letter. Provincial enforcement, Ministry of Natural Resources, frequent the lake and following the rules is what keeps our fishery as healthy as it is!
- Ask the locals! You’d be surprised how friendly Canadians can be. The little pieces of advice you can get from some of the anglers who have been here 50 plus years can get you on some nice fish.
- Be prepared to fish the weeds. Rice Lake has heavy matted weed cover for much of the summer months but that’s where the fish live! The weeds provide the fish with cover and oxygen, so get in there are get weedy!
Wow! Can you say informative? Lots of wisdom packed in there about one of Ontario’s great fishing lakes. To follow Andrew D, check him out @CanadianDayman.
One more thing…I just want to say congratulations to Andrew and his wife on their first child. Blessings to your family Andrew and thanks for sharing your time and knowledge with us.