Waist deep in salt water, I gazed over the wide expanse of the bay, patiently
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Bass Lakes - Five Of The BestBy Hugh Partridge,
Crazy for Bass? Can't seem to get enough of that high-flying, top water action? Are your co-workers and family wondering if you are a reincarnation of a Smallmouth Bass? Rest assured, you are not alone. In fact, it is quite normal for anglers who experience some of the great Smallmouth Bass fishing in this province, to become incurable Bass fishing fanatics! It's pure and simple. Catch a few bass like the ones shown here ( before release, by Arne Pedersen ), and you're hooked. Catch a few more, and you'll be trading in your car for that bass boat!
The truth is that the quality of Bass fishing found here has transformed couch potatoes, and otherwise socially active people, into introvert Bass fisherman who spend their time away from the lakes only to be found in tackle stores till closing time. And can you blame them? By North American standards the Bass fishing in British Columbia is simply awesome. And by the way, if you need to get a hold of these fanatic anglers---they don't carry pagers.
So where does one go to predetermine their future as a Bass angler/member of society? Your best bet would be to point yourself to Southern Vancouver Island. Nearly all the lakes in Southern Vancouver Island contain Smallmouth Bass in good numbers. A few of these lakes however, contain Bass fishing like you have never seen before.
One of the premier lakes to fish is Elk Lake. Located 13 kilometers north of Victoria, this easily accessible lake is by far one of the best! A large lake of about 224 hectares, it contains a very healthy population of Smallmouth Bass, many of which averaging 3 to 4 pounds. A great deal of the success of the fishery can be attributed to the enhancement of spawning reefs, which has helped to increase the population of Smallmouth Bass. Good bottom structure and healthy aquatic habitat throughout the lake, also makes this lake a naturally productive Bass Lake. A growing number of anglers have picked-up the sport of fly-fishing for these feisty fish ( see article Fly Fishing for Bass on Elk Lake ). Despite the excellent shape of the Bass fishery, a growing concern has evolved around the recent introduction of Yellow Perch into the lake, by an unknown amateur ichthyologist. According to biologists, the prolific Yellow Perch compete for spawning grounds with the Bass, which would explain the daily catch quota of 20 Perch.
Certainly equaling, if not surpassing Elk Lake as a Smallmouth Bass fishery is the famous St. Mary's Lake on Saltspring Island. Another relatively large lake ( 195 hectares), St. Mary's Lake is a must fish lake for Bass anglers. Whether it is the infinite number of Bass that proliferate its waters, or the fact that these fish attain weights of up to 4 kg. that attracts so many anglers, I'll let you decide for yourself. Located 3.5 kilometers north of Ganges, this picturesque lake is a formidable Bass fishery. The wide shoals and contoured bottom of the lake, are the perfect breeding grounds for Bass, and lots of them. A number of resorts are located on or near the lake, some of which providing boat rentals at a reasonable rate.
A third lake that is among the best, is without a doubt, Quennell Lake. This scenic lake can be described as an intricate maze of narrow, shallow, winding passages filled with Bass. Located 3 kilometers south of Nanaimo, this lake has a growing reputation for fantastic Smallmouth Bass fishing. For those visiting Quennell Lake, Zuidersee campsite is located on the lake, while other campsites and accommodations can be found within a close proximity of the lake.
Adding to the list of great Bass lakes is Long Lake. This small ( 34 hectares ), narrow lake holds some of the largest Bass in the province. Located 6.5 kilometers northwest of Nanaimo, it tends to be overlooked by many anglers due to its relatively small size. But, don't let the size of the lake deceive you, this lake holds Big Bass! The lake is perfect for float-tubers, based on its size, and is a notable fishery.
Last, but certainly not least, is Langford Lake. Located 16 kilometers north of Victoria, this average sized lake ( 60 hectares ), has also benefited from the enhancement of Bass spawning reefs. It holds numerous large Smallmouth Bass, and should be added to the list of exceptional Bass fisheries. As with all the previously mentioned lakes in this article, it is also a considerable trout fishery for those wishing to vary their pursuits.
While I have covered some of the most popular and productive Bass lakes on southern Vancouver Island, many would argue that the list should be larger. Many lakes such as Shawnigan, Thetis, Prospect, and Beaver Lake could easily be added to the list here. The limitless options for the Bass anglers in this region of the province, is what makes the area so special. With so many choices for trophy Bass fishing, it is no small wonder that some people spend a lifetime exploring these opportunities. So if a neighbor or friend gets hooked on fishing, never to be seen again, blame it on the Bass.
Remember, preserve your catch, catch and release.