Lower Manitou Lake has outstanding Smallmouth Bass fishing. Actually, most lakes in Northwestern Ontario have similar conditions and habitat and can grow big bass but Lower Manitou Lake is more remote and hard to get into without flying so our bass have seen very little fishing pressure.
Smallmouth Bass seem more common in the 1 to 3-pound range. The reason for this is Smallmouth Bass travel in hunting packs and when you come up on a shoal that the bass have taken command of, you will catch tons of them in the 1 to 3-pound range. Bigger Smallmouth travel in mating pairs. Generally they mate with a bass the same size so if you catch a 4 or 5-pound bass, there will be another one in the same area.
Smallmouth Bass in the 4 to 5-pound range are caught frequently in Lower Manitou. If you are catching tons of small ones, you are in the wrong place. The bigger bass not only travel in pairs but stake out territories. If you come to a really nice shoal or rocky point and you don’t catch anything right away, it usually means there is a big pair in the area. There are 6 and 7-pound Smallmouth Bass in the lake but they are rare, which is why they are considered trophies. When you find a spot that looks great and you do not catch anything, come back an hour later and be very quiet as to not spook them.
If you wanted to you could catch 60 to 80 bass in a day. That would be from concentrating on areas with high populations of smaller bass. If you specifically want to catch a trophy bass, you need to sacrifice numbers and patiently fish the prime areas. If you are not catching small ones, then you know the big ones are there. They are there! Lower Manitou Lake is swarming with Smallmouth Bass.
The Smallmouth Bass in our lake taste awesome. If you clean some 1 or 2-pounders and cook them like you would Walleye, you will be pleasantly surprised. There is very little difference between the taste of Smallmouth and Walleye. What is really good, which you can do at shore lunch, is deep fry Smallmouth in Tempura Batter or English style beer batter.