Given that we (OCAA members) have a bass tournament at Buckhorn Lake on July 18th and I have never fished this lake on my own before, I decided to do some on the water homework. I drove up to Curve Lake on Upper Buckhorn Lake on July 14th and rented a boat from Sunset Trailer Park, 36 Elva Talyor Rd, Curve Lake, ON, K0L 1R0, 1-705-657-8316. I met the owner, Rick. Sunset Trailer Park is located behind Seaweed Island on the south end.
The primary objective of my pre-fish was to estimate how far 3 anglers in a rental boat can travel out to fishing spots and back to the marina on a tank of gas from Sunset Trailer Park. The secondary objectives were to determine which hard baits and soft baits to use during the tournament and find out which fishing spots were holding fish.
This was the Weather Network's forecast on July 14th for Lakefield, ON, which is close to Curve Lake on Upper Buckhorn Lake.
Sunrise 5:42 am, Sunset 8:55 pm
Tuesday Morning - Mainly Sunny, Temp 15 deg C, Wind NW 15 km/h, Humidity 66%, Possibility of Precipation 0%.
Tuesday Afternoon - Cloudy Periods, Temp 22 deg C, Wind NW 20 km/h, Humidity 46% Possibility of Preceipation 0%
Tuesday Evening - Sunny, Temp 17 deg C, Wind W 15 km/h, Humdity 57%, Possibility of Preceiption 0%
What I Learned:
1. On the drive up to Upper Buckhorn Lake, I drove on Highway 401 East, Highway 35/115 (speed limit varies from 80 to 100 km/h) and a number of county highways. The only highway construction I saw was on Highway 35/115 with construction only on the highway shoulder. It took me about 2 hours 20 minutes to drive from Yonge and Eglinton area to Sunset Trailer Park. This includes time for a quick breakfast and time lost when I ignored my car GPS instructions.
2. If possible, car pool with someone who has a car GPS. The parking lot will be full of all our cars there. There is limited extra docking for the private boats. You may have to drop off your bag of fish for weigh in and the private boat will have to wait off shore.
3. Upper Buckhorn Lake is a very weedy lake like Rice Lake and Lake Scugog. There is weed structure on Upper Buckhorn than we don't see a lot of on Rice Lake. Some lures will be very difficult to fish with on Upper Buckhorn Lake. The weeds are almost grown right to the water surface. In some places, there is floating weeds on the water surface. I will probably be fishing the tournament with soft baits rigged with weedless hooks or a spinnerbait. Also, I have to watch out for rocks and shallow water. I will have to trim the engine prop in shallower water. Fishing in windy weather on Upper Buckhorn is going to be a challenge. Even you try to seek shelter from the wind by hiding behind an island, you will still get blown around. Lots of anchoring may be required in order to stay stationery on a fishing spot. The rental boats are equipped with 2 small cement anchors.
4. Water surface temperature seems cooler than what it should be. At 11:30 am, the temperature was 65 deg F. Later in the afternoon at around 4:00 pm, it was 69.5 deg F. The bass are spawning very late this year in Ontario and Quebec. There are published newspaper articles about this. My friend told me that a female bass caught on Lake Couchiching on July 8th was full of eggs when the fish was being cleaned.
5. I have to be aware of the navigation markers when travelling through the channels of the Trent-Severn Waterway. On the weekends, many large cabin cruisers will on the lake. I will yield to the larger vessels and watch their boat wake.
6. Trust my sonar/GPS unit to guide me back to the marina safely without getting lost among the many islands. It also helps to have a hand held GPS unit as a back up.
7. On the way home back to Toronto, I drove Highway 7 West. The only highway construction I saw was at a bridge with only one lane shared by both eastbound and westbound vehicle. There is a traffic light on the bridge.
8. There were two 1-day Top Bass tournaments on the Tri-Lakes (Pigeon Lake, Upper Buckhorn Lake and Chemung Lake) on July 11 - 12th. This may make it more difficult to locate fish on Upper Buckhorn as they have been already caught from many producing fishing spots. Who knows where Top Bass releases the fish that have been caught from 3 lakes? http://www.top-bass.ca/results_with_frame.htm
9. Although the rental boats are about the same as what we are use to, these boats provide less space for 3 anglers. Space is a premium with 3 anglers and all their fishing tackle. You cannot stand up at the very front of the bow as it is too steep. I recommend that a 50 quart cooler be used as a live well. Anything bigger takes up too much space. Anglers should not bring too much fishing tackle. Docking the boat can be tricky with an on shore wind and a short length dock. The rental boats are equipped with Johnson 9.9 HP outboard engines. These engines operate differently than the Mercury engines that you are used to using. Please ensure you understand how to operate the Johnson engines before leaving the dock.
10. Upper Buckhorn Lake is separated from Lower Buckhorn Lake by Trent-Severn Dam Lock 31. BOATING HAZARD - Stay away from the strong currents going down the open dam.
11. The closest Tim Hortons to Sunset Trailer Park is located just south of the Bridgenorth Causeway on Chemung Lake.
758 Ward St N
Bridgenorth ON, K0L 2H0
Tel: (705) 292-9886
12. I found this really good Chip Stand called Paul and Laura's Canadian Eh!, which is located on a gas station lot. They are located on the way to or from Sunset Trailer Park. Canadian Eh! Chip Stand is located at 989 Ward St in Bridgenorth just north of the Causeway on the east side. 1-705-931-9221. Open 11:00 to 7:00 or later. They serve excellent, huge burgers and French fries.
13. I found out that there is going to be two 1-day CSFL bass tournaments on the Tri-Lakes on July 18 - 19. We will be competing for fish with the pros on Upper Buckhorn.
14. There is a Convenience Store located on Curve Lake Rd at Elva Taylor Rd just as you enter or leave Sunset Trailer Park.
15. There is a fishing tackle shop and marina boat launch at Ward St and the Bridgenorth Causeway (east side).