STRIKE ZONE Muskie Charters Lake Directory and Fact-o-matic

Balsam Lake:       This is a mid-sized lake, with a combination of weedy bays, and deep water.  Balsam is located wthin the Kawartha Lakes chain, and is the "top" lake in the chain, from which waters flow both north (to Mitchell Lake) and south (to Cameron Lake).  Deep water sounding is 49 feet, north west of Grand Island.  The lake contains walleye, small and largemouth bass, and a full compliment of panfish.  Redhorse suckers are present, as are a variety of minnow species.  It is possible that a limited northern pike population may now be present in this lake.  This lake receives very heavy fishing pressure for bass, and moderate pressure for walleye, and relatively light pressure for muskies.  This lake is one of the few that has produced several bonafide 40 pound muskies in the past 15 years.  Muskies to 55" are possible.  Both casting and trolling will produce fish in this lake, although trolling generally produces much larger fish, which tend to be quite deep.  This is both a numbers and size lake.  Caution must be taken when fishing this lake, as it tends to get excessively rough for its relatively small size in a very short time period.  Launching on this lake is done at Rosedale (on Highway 35) on the east side of the lake at the public launch.

Chemong Lake:     This lake is a split lake; separated by the causeway at Bridgenorth.  The lower section of the lake, south of the causeway, has water in excess of 20 feet, with some well defined deep weedlines.  The upper section, north of the causeway, has a much more diverse structural base, and depth contours.  Chemong drains to the northwest through the Harrington Narrows into Upper Buckhorn.  This lake is fished very heavily for largemouth bass, with 2 to 3 tournaments a year held here.  Muskie fishing pressure tends to be erratic on this lake.  The recent arrival of zebra mussels has substantially altered both the water clarity and weed lines in this lake.  This has in turn forced fish patterns to change, which many anglers have been unable to adjust to as of yet.  Fishing in this lake tends to be better in the first half of the season, before zebra mussels damage weed lines and force fish out into open water.  Casting will produce fish in a limited number of areas.  Due to the scattered nature of active fish, trolling is the preferred approach to contact larger fish on this lake.  Muskies to 35 pounds are possible in Chemong.

Dalrymple Lake:   Is actually made up of both an Upper and Lower lake, split by a channel that is crossed by Highway 503.  The Upper Lake (southern portion) is very shallow with very heavy weed growth.  The Lower Lake (northern portion), is much deeper, with deepest water at 33 feet.  There are both heavy weed growth, and some good rock structure in the Lower portion.  This lake is not considered to be part of the Kawarthas, and is not accessible through the Trent boating system.  It is fed by spring and feeder creeks.  Both pike and muskies co-exist here, and have for some years.  Small and largemouth bass are present, as are walleye, and a limited panfish population.  Walleye are the primary target here.  Limited muskie pressure exists; partially due to very limited access and launching on this lake.  Naturally occurring tiger hybrids do occur in this lake from time to time.  A 45 inch muskie is a trophy here, with 35 pound fish being about the largest fish in the lake.  (Northern pike to about 20 pounds are a possibility.)  Launching on this lake is done from Meadow's End campground at the extreme north end of the lake.  Casting and trolling are equally effective on this lake, as there is an abundance of structure to fish.

Pigeon Lake:   Is one of the larger lakes in the Kawartha Lakes chain.  It is fed by Sturgeon Lake to the west, and the Pigeon River to the south, as well as the Bald Lake chain to the north-east.  Downstream, it feeds Upper Buckhorn Lake through the Gannon's Narrows.  Deepest water sounding is 57 feet off Lancaster Point in the north.  The southern portion of the lake is very weedy and shallow.  The middle section averages 8 to 10 feet, with numerous weed flats and humps.  The northern section has limited weed growth, but very defined rocky structures and deeper water.  The lake has become very clear in recent years due to a healthy population of zebra mussels.  In the first half of the fishing season, walleyes are the primary target on this lake; however, in the latter half of the season, this lake receives very heavy muskie pressure, which peaks during the month of September, where muskie anglers outnumber all other anglers by up to 4 to 1.  This lake is considered one of the most prolific muskie lakes in the Kawarthas, and has become a "numbers" lake, rather than a trophy lake.  Fish in the upper 30 pound range (50" plus) are still possible, but have become very difficult to catch due to the clear water and heavy fishing pressure.  Anglers trolling open deep water have an outside shot at a 40 pounder in the mid 50" range.  Casters will generally outfish trollers 3 to 1, but the trollers will generally produce the larger fish.  Fishing the sunrise and sunset bite is one good way to avoid the fishing pressure on this lake, which also sees very heavy boat traffic throughout the summer.  Launching on this lake is done at the public ramp on Riverside Drive on the Big Bob River (downstream from the locks) in Bobcaygeon.

Lake Scugog:    Is fed by both springs and numerous feeder creeks.  It is one of the southernmost lakes in the Kawarthas chain, and one of the most eutrophic.  Average depth is only 5 1/2 feet, with deepest water sounding at 23 feet off of Caesarea.  Weed growth is intense throughout the lake, and to confuse anglers even more, the lake has a very high level of suspended sediment, peaking in mid-summer, with visibility of less than 12 inches.  Aside from small and largemouth bass, walleye, and a full compliment of panfish, this lake still has a remnant population of brown bullheads.  Primary fishing pressure is for walleye, although the lake generally is subjected to anywhere from 3 to 4 major bass tournaments each year.  Muskie pressure is very limited throughout the season, perhaps the lightest in the Kawarthas for a lake of its size.  A 45 inch muskie is a trophy here, but fish into the mid 50" range are possible.  A 40 pound muskie is a possibility on this lake due to the limited fishing pressure that exists, but finding her is the challenge.  Limited casting opportunities exist on this lake; trolling is the key to catching muskies here.  Launching is done here at Scugog Island Marina, on the north-eastern shore of Scugog Island.

Shadow Lake:    Located within the Haliburton Highlands (and outside the Kawartha Lakes chain) is Shadow Lake.  This lake has a predominant limestone base, and has many rocky structural elements.  There are some areas of fallen timber, and assorted areas of fairly concentrated weed growth.  Predominate fish here are smallmouth bass and walleye.  This lake receives almost no muskie fishing pressure.  Although the population is limited, there are some good sized fish here.  Locals consider a 40 inch fish a trophy on this lake.  Fish to 30 pounds are a possibility.  Launching is done at the Norland public launch off of Highway 35.  This lake is very scenic.  There are considerable areas of shoreline that remain undeveloped, and in their natural state, with a very significant population of waterfowl.  Casting will generate as many big fish as trolling in this lake, which is quite clear.

Sturgeon Lake:   Is probably the "sleeper" lake for big muskies in the Kawarthas.  Comparable to Pigeon Lake in depth and water clarity, this lake has a much more limited structural base of shoals and islands than does Pigeon.  It sees minimal muskie pressure throughout most of the year, followed by a short burst of concentrated activity in late September and early October.  There are some excellent casting areas here that will produce fish; however, due to the more limited structural base, more open water fish are present here.  As a result, trolling is far more effective on this lake.  Muskie to 40 pounds are certainly possible here in the huge expanses of deep open water.  Deep water sounding is 55 feet off of Sturgeon Point.  The southern portion of this lake is very weedy and shallow.  There are numerous areas of fallen timber and stumps that can present a boating hazard outside of the marked navigation channels.  Largemouth bass and walleye are the predominant fish in the south, while walleye are the most common quarry in the northern waters.  This lake has not one, but 3 major towns located on its banks.  Fenelon Falls is located at the top of the northwestern arm; Bobcaygeon the top of the northeastern arm, with Lindsay to the south.