Man holds up a largemouth bass

Fishing on the Mattawa River

Today’s post comes from year-round multispecies angler and writer Ashley Rae of

Fishing on a new body of water is always exciting and presents a challenge, too.

Fishing a new lake means learning the lay of the land without having go-to areas or fishing hotspots from past adventures to rely on.

This is precisely why I love traveling so much and visiting various parks in our beautiful province. It’s an opportunity to dissect new waters and create memories.

Any day on the water is a day well spent, but landing a memorable catch on a brand new body of water certainly adds a satisfying element to the experience.

Exploring the Mattawa

Scenery on the Mattawa River

A recent adventure led me to spend a couple days on Lake Talon, located inside the Mattawa River Provincial Park. The Mattawa River runs from North Bay to the town of Mattawa along the Quebec border.

There’s a lot of history in this picturesque area. Indigenous communities have used the river for over 6,000 years, later followed by European trappers, loggers, and voyageurs. A large portion of the river has been protected since the 1970s when it was designated a Canadian Heritage River.

If you take a look at this unique area on a map, you’ll see several lakes and ponds located within the park, all connected by the river.

With so much to explore, it’s a paddler’s paradise with 14 portage routes. It also makes a great spot to bring along a fishing boat. Some sections of the river also offer rapids.

Finding the fish

Ashley holds up a bass

Although I spent just two days on Lake Talon, it was certainly a good sample of the fishing opportunities in the area.

Shortly after launching our boat, my fishing partner and I noticed some bait activity on our fish finder. This quickly led us to some active Smallmouth Bass.

What a view, what a place – and to be getting into some fish right away was the icing on the cake!

We were anxious to see what other species we could get into.

In addition to the Smallmouth, this body of water also holds Lake Trout, Largemouth Bass, Northern Pike, Muskie, Walleye, and more.

Close up of a northern pike

We targeted Muskie for a little while, but didn’t see any activity. However we did get into some nice Northern Pike, which satisfied our toothy-critter craving. I caught an eager little pike on one of my musky lures.

A memorable catch

The memorable fish of the trip was not caught by me, but it was so exciting it might as well have been.

With the rain pouring down and strong winds blowing us around, we decided to tuck into a bay for shelter and focused on fishing shorelines. The area we ventured into also included some docks.

Eric casted a Chatterbait along one of the docks, and was quickly hooked up with a nice Largemouth. Before I even had time to grab the net, he lifted the fish over the gunnels into the boat. The fish was barely hooked which is why Eric decided not to wait for the net.

And wow, what a catch it was! It was certainly the biggest bass of the day and of the trip!

Although we are both avid year-round anglers, anytime a nice big fish makes it into the boat the excitement is like it’s your first fish ever. The cheering and laughter is enough to be heard across the lake.

We placed the fish in the livewell until the rain stopped just long enough to snap a couple photos. This gorgeous Largemouth Bass went back into Lake Talon to perhaps be caught again as an even bigger fish.

Needless to say, we give two bass thumbs up for Mattawa River Provincial Park!

Interested in camping?

Samuel de Champlain Provincial Park is located just 20 minutes from Mattawa River Provincial Park!

Why not book a campsite and spend your trip chasing the big one?