St. Mary’s Surprise – Episode 486

Largemouth Bass are fast becoming North America’s favourite game fish. It’s hands-down the top dog in the United States, and it’s constantly gaining fans north of the border.

The Largemouth is very much a southern, warm water fish. It thrives in water temperatures in the 70s and 80s Fahrenheit (low to mid-20s Celsius). But that doesn’t mean it can’t survive in warmer or—in Canada’s case—colder water.

For this episode, Pete was looking to add a Largemouth show into the season’s mix, but he wanted something a bit different; he wanted to travel north.


Enter Tyler Dunn, a young up-and-coming fishing guide based out of Sault Ste. Marie in the Algoma region of Northern Ontario. When Pete and Tyler first talked over the phone, they quickly got onto the fall Bass subject. Pete knew of the amazing Smallmouth in the area but was surprised when the topic of Largemouth was introduced. Tyler said the St. Mary’s River is loaded with them, and the fall is a great time to target them.

“It was instantly booked into the Fish’n Canada calendar,” says Pete.

Timing is a funny thing and usually it is bad for the Fish’n Canada production crew. For example, if it has not rained for a month, you can pretty much guarantee it will when the cameras come out. On this trip (October 17 and 18), however, the area was in full peak Algoma fall colours. This normally happens a week or two before these scheduled dates. Finally, the crew caught a break—what a spectacular backdrop for a Largemouth Show.


After launching the Princecraft, Tyler suggested they fish a few different bays that load up well with Largemouth through the summer. He also knew some great fall transitional areas that the Bass use annually. A great place to start.

In no time, the boys were into gorgeous Largemouth. Pete caught his first couple of fish on a single blade spinnerbait by working it almost like a jig in six to eight feet of water.

“I love slowly creeping a spinnerbait close to the bottom in the fall,” says Pete. “If the water isn’t too cold, Largemouth can’t seem to resist it on certain days. The trick is to not work it too fast.”

In the meantime, Tyler threw an array of presentations including rattle baits, Senkos, creatures, and jigs—all of which worked.

The keys to success were weed clumps and rocks. Those two ingredients always spell money when it comes to Largemouth fishing, especially in the fall.

“This Largemouth shoot very much lived up to Tyler’s description,” says Pete. “He was a hundred percent confident that we’d catch lots of them. And he was a hundred percent correct.”

Although Pete and Tyler did not catch any giants, Adam Vallee—a friend of Tyler and a local guide representing Angling Algoma—caught some absolute beasts while scouting around for new guiding and tournament areas.

Pete says, “This is one sleeper Largemouth fishery!”


To finish the shoot, Pete couldn’t resist a shot at the rapids area directly adjacent to the city of Sault Ste. Marie. This area is one of Tyler’s favourites to fish, and there is a good reason why. It’s a world-renowned fishery for Trout and Salmon. Resident Rainbow and Steelhead, as well as Chinook, Coho, and Atlantic Salmon all frequent this area. The beauty of this spot is that it’s very accessible to anglers.

For Pete’s last hurrah in the “Soo”, they bombed the Princecraft up the rapids (more specifically, Tyler did, because Pete more than likely would have crushed the lower unit of the Merc on the first attempt), dropped back in neutral, and cast into the insane current looking for fish.

After a few drifts, Pete indeed smacked into a gorgeous little Steelhead that blasted through the water like a speed demon.

“What a way to end off this shoot,” says Pete. “Catching a turbo-steelie in the world-famous St. Mary’s River, right downtown Sault Saint Marie, during the peak of fall colours. And, of course, annihilating an untouched Largemouth fishery with big Tyler Dunn. That, my friends, is the epitome of a great fishing trip!”


The crew’s accommodations for the week were at Bruce Bay Cottages and Lighthouse. Sounds weird, right? A lighthouse? It may be the most unique place an angler and their families can stay. It is perched high atop a point overlooking Lake Huron, and it’s spectacular! To describe it here is quite difficult, but as you will see from the availability, it is a tough one to book. You have to check it out, if you can!

If the lighthouse is booked, don’t worry. They have an array of cozy cottages on their huge property.