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There’s a 7630 square kilometre (4741 square miles) protected area in the heart of Ontario known as Algonquin Park. This beautiful and remote area has over 1,500 lakes and 1,200 kilometres (745 miles) of streams and boasts some of the finest Brook Trout and Lake Trout fishing in the world. But, did you know that Algonquin Park also has a thriving Smallmouth bass population? These hard pulling, feisty fish are often found in lakes adjacent to established campgrounds. Our annual family camping trip Cedar Lake in the Northern end of the Park proves just that. Big, beautiful bronzebacks, year after year!

Early each July, we load up the camper and kayaks for an always memorable camping adventure to Cedar Lake in Brent, Ontario. Brent would be considered a ghost town by today’s standards, but at its peak in 1929, 300 loggers, railway workers and their families called Brent ‘home’. Today, Brent is an established campground in the Northern reaches of Algonquin Park. I describe it as being remote (an hour’s drive down a logging road), but not backcountry. Essentially it’s the perfect place to relax and unwind in nature when you have adventurous six and four year old children.

We choose a site that is located on a beach. Our family spends the majority of our time in and on the water. Although trout inhabit the lake, I prefer fishing for smallmouth bass on Cedar lake. Not only are these powerful fish plentiful, but they are also easy to catch and you don’t have to travel far from your campsite to find them. I can be fishing within earshot of the camper, and catch big, hard pulling smallmouth all day long. My son would often join me in his own kayak, casting a line or paddling around as he saw fit.

A huge bonus for me this year was to have a really good fishfinder aboard my Jackson Liska. The Raymarine Element provided excellent side imaging, which was essential in finding chunck rock in a sea of sand. Dragging a tube, Ned rig or crayfish jig over these rocks was a sure-fire way to pick a fight with a football. For the fly angler, trolling a marabou leech along shoreline structure has also proven to be a successful search tactic in years gone by.

Side imaging screen grab from the Raymarine Element 7

If you’re looking for a family adventure that is remote, but with the conveniences of a small store and running water, I highly recommend this gem within a gem! Great family memories to last a lifetime.

– Scott Barton