Lake Nipissing is a Northern Ontario gem that is often overlooked during the open water season. Offering ample opportunities for a wide variety of species, including Walleye, Smallmouth and Largemouth Bass, Musky, Northern Pike, and an assortment of panfish and sheepshead (aka freshwater drum), the lake is vast and can be broken out into seven different sections: West Arm, West Bay, Lavigne, Cache Bay, French River, Callander Bay, and South Shore, and the main lake basin, which includes water directly accessible from North Bay.

Lake Nipissing Map – credit: North Eastern Ontario

The city of North Bay, built around the northeast quadrant of the lake, provides excellent opportunities and lodging for your next adventure. The lake opens on the third Saturday in May, with the shallow water bite kicking off immediately. This ensures fun for the whole family no matter the age as you can troll, cast a bobber, drag a jig or work a presentation to entice a bite. This also allows for boats big or small to access fishable water, along with many shoreline locations. May through July is usually the best time to target shallower Walleye, Pike, and Bass, which have an early open season compared to our neighbors in the south.

Lake Nipissing

Spend the day on Lake Nipissing with the family

The regulation changes and lake monitoring program have shown great success, with anglers reporting significant numbers of catches, including more keeper-sized Walleye than in the past ten years. We have an extremely healthy population of fish in the 16-21” range, which offer an amazing fight, and catches in the 24” plus range are showing up more and more frequently. The chance for a 28” plus trophy Walleye is better than ever!

Callander Bay and the northeast shoreline are great places to start your search, focusing on sand flats and rock to sand transitions for Walleye. Northern Pike can be found in the shallow vegetation and usually the first break off if they aren’t actively feeding. Bass will be found throughout these areas as well and offer a great fight, with Smallmouth always showing off their acrobatics. Many presentations can be offered to get bites, but the Lake Nipissing staples are a jig and minnow/worm/leech, worm harness, flicker minnow/shad, jerk/twitch baits, and spinner baits. Head over to Lefebvres Source for Adventure, North Bay Outfitters, Northern Tackle Supply Co, Bay Tackle Supply, Billy Bobs, or Trapper Joes for all your local bait and tackle needs!

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Tackle options at Billy Bobs Bait & Tackle Shop

Lake Nipissing is a large inland lake with many islands, channels, and areas to explore while out fishing. Sometimes the boating can be as nice as the fishing. Taking a ride out to the Manitou Islands and stopping at the beach for a swim, traveling across the lake to the French river and exploring its vast beauty along with keeping your eyes out for a wide variety of predatory birds from bald eagles, osprey, and hawks will just complement the amazing fishing.

Manitou Islands

Take a day trip out to Manitou Islands – credit: Paul Meyers

Fun for the whole family awaits your arrival at the boat ramps, including the North Bay Marina and La Vase River, which have excellent park facilities for the kids, a dog park along with The Boat restaurant. What beats coming off the water with great fish stories than sitting down lakeside for a bite to eat and a cold drink, or letting the family get their pent-up energy out while getting the boat ready to head back to your accommodation.

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Take in a sunset at The Boat after a day out fishing on Lake Nipissing

The city of North Bay and its surrounding communities are extremely friendly and have a natural beauty that needs to be experienced! If there is a wind or weather day, North Bay has many different activities to keep you busy and still enjoy your stay. Keep Lake Nipissing in mind for your upcoming trip – you will not be disappointed! Want to know more about Lake Nipissing then check out this blog: 8 Things You Didn’t Know About Lake Nipissing.

lake nipissing

North Bay Waterfront & Marina


About Mathew Koprash

Mathew is an avid angler and is the President of the North Bay Bassmasters tournament fishing club. He brought the OBN Provincial Qualifier to Lake Nipissing in 2018 and 2022. Mathew has called North Bay home since 2015 and tries to cover all the local lakes and attractions the City and surroundings have to offer with his wife and two sons.

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