Gary's Guiding: Crotch Lake Fishing Guide


Final 2023 Walleye Count: 400 Walleyes in the boat. There would have been more but I had cancellations due to crappy weather. Updated October 11/2023

The 2023 final average is 12.12 walleyes per full day. In 2022 the average was 5.78 walleyes per day. Unforturetly we have had six bad days in 2023, which brought the average way down. It happens sometimes; usually because of weather, which also caused some cancellations. The walleye fishing gets better every year and I find new hotspots every year.

My name is Gary. I live a short distance from Crotch Lake. I run an Internet business specializing in designing websites for tourism businesses with a main focus on fishing lodges. It's my full-time job but I do have time to guide. I bring you to the hotspots and show you what baits and techniques are working at that time of year. Whether you are staying in local accommodations or just coming for the day we will have a lot of fun

In 2024 I am available from Saturday, May 11 (Walleye Opener) to Saturday, October 8 (day before Thanksgiving Monday)

Please Note: Land O' Lakes Lodge is permanently closed. It's now a summer camp for kids.

Bookings: Please email me at or you can phone me at (613) 335-5383. My return email will say it's from iMarket Canada so please check your junk mail folder if you don't hear from me. I live out in the wilderness and don't always get a phone signal so please leave a message.

Parking: Based on Tumblehome Lodge's insurance policy; if you are not a guest of the lodge you cannot park at the lodge or walk on lodge property. You will need to park at the public boat launch off of Ardoch Road where I will meet you. You can buy a park day-pass here ($9.50). Crotch Lake Access Road & Boat Launch on Google Maps. For people camping on the lake I will pick you up at your campsite.

How Long is the Day:
I am very flexible as far as how long the day is. A standard full day is usually fishing until you have had

2024 Rates:
• Full day is $195 US or $260 CND (two people) - usually 10 to 12 hours depending on the time of year and the length of the day in regards to sunlight.

• Half day is $125 US or $170 CND (two people) - usually 5 to 6 hours.

US to CAN conversion is always fluctuating. No charge for follow boats

Shore Lunch:
It's $35 for two guests. For bigger groups we can work something out with the cost of buying extra food. I only make shore lunch on full day guides.

I only accept cash: I supply the gas for my boat & worms for the people in my boat. In most cases guests are using and losing my fishing tackle. I have a really good Nikon camera and will take high-quality photos (16 megapixel) of you and your fish.

My Boat:
I have a 16.5' Naden Big Fish with a 15hp Mercury Motor. I have brand new seats, which I installed on June 18/2022. I can only take two adults with me and maybe a child. If you have a larger group; your friends can follow us in other boats.

Walleye Regulations:
Walleyes need to be between 16" and 19.5" (40cm to 50cm) to keep. Anything smaller or bigger must be let go. This new style of regulation is working wonders as far as the Walleye population increasing. The fishing gets better every day. You can keep four with a sports license and two with a conservation license. The fine for keeping a Walleye outside of the slot is $180 if the Walleye is releasable. If the fish does not look healthy or is dead it's a $280 fine. I will not let any guest keep a Walleye outside of the slot size.

Factors Affecting the Walleye Bite:
• A full moon and clear skies at night means the Walleyes feed all night long. As a result they will not start feeding again until the afternoon, sometimes late afternoon and sometimes not at all.

• All fish will be hard to catch for a couple of days after the Dragon Fly Hatch. (Usually the end of May)

• All fish will be hard to catch for a few days after the May Fly Hatch (usually a week after the first full moon in June. It usually lasts three days.)

• All fish will be hard to catch when the pine trees start pollinating (right at the first full moon in June, which is around the 10th.)

• In the spring and summer Walleyes are very hard to catch when the wind is coming from the east, north-east or south-east. When the wind comes from the west; fish bite the best. When the wind comes from the east; fish bite the least. That is especially true on Crotch Lake. BUT!!! in late summer and fall the Walleyes gravitate to the western shore so an eastern wind is good.

• On days when it's brutally hot with no clouds and no wind the Walleyes will go deep; sometimes as deep as 50 feet. You have to fish deep. BUT!!! I have had some of my very best Walleye fishing on these terrible days. In 2019 I went out with my buddy thinking we would not catch a Walleye with a gun to our heads. That day we caught over thirty Walleye and came in after running out of worms. Crotch Lake is a strange lake and has a lot of surprises; both good and bad.

• The lake is absolutely stuffed with Walleyes. The problem is there is too much food. If your depth finder has a good display you will see countless schools of minnows and some of the bait-balls are gigantic. Crotch Lake has a species of fish called a Fall Fish. It looks like a cross between a Chub and a Shinner and they get big. They spawn in the Mississippi River and lay trillions upon trillions of eggs. They are the main feeder fish. As a result using minnows for bait is not effective. Also as a result the Walleyes are never really hungry rather they take very soft curiosity bites and most times you don't even know they are on your line until you set the hook. If you lure feels a little heavy like you have a small weed on always set the hook.

• Jigging is not effective unless you know the lake very well and know the rare spots where they are concentrated at certain times of the year. The Mississippi River is a Mecca for canoeists. They are constantly lowering King's Dam to keep water levels down stream high enough for canoes. As a result the Walleyes in Crotch Lake are always on the move and are spread out all over. Trolling is the most effective way to catch them as you are covering ground.

The perfect Walleye day is a steady 10 MPH wind coming from the west, lots of cloud cover but not clouds from a low pressure system and no rain. Walleyes will go into a feeding frenzy right before a thunderstorm. When it starts raining they shut right down and will not start feeding again until after the low pressure system has been pushed out of the area.

Washrooms on Crotch Lake: Crotch Lake is within the North Frontenac Parklands and has recently been classified as a biodiversity wilderness region and is now fully protected. Hundreds of people each year canoe down the Mississippi River and stop and camp on Crotch Lake for a night or two. There are many backcountry campsites dotted along the shore of the lake. Each campsite has an "Out", which is an outhouse without the house part. Some people call them thunder boxes. Each campsite will have a trail leading to the out, which is placed in a spot for privacy. In most cases it is easy to find an empty campsite where you can go if you need to.

About Me:
My father was a fishing fanatic. As a kid I grew up freezing cold standing in the middle of the Saugeen River casting for Rainbow Trout in early spring & late fall. My mom was a high school teacher and had summers off so she and I spent many summers at the cottage (Pigeon Lake near Bobcaygeon) where all I did was fish for Walleye, Musky & bass. During high school I started guiding for lodges in the far north and eventually found myself at a 5-star fly-in fishing lodge about 600 miles north-west of Thunder Bay, where I worked for many seasons. I guided along side many highly experienced Cree guides who showed me a lot of Walleye fishing tricks.

On Crotch Lake I like to focus on Walleye but I do know a ton of hot bass spots where they go crazy over Wacky Worms and Ned Rigs. Most people hire me to get the Walleyes because even though there are tons and tons of Walleyes in the lake; they can be tricky to catch because they are always on the move.

You cannot under any circumstances have open alcohol in the boat. The fines in Ontario for open alcohol in a boat are monstrous.