Crotch Lake is one of the top inland Walleye fishing lakes in Eastern Ontario. The great Walleye fishing is the result of the lake being clear and nutrient, which sustains high populations of Walleye. Fresh oxygenated water from the Mississippi River and other feeder streams rejuvenates the lake and gives the Walleyes prime habitat to spawn and grow quickly. The lack of high fishing pressure also maintains this great Walleye fishery. Crotch Lake is a big lake of 3850 acres with 163 miles of shoreline counting the islands. This is all waiting for you to explore.
Crotch Lake is a very special lake located in the Frontenac Highlands and has been deemed as a protected wilderness area, which is called the North Frontenac Parklands. It has been protected from development with only one drive-to lodge at the very south-end along with a summer camp for kids. All three were grandfathered into the park. The lake has only four cottages; rather it is a Mecca for wilderness canoeist with backcountry campsites along the shore. It's very much like fishing in a Provincial Park. Only a few canoeists participate in serious fishing thus keeping the Walleye population high.
Crotch Lake has an extremely diverse structure with many islands, shoals and gravel humps along with sand bars and sandy shorelines. The lake also hosts very healthy weed beds, which are found everywhere and can range from thick to sparse patches. It's perfect Walleye habitat.
To maintain high water levels in the river for canoeists the water level in the lake fluctuates. In the spring the water is high and Walleyes are found all along the shore. There will be loners spread out along the shore but guests often run into post-active spawning areas where dozens of Walleyes get caught one after another. Even long after the Walleyes are finished spawning the males will hang around these areas to protect the beds. The big females will be off these areas in the 10 to 20-foot range. There are many inlets for feeder streams and narrows, which hold large populations of Walleye but we do not want to be too specific on our website. Guests will learn all the hotspots when they get to the lodge. In the spring Water levels are high enough to get a boat into some smaller satellite lakes and bays, which are weedy and stuffed with Bass and Walleyes. As the season progresses most of these Walleyes will move into the main lake because the water gets too shallow and warm in the smaller satellite lakes.
As the season warms up and water levels drop the Walleyes start to move around. They tend to go a little deeper and head to the rocky points and shoals. There are also many weed covered mounds and sunken reefs which hold fish. Fishing 20 to 30 feet deep in the cooler water produces many fish. Some of the Walleyes go out into the open water and feed on suspended schools of Lake Herring (Cisco). The Walleyes will also concentrate along the edge of big weed beds that face the open lake.
Later in the season the Walleye fishing changes again because water levels start to rise again. This is a lake where the fish are always moving. Crotch Lake is different from other lakes. Fall fishing for Walleye is outstanding. The reason it's so good is because they are easy to find. Many come shallow and patrol the shoreline for food. Others are concentrated down 20 to 30 feet off the rocky points. Our late season guests are often rewarded with some of the biggest Walleyes because the big Walleyes are trying to pack on weight for the winter and they can be very aggressive.
The average size Walleye in the lake is about 20 inches. You should catch just as many over 20 inches as you do under. There is a protected slot size. All Walleyes under 15.5" and over 19.5" need to be let go. The introduction of the slot limit has resulted in a very healthy Walleye population with many very large breeding females cruising the lake. There are plenty of Walleyes being caught over 20" and up to 25". Crotch Lake is a big lake with a lot of food. It produces Walleyes much greater than 25". During the summer a surprising amount of Walleyes in the 30" range get caught. Some 30+" fish are caught by chance but more by guests who are specifically targeting big Walleye. How to target big Walleyes is explained on our fishing tips page. To our knowledge the largest Walleye caught on the lake was 36".
Crotch Lake is famous for its bass fishing. Because many of our American guests are bass fishermen and often members of bass clubs, many concentrate on bass and ignore targeting Walleyes. Even the bass fishing guests will catch Walleye in the shallows. The Walleye fishery in our lake is virtually an untouched resource waiting for you to enjoy. Last year we had three guests catch 180 Walleyes in a week. You will have to drive 7 hours farther north to get back into that level of action.