Fishing Spot Review: Black Lake

What is Black Lake?

Black Lake, home to some of my best and worst fishing and camping trips. This lake holds a special place in my heart, and every time I think it’s hit a low point and get fed up with it, it draws me back in with a new high. Located in Nopiming Provincial Park, Black Lake is typical of the Canadian Shield lakes that feature so heavily in my content. Black basalt shores covered in jack pine forest make up the scenery, while the bottom is a collection of rocky shelves with the occasional mud flat.

black lake

Features of Black Lake

Like many lakes in Nopiming park, Black Lake features rather darkly stained water, which combined with the black rock landscape likely contributes to it’s name. The lake is long and relatively narrow, coming in at roughly 8.5 km long and 1.25 km wide. While the far east part of the lake will see depths of 20-24 ft, the majority of it ranges from 12-17 ft as an average away from shore. Of course, being a rock bottom, there are plenty of spots that go up and down very quickly, and boaters should watch for hidden reefs.

The other feature of this lake, and one of the main reasons I keep returning, is the campground. This campground has basic services like washrooms, fish cleaning station, a beach, firewood, and an office with a camp manager. All the sites are beautiful and often spaced far enough apart to never feel crowded by your neighbors. I have a few favorite spots that I always try to reserve, which are higher up and overlook the lake, making for a wonderful view. I’ve spent some excellent evenings with friends at these sites, slept alone in my truck on others, and always enjoy being there.

Fish Species

On Black Lake the main fish targeted are pike, walleye, perch and smallmouth bass. While I can usually catch enough walleye for a decent meal, and there are some monster pike lurking in the weeds, my favorite target in these waters is the smallmouth bass. My personal best smallie came from this lake, and I’ve caught some real tanks since. They might not be as plentiful as a place like Tooth Lake, but I find that the ones you do catch tend to be bigger.

black lake review

Traffic to this lake is relatively low for a place that has road access and a boat launch. That’s probably because its a significant drive from the big city. A good chunk of that drive is over some really rough gravel road as well, meaning that aside from holiday weekends, you are rarely going to feel that the place is crowded. This also means lower angling pressure, and as a result a fairly healthy fish population.

Fishing Black Lake

Fishing Black Lake takes some experience on the lake. It was my 3rd or 4th time out before I learned some spots and was able to start landing fish on a somewhat consistent basis. Large pike can be picked up on big crankbaits and spoons, while smaller ones will go after nearly anything. For walleye you can’t beat the classic jig and minnow for most parts of the lake, though in the channels between islands I do quite well with small crankbaits that dive 12-15 ft.

Smallmouth bass, the real target here for most of my trips, can be hard to suss out. There is an abundance of structure around nearly every shoreline on this lake. This means it can take some time to find the right combination of cover and depth to get on them. Most times I prefer to cover lots of area and will paddle up and down shorelines casting towards shore and reeling back to deeper water. The bass here seem to prefer 3-4″ soft swimbaits, or soft plastics with paddletails on brightly colored jig heads.

Final Thoughts

Black Lake continues to be one of my most common fishing destinations each summer. The drive is short enough from my house that I can make a day of it and be home at a reasonable hour. For those days that I don’t feel like putting in the 4 hours on the road, the campground is a great place to relax. Quite often I will go straight from a night shift to this lake. I’ll spend a full day fishing, and then just crash for the night in my truck before driving home in the morning. Other times I will spend 2 or 3 days in the area, hitting Black, Tooth, or Shoe lakes using the campground as a base.

While I’ve had some rough days here over the years, the scenery, remoteness, and trophy sized smallies keep me coming back time and time again.

black lake review

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