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A Multi-Species Kayak Fishing Adventure on Lower Buckhorn Lake

a woman standing in a kayak, fishing in a lake

This article was written by Ashley Rae of Ashley is a full-time fishing writer and video/content creator from the Ottawa area.  

Peterborough & the Kawarthas region has over 150 lakes and rivers to explore, with a wide variety of fish species that roam these waters. Largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, walleye, musky, yellow perch, common carp, and panfish, are just a few of the popular favourites here. I recently had an opportunity to spend a few days exploring Lower Buckhorn Lake, part of the Trent-Severn Waterway, for a memorable kayak fishing adventure with my partner, Eric. 

Lower Buckhorn Lake 

Lower Buckhorn Lake is over 1,200 hectares in size and is part of the Kawartha Lakes Chain. It is located north of the City of Peterborough, situated between the communities of Buckhorn (on the west arm) and Burleigh Falls (on the east arm). My partner, Eric, and I had the chance to check a variety of species off our list during our short visit here, including: largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, walleye, yellow perch, black crappie, pumpkinseed, and musky. We spent the majority of our time exploring the lake from our fishing kayaks, however we also landed several species from the docks at Westwind Inn, where we stayed during our visit.  

Westwind Inn 

Westwind Inn overlooking the docks and waterfront.

Tree Top Dining room overlooking the docks and waterfront. 

Westwind Inn is a waterfront resort located on the north shore of Lower Buckhorn Lake. They offer lovely accommodations at their main Lodge or Chalet. The Chalet, where we stayed, features cozy rooms each with a private balcony overlooking the lake. Breakfast and dinner reservations can be made in advance at Westwind’s on-site Tree Top Dining room. They also offer a packed lunch option if you’d like to make the most of your day out on the water. There’s a private beach and boat launch on-site as well as many docks where you can relax, soak up the views, and cast a line. I loved the friendly, easy-going atmosphere here. Eric and I both enjoyed being able to pull up to the beach for meals and washroom breaks, and then head right back out on the water to maximize our fishing time. We launched our kayaks from the private beach for the duration of the trip, which is literally steps away from the Chalet and the restaurant. It was a peaceful getaway and we felt spoiled with the amazing meals and beautiful accommodations!  

a fishing kayak on the shore of a beach with a resort in the background

The on-site beach with the Chalet in the background. 

Fishing on Lower Buckhorn Lake 

Author, Ashley Rae, with a smallmouth bass aboard her kayak.

Author, Ashley Rae, with a smallmouth bass aboard her kayak. 

This trip marked my second trip to Lower Buckhorn Lake. It was such a fun experience exploring this beautiful and scenic lake, and getting the chance to hook into a variety of species. My personal favourites from the trip were smallmouth bass, which I caught primarily on the Ned rig technique around rocky shorelines and islands, on the edge of weedlines, and throughout sparse weed beds. I also picked up a few smallmouth on a ChatterBait by running it over top of cabbage and milfoil beds on some of the many weed flats found on this lake. Although we covered a lot of water, we didn’t have to travel too far from Westwind Inn to get into some fish. 

Eric enjoyed getting into some nice smallmouth as well among other species, but he especially enjoyed lucking into a bunch of walleye on this trip.  

a man in a fishing kayak,  holding a fish

Eric with a beautiful walleye caught on a Ned rig. 

Our walleye were caught on a variety of techniques, but we had the most success with tossing a Ned rig along the edge of weedlines, just like with the smallmouth. Using our electronics, we also spotted schools of walleye that were stacked up chasing baitfish in the edges of the main basin of the lake. We were able to pick up a bunch of these fish using a drop shot rig. 

Although it was just a quick trip to Lower Buckhorn Lake, we had an absolute blast and cannot wait to return!