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Interview with Ontario's Steve Rowbotham
Lake Simcoe is a great Ontario fishing destination. We had a chance to discuss fishing with Guide Steve Rowbotham. This is what he had to say about Lake Simcoe, fishing and family.
GFN: First of all, you have a beautiful family. Your son is very young but what are the lessons about or through fishing that you hope to impart to him over the years?
Thanks Chris. My son Henry just turned 2, so he's not quite ready for a day on the water. Obviously, I hope he will enjoy fishing and the outdoors the same way that I do, but I would never force it on him. I will certainly teach him to respect nature and respect our fisheries. Practice catch and release and volunteer for conservation efforts. Those are values that I hold dearly and hope to pass that on.
GFN: Your wife fishes with you. What does it mean to you to have a partner in life that enjoys fishing and outdoors like you do?
It's make or break in my case. My wife and I met at a young age and the first time I took her fishing she landed a dozen good smallies on a topwater. She was hooked and so was I. Fishing for myself and many others, is an addiction, albeit a healthy one. It means the world to have a wife that respects my passion and encourages it all the same. When I ask buddies to go fishing and their wives won't let them, it pains my soul.
GFN: Where do you provide guide services? And why should someone hire you as a guide for them?
I've been guiding on and off on Lake Simcoe for about 12 years now. I work a full time job and only guide as a hobby at this point, but my time on the water and the networks I've built with other guides and avid anglers, keeps me on top of the fish.
GFN: You also fish tournaments. What tournament event are you most proud of?
There are several tournaments I'm proud of, but the one that stands out was the B.A.S.S. Junior Bassmasters Eastern Divisional on Lake St. Clair. This was back in 2004 and during 3 days of pre-fish we had hot, sunny, calm weather. The day of the tournament, the temperature dropped 20 degrees (F) and everyone was forced to scramble and adjust. As a young angler, these decisions came more difficult than they do now. I adapted, downsized and really slowed down. That allowed me to weigh the biggest bag of the tournament and capture the title. I was proud of the decisions I made when abandoning the original gameplan.
GFN: One week at any body of water in Ontario for any species at anytime of the year. When and where are you going and why are you going there?
Lake Simcoe in late October and there's not even a close second. Giant smallmouth stacked up in predictable areas and you get tired of catching 4 to 5 pounders. 7 to 8 pounders are possible on any trip.
GFN: One week at any body of water in North America for any species at anytime of the year. When and where are you going and why are you going there?
Tough one. I would love to do a fly in to Great Slave Lake in the Northwest Territories. Giant pike and lake trout hundreds of miles from anything. Sounds perfect to me. Although, it would be hard to pass up a trip to Falcon Lake in Texas for some giant largemouth.
GFN: One of your photos of your rod rack has a big ol' swimbait on one of the rods. What species are you using them for? And how are you using big swimbaits in the Ontario waters you fish?
I'm a spring pike junkie. I love chasing big gators in the cooler water when they get up shallow. I really only throw the big swimbaits when I'm seeking one really big bite, or looking for an aggressive strike from territorial fish. I also throw them for muskies in the fall on shield lakes.
GFN: Hardwater season is fast approaching. Where will we find you on the ice?
Lake Simcoe again. I've fished all up the east coast of the U.S. and a hundred lakes in Ontario and Simcoe is my favourite for multi species opportunities. I usually start off chasing big perch on shallow flats because they're delicious and plentiful...one of the few fish I do eat. Simcoe has true giants with 13-14 inchers being common and 15+ in fish caught every season.
Once the deep water freezes, I spend the rest of the winter chasing big lake trout and whitefish. I prefer lake trout simply for the fight and the style of fishing. Watching a fish on the graph chase a swimbait for 50 feet and then hook up is an adrenaline rush. That's my kind of video game.
GFN: Thanks Steve for some insight into your fishing. Follow Steve and look him up if you are headed out on Simcoe and need someone to put you on fish.