Located on Lake Ontario at the foot of Park Lawn Road in Etobicoke, Humber Bay Park provides a wide range of fishing opportunities year-round. It has washroom facilities, is easily accessed by public transit, and offers parking for hundreds of cars.
The park is split into two sides – Humber Bay West and Humber Bay East – divided by the mouth of Mimico Creek. It is the nutrient-rich inflow from this creek, combined with the park’s location on a shoreline bay near the much larger Humber River mouth, which attracts fish year-round.
The weedy shallows provide excellent spawning habitat for northern pike, which average six to eight pounds and may approach 20 pounds in weight. Look for these big fish to begin prowling shallow shorelines in mid-winter, and remaining in the area till June (as elsewhere in the Toronto area, pike are protected by a closed season from April 1 till the first Saturday in May). Spinners, spoons, suspending minnowbaits, spinnerbaits and swimbaits are the most popular lures among anglers here, followed by live or dead minnows in the six-inch range, normally fished under a float. Large pike tend to remain shallow here longer than they do in other locations along the lakeshore – mainly in order to feed on the large run of suckers which spawn in Mimico Creek. A substantial population of panfish – bluegills, punkinseed, black crappie and brown bullheads, mainly – also spawn in this area and provide food for hungry pike. A long-handled net makes landing fish a lot easier, especially when fishing from the rocks on the open lake side of the peninsulas.
Boat anglers do well trolling along the shorelines either directly off the park, or in either direction for a short distance. The west side of the park has excellent launching and parking facilities, with a well-kept double concrete ramp.
Largemouth bass are often taken in the lagoons and off the shoreline rocks, along with smallmouth bass and the occasional freshwater drum. The best fishing tends to occur on the east side, due in part to the direction of the prevailing current, and as a result of substantially less boat traffic (there is a major marina in Humber Bay West). The lake side of the parks – both east and west – provide opportunities to catch trout and salmon from shore in summer when persistent offshore winds create temperature inversion conditions. Monitoring lake surface temperatures online (www.coastwatch.msu.edu/ontario/o1.html) will reveal when strong winds push the warm surface waters offshore, allowing cold bottom water to well in to replace them and bringing cold-water fish along for the ride. Usually, it takes three or four days of strong offshore winds to start things happening.
The shoreline rocks offer more dependable action as August gives way to September, and large schools of brown trout, chinook salmon and rainbow trout begin to patrol the shorelines in search of spawning locations. Casting with spoons, spinners or rattlebaits works well. Boaters do very well trolling with large minnowbaits or spoons, either directly behind the boat or with the aid of small surface planer boards.