Practically in downtown Toronto, the mouth of the Humber River offers excellent fishing for a variety of species throughout much of the year.
The marshes in the lower Humber River are a prime spawning area for large Lake Ontario pike, making the Humber River mouth area a great place to catch these fish. Casting with spinners, spoons, spinnerbaits or minnowbaits produces many fish, as does fishing with either live or dead minnows. Because the river mouth is considered to be part of one 20, pike are protected by a closed season from April 1 to the first Saturday in May. The most consistent fishing is right before the season closes, and again right after it re-opens. Water clarity can be an issue for anglers at this time of year, as snow melt quickly turns the river the colour of chocolate milk. Further, the soft bottom along the lake shore here is easily clouded when onshore winds disturb sediments. Brightly-coloured lures work best in off-coloured conditions, while natural hues tend to produce best in clearer conditions.
Spring is also a prime time to catch migratory rainbow trout on their way upstream to spawn, and after they return to the lake in May. The Humber attracts a moderate rainbow trout run, with fish arriving in March and hanging around until water temperatures warm past their comfort level. Spoons and spinners catch the most fish, followed by natural baits like roe or worms, fished either on bottom or under a float.
Brown trout are also common catches each spring in the river and along the nearby shorelines. Browns respond to the same lures and baits as rainbows, and are most active just before and after dawn.
As trout action drops off in May, the Humber mouth becomes a top spot for trophy carp. Fishing live or prepared baits on bottom produces fish to more than 30 pounds. Anglers who prefer to cast lures should try small spinners for large schools of white bass that feed in the river mouth at this time of year. Although seldom over two pounds in weight, white bass fight hard and offer excellent eating.
Through the summer anglers fishing the Humber River mouth enjoy steady action with warm-water fish including smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, pike, freshwater drum and carp. A sturdy, long-handled net is useful for landing fish.
The area around the Humber River mouth occasionally serves up surprises to shoreline anglers in summer. Prolonged, strong offshore winds can occasionally result in temperature inversions, where warm surface water is blown offshore and cold bottom water wells in to replace it. When this happens, it is possible to catch a variety of trout and salmon from shore. The action seldom lasts more than a few days, but when inversions occur they can provide tremendous fishing. Try casting spoons, or fishing spawn under a float. You can monitor surface water temperatures online, at www.coastwatch.msu.edu/ontario/o1.html
Shoreline anglers tend to enjoy more consistent action by late summer, when migratory rainbow and brown trout return to the Humber along with a large run of chinook salmon. Fishing remains good through till freeze-up.
The Humber is most easily accessed off Lakeshore Rd., with parking east of the river on the south side of Lakeshore. A footbridge allows access to both river banks. The mouth is also easily accessed by public transit.