The mouth of the Rouge River offers good fishing for a variety of warm-water and cold-water fish.
The marshy shallows at the river mouth provide excellent spawning habitat for northern pike, brown bullhead and black crappie, three of the most commonly caught species in the early season. Until the season closes at the end of March, pike up to 40 inches or more in length can be taken on spoons, spinners, minnowbaits or either live or dead natural baits, with live shiner minnows in the five-inch range the most consistent producer. Large pike that normally live their lives in the open waters of Lake Ontario visit this area to spawn just as the ice breaks up, providing a unique seasonal opportunity to catch genuine trophy fish.
Crappie also spawn in the lower Rouge, and may be caught in large numbers when present. These fish travel in large schools, but move about constantly so locating fish can be extremely hit-or-miss. When you do connect with a school, it is possible to catch fish on every cast. Most run about 10 inches in length – a perfect size for the frying pan. Despite their name, crappie are one of the best eating fish in Ontario, with a flaky white meat that is delicious pan-fried in a light batter.
Rainbow trout, suckers and carp pass through the rivermouth area in spring, on their way to and from spawning sites further upstream. The open season for rainbow (and brown) trout is open year-round downstream of Highway 2, so the Rouge mouth and lower river is a popular spot for anglers seeking these fish. Fresh roe drifted under a small float takes the most fish.
Through the summer months the Rouge River mouth and the marshes directly upstream offer decent fishing for largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, panfish, small pike, white perch, white bass, bullhead and carp.
By late August or early September, anglers fishing the Rouge mouth have an excellent opportunity to land trophy chinook salmon, brown trout and rainbow trout on their way upstream. Easy access to the deep waters of Lake Ontario make this a prime spot to fish before autumn rains entice trout and salmon further upstream. In dry weather, this spot can be a real sleeper.
The most direct access is via Rouge Park, located at the eastern end of Lawrence Avenue at Rouge Hills Drive. This area offers plenty of parking, and is within walking distance of public transit. A canoe or inflatable boat will allow anglers to access many prime areas out of reach to shore anglers.