When and where to fish near Toronto

When and where to fish near Toronto

How to Find Fish Near Toronto

Knowing when and where to go fishing in Ontario is important whether you’re a beginner or a lifelong, fourth generation angler.

It’s always a good idea to know what you’re hoping to catch; in Ontario, you can catch walleye, salmon, trout, bass, pike, or musky.

Before you go fishing, get a fishing licence (or take advantage of one of the free family fishing weekends). Also, make sure you know when the fishing season in your area begins.

After you’ve completed those steps, here’s a list of the best times and places to go fishing in Ontario.

When is the best time to fish in Ontario?
There are exceptions to every rule, but each species has its own set of behaviours. Knowing the behaviour of each fish will help you catch them depending on the type of fish you’re after. Each fish’s lifecycle determines where they will be, when they will be there, and when they are most likely to take your bait.

In Ontario, what fish are in season?
The Ontario Government  website is the best way to find out where you can fish at any given time of year. Read the disclaimer, agree, and then you’ll see a map. Scroll to the area where you want to fish, then click the fish icon, and the information will appear at the bottom of your screen (on a desktop it pops up on the side). Follow the link to the Zone Regulations and carefully read them. There are exceptions and exemptions for various fish and locations, but all of the information is available here. If you find this information too perplexing, your next best resource is a local angler or a fishing supply store.

When is the best time to fish for trout?
In general, trout season in Ontario begins on the fourth Saturday of April and lasts until September 30. (double check with your local bait shop or other anglers before casting). Remember that just because the season is open does not mean the fishing will be good. It is best to go early in the open season. From late April to late June, the weather should be pleasant. When steelhead and trout are in the rivers at the same time, it’s a great time to fish; usually around the second week of May. Fishing for trout can be excellent until the rivers become too warm in July. Weather and water temperatures will influence the best time to fish for trout; trout are most active in cooler water temperatures, so go early in the morning if it’s hot out.

When is the best time to fish for salmon?
The salmon season in Ontario usually begins on the fourth Saturday of April and lasts until September 30. Check the Fish ON-Line website for any exceptions to that rule. However, because salmon do not begin to migrate up rivers until late August or September, September is generally the best time to catch them. Salmon that have just entered the river from the lake are a beautiful silver colour and will fight hard. When the muddy runoff clears, 12-to-24 hours after the first big rain in September is often a great time to catch salmon. Colder morning water temperatures will also benefit the fish because they will be more active.

When is the best time to fish for walleye/pickerel?
Walleye (also known as pickerel) are a fish that can be caught both in the winter and in the summer. The season is generally open from January 1 to March 15 and from the second Saturday in May to December 31, but check the Fish ON-Line website for any exceptions. It’s widely assumed that the best times to catch walleye are in the spring and fall. The best time of day is just before sunset, or the last hour of daylight. This is the most active feeding period for walleye. The first hour of daylight is the second-best time, especially on hot days when the river has cooled overnight.

When is the best time to fish for bass?
It’s always a good idea to know when bass are legally in season. The general rule is the fourth Saturday in June until November 30, but always check with the area you’ll be fishing in to confirm this. In some parts of the province, bass fishing is permitted all year. The spring before spawning is a good time to catch bass, so get out there when the fourth Saturday in June arrives. That is just before they begin to spawn. They won’t take bait while spawning, but they’ll start again afterward, usually around mid-summer, so late July to August. Bass prefer low light conditions, so be on the river as the sun rises. They’ll also be actively feeding as the sun sets, making sunset another excellent time to get on the river. Because bass can see in low light, fishing at night can be successful. Full moons are excellent times to catch bass.

Where to Fish Near Toronto
With so many rivers and lakes in Ontario, deciding where to go can be difficult. Any good angler, however, will first ask what you’re fishing for. Seasons and locations will vary depending on the fish. The Fish ON-Line website in Ontario can help you figure out where you can fish, when you can fish there, and what kind of fish you’re likely to catch. Of course, these guidelines are very broad; you can fish for salmon on the Saugeen River in April, but you’re unlikely to find any because they spawn in the fall. So, while the government website provides that information, a little more knowledge goes a long way.

Best place to catch trout
While there are numerous places to fish for trout in Ontario, certain rivers consistently make anglers’ top rivers lists. The Credit and Ganaraska rivers are easily accessible to residents of the Greater Toronto Area. The Ganaraska River flows into Lake Ontario at Port Hope, where there are numerous public access points. The Credit River, which flows into Lake Ontario at Port Credit, is a popular fishing spot. For more information, contact the Credit River Anglers Association. The Saugeen River and the Nottawasaga River flow north from Toronto, respectively, into South Hampton and Wasaga Beach. They’re both popular fishing spots, with the Saugeen River downriver from Denny’s Dam being particularly good for trout.

The best place to catch bass
Smallmouth and largemouth bass can be found all over Ontario, so don’t be surprised if you hook up while casting off the smallest dock. If you live in southwestern Ontario, the Thames River in London is a good place to catch both smallmouth and largemouth bass. Greenway Park and Harris Park both provide river access to the Thames. Huntsville’s Big East River is a great place to get away from the crowds and fish for small and largemouth bass in cottage country. Similarly, the Kawartha Lakes region has 15 lakes with numerous public access points; the town of Bewdley is an excellent place to fish from the shore of Rice Lake.

Best salmon fishing location
There are several salmon rivers in the area for anglers who live in the GTA. In the fall, the Humber River, Credit River, Bronte Creek, and Duffins Creek all have significant salmon runs. The Ganaraska River flows into Lake Ontario at Port Hope, attracting one of Southern Ontario’s largest salmon runs. This also means that it attracts a large number of anglers. It’s best to get to the river early. Salmon can be found further north in the Nottawasaga River and any river or rill that flows into Georgian Bay. Again, check fishing regulations to see where you can and cannot fish. The Saugeen River, which flows into Lake Huron in the town of Southampton, is a massive river with anglers congregating all the way downstream to Southampton around the Denny’s Dam Conservation Area.

Best place to catch walleye/pickerel
The Bay of Quinte in Prince Edward County is well-known as a walleye hotspot; Zwick Park in Belleville is a good option for fishing from shore. Balsam Lake is accessible from Balsam Lake Provincial Park and Indian Point Provincial Park in the Kawartha Lakes region. Both parks have excellent walleye potential. Lake Erie in the Great Lakes is another excellent location for walleye fishing; the pier at Sugarloaf Marina provides easy access.