About ONTARIO Sportfishing
Ontario is a vast province with over 250,000 lakes and countless rivers and streams. These water bodies are teeming with fish, making Ontario one of the premier fishing destinations in the world. From the Great Lakes to remote northern fly-in lakes, Ontario offers diverse fishing opportunities. Popular species include walleye, northern pike, muskellunge, bass, trout, and salmon.
Fishing is not just a pastime in Ontario; it's a way of life. The province sees an influx of anglers every year, contributing significantly to the local economy. Whether you're looking for a luxury fishing resort, a remote outpost, or a DIY fishing adventure, Ontario has it all.
What to Catch
- Walleye - Often referred to as the "gold of freshwater fish," walleye is a favourite among anglers for its challenging catch and delicious taste. The Bay of Quinte is renowned as the "Walleye Capital of the World."
- Northern Pike - These aggressive predators are known for their explosive strikes. The pristine waters of the French River and Lake of the Woods are prime locations for trophy-sized pike.
- Muskellunge (Muskie) - The elusive muskie is a prized catch in Ontario. The St. Lawrence River and the Ottawa River are hotspots for these freshwater giants.
- Bass (Largemouth & Smallmouth) - Bass fishing is popular in the Kawartha Lakes, Lake Simcoe, and the Rideau Canal. Both species offer exciting topwater action.
- Trout (Lake, Brook, Rainbow) - Ontario's cold, clear lakes and streams are ideal habitats for various trout species. Algonquin Provincial Park and Lake Superior offer excellent trout fishing opportunities.
- Salmon (Chinook, Coho, Atlantic) - The Great Lakes, especially Lake Ontario, have thriving salmon populations. Port Hope and the Salmon River are popular salmon fishing destinations.
Freshwater vs. Saltwater
Ontario is a freshwater fishing paradise. The province doesn't have saltwater fishing, but the diversity and abundance of freshwater species more than make up for it.
When to Go Fishing in Ontario
The fishing season in Ontario varies depending on the species and region:
- Spring (April to June): As the ice melts, walleye, pike, and trout become active. This is the best time for ice-out trout in northern lakes.
- Summer (July to August): Bass season opens, and warm-water lakes come alive. Muskie fishing also peaks during these months.
- Fall (September to November): Fall is prime time for big muskies and salmon runs in the tributaries of the Great Lakes.
- Winter (December to March): Ice fishing is a popular activity in Ontario. Lake Simcoe, Lake Nipissing, and the Ottawa River are famous ice fishing destinations.
Ontario Fishing Limits
Ontario has specific fishing regulations to ensure sustainable fisheries. The limits vary depending on the species and the fishing zone. It's essential to consult the Ontario Fishing Regulations Summary for detailed information.
Ontario Fishing Licenses
All anglers aged 18 to 64 require a valid fishing license to fish in Ontario. There are two types of fishing licenses: Sport Fishing License (for those who want to keep more significant quantities of fish) and Conservation Fishing License (for those who practice catch and release). Licenses can be purchased online, at ServiceOntario locations, or at various license issuers across the province.
Overview: This region is a vast wilderness area known for its pristine lakes and rivers. It's a haven for anglers seeking solitude and world-class fishing.
Main Species: Walleye, Northern Pike, Muskellunge, Smallmouth Bass, Lake Trout.
- Walleye: Spring (May to June) during their spawning season and Fall (September to October) when they feed aggressively.
- Northern Pike: Late Spring (May to June) when they're in shallow bays and Fall (September to October) in deeper waters.
- Muskellunge: Summer (July to August) is the peak, but early Fall (September) can yield trophy-sized catches.
- Smallmouth Bass: Summer (June to August) when they're most active.
- Lake Trout: Winter (January to March) for ice fishing and Spring (April to June) during ice-out.
Notable Locations: Eagle Lake, Lac Seul, Rainy Lake, Lake of the Woods.
Overview: A mix of dense forests, rolling hills, and clear waters. The region is dotted with thousands of lakes and rivers.
Main Species: Walleye, Northern Pike, Brook Trout, Smallmouth Bass.
- Walleye: Spring (May to June) during spawning and Fall (September to October) when they're more aggressive.
- Northern Pike: Spring (April to June) in shallow waters and Fall (September to October) in deeper areas.
- Brook Trout: Spring (April to June) in cold, clear streams and lakes.
- Smallmouth Bass: Summer (June to August) is the best time.
Notable Locations: French River, Lake Nipissing, Lake Temagami, Chapleau Crown Game Preserve.
Overview: Home to the Great Lakes and several smaller inland lakes and rivers. The region offers diverse fishing opportunities.
Main Species: Salmon (Chinook, Coho, Atlantic), Steelhead, Brown Trout, Smallmouth Bass.
- Salmon: Fall (September to November) during their spawning runs.
- Steelhead: Spring (April to May) and Fall (October to November) during their migration.
- Brown Trout: Spring (April to June) in cooler waters and Fall (September to October) during spawning.
- Smallmouth Bass: Summer (June to August) when they're in shallow waters.
Notable Locations: Lake Ontario (especially Port Hope and the Salmon River), Grand River, Lake Erie, Lake Huron.
Overview: Known for its picturesque landscapes, including the famous Muskoka region and the Kawartha Lakes.
Main Species: Muskellunge, Largemouth Bass, Smallmouth Bass, Walleye.
- Muskellunge: Summer (July to August) is peak season, but early Fall (September) can also be productive.
- Largemouth Bass: Summer (June to August) when they're near lily pads and submerged structures.
- Smallmouth Bass: Summer (June to August) in rocky areas and deeper waters.
- Walleye: Spring (May to June) during spawning and Fall (September to October) in deeper waters.
Notable Locations: Kawartha Lakes, Lake Simcoe, Muskoka Lakes, Georgian Bay.