Five reasons to enjoy spring fishing at Ontario Parks

After enduring one of the worst winters on record, Ontarians and visitors alike deserve a break this spring and what could be better than finally casting a line on one of our 400,000 lakes, rivers and streams.

Fishing is fun and good for the soul

“When you’re out enjoying fishing, you’re not only fishing, you’re relaxing, breathing in fresh air, listening to the birds sing and taking in everything nature has to offer. It’s a great way to experience the outdoors as well,” says Trevor Gibb, an experienced Ontario angler and superintendent at Quetico. He spent years fishing in northeastern Ontario while working as a superintendent there.

His favourite thing? The eating of course!

“The fresher the better. If you’re out camping, there’s nothing better than a shore lunch. You fillet your catch and batter it and fry it up in some oil or butter.”

Convenient fish cleaning stations are available at many parks.

Ontario has some of the best fishing in the world

Anglers come from all over to catch big trophy fish like brook trout, lake trout, muskie, northern pike, bass and walleye and many provincial parks host an influx of visitors every spring just for the opening of walleye season.

  • Algonquin Provincial Park is great for lake trout, brook trout or rainbow trout, especially in May after ice-out.
  • Kettle Lakes Provincial Park east of Timmins, offers 22 deep spring fed lakes stocked with brook trout and others
  • Charleston Lake Provincial Park in eastern Ontario has a popular lake trout fishery
  • Sandbanks Provincial Park on the Bay of Quinte is the place to go for trophy walleye every spring
  • Ivanhoe Lake, White Lake, Missinaibi Lake, or Fushimi Lake provincial parks in northern Ontario have some of the best walleye fishing in the world.
  • Wabakimi Provincial Park offers incredible sport fishing for lake trout or walleye on some of the most pristine, wilderness lakes in the province (fly-in outfitters are available).

You can learn to fish at Ontario Parks

Even if you’ve never tied a fly or cast a line a day in your life, you can learn everything there is to know about fishing from the experts at Ontario Parks. All you have to do is sign up for a Learn to Fish session!  Six parks are offering sessions this year.

You can borrow fishing equipment for free from Ontario Parks

More than 55 Ontario parks offer the OFAH Tackleshare program thanks to a partnership with the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters and Ontario Power Generation.  Anglers of all ages and experience levels can borrow equipment (lures, rods, reel) at no cost.

“This is a great service for Ontario Parks’ visitors, for children and families to get involved in the sport of fishing when they may not already have the equipment,” says Scott Elliott, partnership development specialist at Ontario Parks.

“With the help of guides, beginners learn about different types of fish, licenses and regulations and invasive species as we are a conservation agency and we want to promote that.”

It’s downright Canadian, especially up north

For a truly Canadian experience, you must try fishing in northern Ontario at least once.

Preparing to cast a line at Fushimi Lake Provincial Park.

“It’s almost like being on the edge of a wild frontier,” says Gibb. “I mean here you have these beautiful facilities in all the operating parks in the northeast with hot showers, running water and a nice campsite with a picnic table. Yet you’re on the doorstep of all these lakes and rivers and wild areas that you can explore, that you just don’t have easy access to in southern Ontario.”

For more information about spring fishing at Ontario Parks, or to book your accommodations, click here.