10 freaky fish facts

10 wacky fish facts

Fishing is a great way to experience the outdoors, connect with family, and explore new areas. Plus – the excitement of reeling in and landing a fish is hard-to-beat. Safely releasing it back into the water and watching it swim back into the depths is particularly rewarding too.

Fish are amazing critters, as these strange-but-true facts tell us…

1. Catfish have taste buds all over their body

They’re like a giant swimming tongue (and very sensitive to water changes).

2. Some fish are older than Canada

Lake sturgeon

Female lake sturgeon can live up to 150 years, meaning some are older than our nation (which doesn’t hit 150 ’til next year)!

3. Fish can smell fear

When some fish are injured, they release a chemical called schreckstoff (a German word for “scary stuff”) that other fish can smell, warning them to hide from danger.

4. Some fish can sting like a bee

Catfish have venom in their spines that can cause pain and inflammation if you get pricked.

5. Some fish breathe air!

Bowfins, catfish and some other types of fish have a modified swim bladder that they can use to “gulp” air to take in extra oxygen.

6. Some fish grow warts to get dates

Male minnows sometimes grow bumps on their head called “nuptial tubercles” that are used to defend nests and territories, and to stimulate females during courtship. They fall off after the spawning season is done.

7. Ontario has its own flying fish

Brook silverside

The brook silverside — which can be found in clear, weedy waters in southern Ontario — often jumps out of the water to catch low-flying insects.

8. Fish are good for the economy

anglers at Fushimi Lake

Ontario’s fisheries generate about 2.2 billion dollars a year for the provincial economy (through recreational and commercial fisheries). Keeping ecosystems strong and healthy is important for this resource.

9. Eels migrate over 3000 km to the Sargasso Sea to spawn

American Eel

That’s like swimming 75 marathons back to back! These endangered fish are important to many indigenous communities in Ontario.

10. The biggest fish ever caught in Ontario weighed 168 pounds!

This record-setting lake sturgeon was caught near Wasaga Beach Provincial Park! Lake Sturgeon are now a species at risk and can’t be harvested.

Never tried fishing? We can help!

A Learn to Fish employee teaching children to fishJoin one of our free Learn to Fish programs and we’ll show you the ropes.

With over 250,000 lakes waiting to be explored, fishing in Ontario is a lifelong adventure!