Southern Ontario is blessed with an abundance of great, albeit often overlooked, fishing opportunities. I know I am starting to sound like a broken record on this issue but hear me out.
The misconception is that you need to travel a great distance to get to good fishing opportunities but in my experience this is not so. While there is great fishing in the states and Northern Ontario, Southern Ontario has many vibrant watersheds that are not only conveniently located near major centres but afford the angler a chance at quantity and quality of fish.
Case in point, my report below:
I packed a light bag and hopped in the car at 8:30 pm Thursday evening headed for Bethany to meet up with my uncle. After a few hours of sleep we awoke at 4:30 am and were on our way to Port Darlington. We launched the boat and sailed out of port into 80 FOW.
We dropped the down riggers and dipsy divers and instantly had a hit but couldn’t capitalize. We trolled for another hour out to 117 FOW with no hits and no sign of bait balls. Things were looking grim with no fish in the boat so we decided to head back to the scene of the crime where we had the first hit.
Sure enough we had two quick bites and boated two rainbow trout: one was 6lbs the other was 9lbs. Both were healthy fish and provided a strong fight.
An hour later and a after couple more near misses we received a strong hit on the down rigger. I set the hook and proceeded to reel in the fish thinking we hooked another decent rainbow. You could imagine my surprise when the fish kept up its impressive run for what seemed like forever. Fifteen minutes and a couple blisters later we boated a beautiful 18lb Chinook salmon. This was a truly magnificent beast, built for speed and strength. The truly impressive thing about these fish is that they will fight to their very last ounce of strength making it essential for proper equipment and proper release techniques.
One more impressive thing, they are located just minutes from the 401 along almost the whole stretch of southern Ontario.
With our Big lake appetite sated we pulled the boat and took a few hours break giving me just enough time to make a quick stop at SAIL and have a quick nap.
In the afternoon we towed the boat to Sturgeon lake, located near Lindsay Ontario to take a crack at the resident walleye population.
The walleye cooperated and we boated multiple 40cm fish which put them convienently in the 35-50 cm slot in force on the lake. All within a couple hours.
Since I can’t resist the taste of fresh walleye we kept two nice eating sized fish for the table and released the rest.
(my new abu Garcia verdict and cardinal in action)
All in all an impressive day on the water with a total of four species caught ( included a jumbo perch caught while trolling) and all within less than an hour’s drive.
Once again, I recommend trying the fishing opportunities in Sothern Ontario. Not only is the fishing great but you will save on gas too!
Cheers from the Wild