Leave the fancy bass-boats with 250 horse motors in the driveway because this list is not for you. Here’s 5 of Fish’n Canada’s recommended southern Ontario shore fishing spots. So grab the car, the bike or just your favourite pair of hiking shoes and have at it!
GANARASKA RIVER, PORT HOPE
The Ganaraska River may be the #1 Steelhead and Salmon river in all of Ontario. It’s a tough choice with others like the Saugeen, Beaver, Bighead, Credit and the Nottawasaga to name some of the other majors.
Pete lived in Port Hope for many years so that’s one of the main reasons this is our final Steelhead/Salmon choice. He can attest that the “Ganny”, day in and day out is a shore-bound anglers dream.
NIAGARA WHIRLPOOL, NIAGARA RIVER
This is by far our most scenic pick of shore fishing spots on this list. This is a stunning part of Ontario that has drawn tourists for years.
Everyone is familiar with Niagara Falls; however, just downriver is a fishing phenomenon. With its swirling current, clean water, and bruiser fish, the Whirlpool is a sight to behold. There are Northern Pike, Muskie, Carp, Lake Trout, Rainbow Trout, Brown Trout, and even exotic species like Buffalo and Long Nose Gar.
A word of caution though, access to this great shore fishing spot is done via a LONG set of stairs. Not so bad going down but coming up… don’t say we didn’t warn you.
Rice Lake is in south-central Ontario. It is known for its many species of catch-able fish. There’s Walleye, Muskie, Smallmouth & Largemouth Bass, Crappie, Sunfish and Rock Bass. As well, the Carp fishing on Rice Lake is second to none, especially for numbers. We shot a unique Carp episode on Rice in where Pete fished from shore while Ang fished out of a boat.
The town of Bewdley on the west end of the lake has great shore fishing access, all near a plethora of stores and shops.
Gores Landing is also a nice spot to set up for a day of fishing.
Although limited in access, the town of Hastings also has some great shore fishing.
THAMES RIVER, LONDON
The Thames River flow is approximately 273 kilometers (170 mi) long, running westward through southwestern Ontario. It flows from the Town of Tavistock, through the cities of Woodstock, London, and Chatham thus making it an extremely popular shore fishing area. Since it is an extremely long river, there are many not so easily accessed and very scenic areas as well.
This popular river has Smallmouth Bass, Largemouth Bass, Rock Bass, Catfish, Yellow Perch, Pumpkinseed, White Sucker, Carp, Walleye & Northern Pike.
This may well be the best opportunity for local “on foot” anglers to pack a lunch, set out for a day and simply enjoy the great sport of fishing.
Some of the best city-access areas are Greenway and Harris Parks in London, as well as the Westminster Ponds (these even have fishing platforms). Live bait is always a good choice here, just make sure you are within the Ontario fishing regulations.
Surprisingly the Toronto area has some of the best shore fishing in all of Ontario. The species list might be the most diverse of all on this list. Access can be hard in certain areas at times, but it always is well worth the effort to investigate it.
One of the unsung heroes of areas set off of Lake Ontario is the Northern Pike. Almost every harbor has them and if allowed access on foot, these Pike become very catch-able. Here’s an episode we shot and although we used a boat, is shows just how many Pike can be in these no so obvious places.
The Toronto Islands are first to come to mind. A ferry boat ride to Center Island, a quick walkabout and one can be fishing in no time. There are snack bars nearby with lots of picnic tables and trash receptacles spread throughout the island for a nice lunch while fishing.
Tommy Thompson Park is another great Toronto area shore fishing spot. It has one of the largest natural habitat areas along the waterfront. Great place for fishing and for the family.
High Park in Toronto has a great fishing area called Grenadier Pond. Be sure you look for the designated shore fishing areas.
Interested in Carp fishing in and near Toronto, then again this episode gives you an idea as to the size of the fish there.