Fishing has definitely come to be a big sport in Canada, and good Canadian fishing is not at all hard to do. There are so many Canadian fishing lakes available that one could practically throw a stone and hit one. From fly in operations to your average stream side fishing, the best Canadian fishing is only as hard to find as you feel like making it.
In this guide we’ll cover facts about fishing in Canada, and give you the low down on the best fishing in Canada today. We’ll walk you through everything you need to know whether you are a young Canadian who wants to get started, or an adult that will be visiting the country and wants to know about anything from lake trout fishing in Canada to the ice fishing tradition.
4 Canadian Fishing Facts
We’ll use this as our getting started guide. Let’s cover 4 crucial facts that will help you experience good Canadian fishing and have a great time doing so. Once we cover the basics, we’ll get more detailed.
- You need to have a license if you are over the age of 16. Children can fish with their parent or legal guardian in Canada as long as that person has a license. Failure to obtain a license could lead to a steep fine so be sure to get this first and foremost.
- Never fish alone. Sure, you can get away with it, but the water poses greater danger than many like to think. You should always fish with a buddy so that you can make sure that there will always be someone to help or call for assistance. Safety can’t be emphasized strongly enough for any outdoor sport, but fishing can be especially dangerous. It only takes a few minutes for a person to drown, even if they are a strong swimmer.
- Talk to the locals. The best Canadian fishing opportunities can be found by talking to those who live in the area you will be visiting. Canada is known for hospitable people and this is especially true in the rural parts of the country. Don’t be shy to ask for advice because you might get a tip that could help you haul in the catch of a lifetime. Even those who do not have fishing tips will certainly be able to help with directions or warn you of hazards.
- Know your desired fish. The more you know about the particular fish you are looking for, the better off you will be. This counts for lake fish, those found in rivers and obviously those off the coasts. Be a student of Canadian fishing and you will not only find success, your experience will be far richer as a result of your effort.
Now let’s check out some specific types of fishing you can do in Canada. Remember, weather and all sorts of other conditions will affect your luck, but learning about your options always pays off. These are some of the more popular ways to enjoy good Canadian fishing
Ice Fishing in Canada
Every winter, the reputation that Canada has for being a place of snow and ice comes into full effect. Once the lakes have frozen over, a great Canadian fishing tradition begins. Ice fishing is one of the more popular winter time outdoor activities in Canada.
Most ice anglers use either a stationary or portable ice fishing hut. Portable huts are a good idea because they allow you to be mobile on the ice and try several spots until you locate the fish. At each spots, a hole is drilled with an ice auger, and the angler lowers the bait though the hole.
A variety of different fish can be caught this way, including: lake trout, perch, walleye and whitefish – all of which are edible.
A recent trend in ice fishing in Canada has been the rental of ice fishing bungalows. Resorts assemble large huts on the ice that can house several people, complete with beds, televisions, propane stoves, and of course holes in the floor for fishing.
Salmon Fishing in Canada
Some of the most prized game fish in all of Canada are salmon. Each year salmon return from the depth of the ocean to swim back upstream to spawn. Although the baby salmon are small when headed out to sea, they grow to very large size while in the ocean. Once they head back to their native Canadian rivers they are often enormous.
There are several species of salmon that can be caught in Canada. These are Coho salmon (also known as Silver salmon), Sockeye salmon, and King salmon (also known as Chinook salmon), and Atlantic salmon. The rivers where these salmon are found include the Columbia River, the Fraser River and the Stamp River.
Along the shores of British Columbia there are found a great number of salmon, as well. These often put up an impressive fight and are said to be even more fun to fish for than halibut.
An often overlooked, but successful salmon fishery exists near the Canadian shores of the Great Lakes. Salmon fishing in the Great Lakes can often rival that of BC, and is within driving distance from most of Canada’s population and many US states.
Many people love the taste of salmon so it is a good choice if you plan on keeping fish to eat.
Fly Fishing in Canada
When it comes to Canadian river fishing, many people are quite crazy about fly fishing. The fact is, the romantic image of the fisherman casting and re-casting calls up therapeutic feelings of an angler at one with nature.
Western Canada is especially favored for fly fishing and is one of the world’s premiere choices. With so many rivers teeming with trout and salmon, there are few other places in the world that can compete.
Easy to access wading waters help immensely, but the spectacular scenery really pulls it off. In Canada you can fish for Rocky Mountain whitefish, bull trout, wild cut throat trout, rainbow trout and many other species in gorgeous, clear streams.
Walleye Fishing in Canada
Walleye are the most preferred freshwater game fish in Canada. The best time to catch walleye is during its hunting time, at dusk and dawn. They do put up quite a fight, however, they are also one of the tastiest fish according to many.
If you are visiting from another country, you should take note that many Canadians use the name pickerel when referring to walleye. This is not to be confused with a chain pickeral, grass pickeral, or other species of the Esox genus of fish.
Smallmouth Bass Fishing in Canada
Smallmouth bass are a prized sport fish by many Canadian anglers due to their strength and tendency for acrobatics when hooked on a line. They prefer cooler and deeper clear water lakes than their largemouthed cousins.
Both artificial and live bait work well for smallmouth bass. They can be greatly affected by changing weather conditions, and may be difficult to catch during cold weather. This is when live bait or finesse techniques can really pay off. Be sure to learn drop shotting and other finesse techniques before you set out to catch smallmouth bass in Canada.
Lake Trout Fishing in Canada
Lake trout generally weigh in at an average two to four pounds, however, they can reach far greater sizes. Those who are lucky have actually caught lake trout that weigh in over 30 pounds.
The excitement of bringing such a large, heavy fish up from the depths of the lake, can tend to make a fisherman a bit fanatical. These are a fish species with an avid cult following of anglers.
Largemouth Bass Fishing in Canada
Largemouth bass are not quite as common as smallmouth bass in Canada. You can tell them apart from the more common smallmouth due to a distinct dark lateral line on their sides. Also, their mouths extend past their eyes.
These are quite aggressive fish that go after both live and artificial bait. They tend to live in shallower water than smallmouth bass, and can be found under and around docks, tree stumps, weeds and lilly pads.
Largemouth bass are very adaptable and can live in many different habitats, including shallow murky ponds where smallmouth aren’t typically found.
Muskie Fishing in Canada
Muskie fishing is an exciting experience that can be very awarding to anglers. They can be difficult to catch at times, and are known as the fish of a thousand casts. For this reason, it’s a good idea to hire a fishing guide if you plan on catching muskies in Canada. They will help you locate the fish and recommend affective lures to catch them.