As soon as the snow begins to melt, the Hills of Headwaters Tourism Association office begins receiving calls about fishing in the region. By the time brook, rainbow and brown trout season opens, anglers of every age and background are anxious to get out and experience the diversity of fishing you will find in the province.
In Canada there are over 180 species of native fish and in Ontario you can find almost all of them -- 144 in fact! The word “Ontario” means “beautiful or shining waters” in Iroquoian and these waters (approximately 250,000 lakes and millions of streams and rivers) make Ontario the top fishing destination in North America, and the best location in the world for brook trout.
The economic impact of the fishing industry should not be taken for granted. According to the Ministry of Natural Resources, Ontario fisheries support not only commercial fisheries, but also the sport fishing and tourism industries. Each year approximately 1.27 million anglers fish in our province, spending more than $2.5 billion dollars on fishing related expenses. Recently the Credit Valley Conservation area presented a study that indicated there are over 30,000 angling days spent on the Credit Valley watershed each year, putting the recreational value of fishing on the Credit at $1.2 million and the average value of a fishing day anywhere from $9 to $148 per day.
The Hills of Headwaters region is the birthplace of four major river systems: the Credit, the Grand, the Nottawasaga and the Humber. These four watersheds play an important role in shaping our local landscape and heritage – they also provide the perfect setting for great fishing!
The Credit River
The Credit River is renowned for its many deep pools, shallow rapids and the flats replete with large boulders and rocks. The cold running waters are home to over 45 fish species, including brook, brown and rainbow trout, Chinook and Coho salmon, small and largemouth bass, northern pike and carp. You will also find Black crappie, pumpkinseed sunfish, rock bass, yellow perch and bullhead catfish in the slow moving sections of the river. The Upper Credit River also provides some of the best fly fishing in all of Southern Ontario – north from Inglewood, through Erin and all the way to Island Lake.
The Grand River
The Grand River and its major tributaries offer some of the best recreational fishing in the world. The Luther Marsh, a biological treasure at the upper reaches of the Grand River watershed, is approximately 5200 hectares in size and is considered one of southern Ontario’s most significant wetlands. When visiting Luther Marsh, visitors can enjoy shore finishing from the dam or the east launch. Because of the shallow water levels and dense aquatic vegetation, only perch, bullhead and minnows (12 different species) can be found in Luther Lake, with the opportunity for a small amount of angling for yellow perch.
The Nottawasaga River
The main branch of the Nottawasaga River stretches more than 120 kilometres and features 70 kilometres that are open to year round steelhead fishing. Because the river is spring water fed, the temperature stays moderate throughout the year – cool in the summer and warm in the winter, and it is the cold ground water that helps support a rainbow trout habitat. The watershed provides spawning habitation for a variety of fish species including walleye, smallmouth bass, pike and even rare lake sturgeon.
The Humber River
The Humber River was designated a Canadian Heritage River in September 1999 and includes over 750 creeks and tributaries that originate in Mono, wind their way over 126 kilometres through Caledon and flow directly into Lake Ontario. Featuring a mix of slow and fast moving waters, the Humber River is home to more than 60 species of fish including trout, pike and salmon.
In most cases, residents of Canada between the ages of 18 and 65 need to have a fishing license in order to fish in Canadian lakes and rivers, and catch limits must be adhered to (the number of fish you may have in your possession at any one time).
Whether an avid angler, or a casual sport fisherman, there’s a pleasure and serenity that can be found on the waters, so grab your rod, your tackle box, pack your lunch, and head to the Hills of Headwaters and experience Southern Ontario fishing at its finest.
For further information about fishing in the Hills of Headwaters, or other things to see and do in the region this summer browse our brand new 2011 Visitors Guide.
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Where to Fish in the Hills of Headwaters
Cast your line around the Headwaters and explore our nooks and crannies... a superb overview of conservation areas and parks that offer fishing about and hour north of Toronto.