Where Families Can Go Fishing During COVID-19

After months in isolation, families are heading out to enjoy the great outdoors. What could be better than spending time on the water on a beautiful summer day? If you're looking for a safe and fun way to spend a few hours out of the house surrounded by nature, take the family fishing! Nearby parks and nature preserves offer great opportunities to drop a line and enjoy a day out fishing. Whether you are an expert angler or trying to learn how to bait a hook, visit these places in and around the GTA and get ready to have a great day — no matter if the fish are biting or not. Family fishing is an ideal activity since you can safely distance yourself from others in nature's open spaces.

Licence Requirements + Licence-Free Fishing

Anyone between the ages of 18 to 64 years, unless otherwise specified, must have a fishing licence. This year, residents of all ages can enjoy Licence-Free Fishing in Ontario Parks for the first two full weeks of July, from July 4, 2020 to July 19, 2020, courtesy of the Ontario Government. During these dates, you can fish without having to purchase a licence or carry an Outdoors Card. Your can also check out the Ontario Family Fishing Event. Many Fishing Derbies usually held during this time have been cancelled or are going virtual due to COVID-19, but not all. You can get a list of those events here.

Here's where you can fish in the Greater Toronto Area...

City Fishing in Toronto and the GTA​
More than 50 public waterways in Toronto and the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) offer public fishing access. The City of Toronto offers fishing for brown and rainbow trout, and chinook, coho and Atlantic salmon. You can find them along the Lake Ontario waterfront at the Toronto Islands, a short ferry ride from downtown Toronto or from your own boat or a fishing charter. Fishing with young children? Improve your chances of "catching" instead of just "fishing.” You’ll find these plentiful, fun-to-catch species in many public ponds, rivers, marshes and lakes such as carp and catfish, sunfish, perch, black crappie and bass. Click here for more information on what you need to know and find locations to fish in Toronto and the GTA.

Fishing at Ontario Parks
Ontario Parks offers some of the best fishing opportunities in the world. Whether you are a seasoned expert, a first-time fisher or somewhere in between, you can find a great fishing experience in Ontario Parks. Visit the Ontario Parks website and click on the Parks tab. Fishing activities are listed under each individual park.

Ontario Family Fishing Events
Ontario Family Fishing Events is a province-wide opportunity for Canadian residents to fish Ontario waters without the otherwise mandatory fishing version outdoors card. The Ontario Government designates 4 periods throughout the year as licence-free. This summer's dates are July 4 to 19, 2020 (12:01 a.m. Saturday to 11:59 p.m. Sunday). More

Burd's Trout Fishing in Stouffville - Open
​If you're looking for a place to fish that's relatively close to the city, try Burd's Trout Fishing in Stouffville, just north of Toronto. It offers fresh trout fishing. Bring a large blanket, a picnic and your gear, and enjoy a perfect day outdoors! If you don't have fishing gear, you can rent it on the premises. Best of all, no fishing licences are required. You now have all that you need for a fun fishing experience in a very picturesque surrounding. You pay for what you catch and fish are sold by the pound. The attraction is accepting entrance daily from 9 am-5 pm, and it's on a “first come first serve basis”. A maximum number of guests allowed on the property (including parking lot) is in effect. Time limits per visit may also be in effect to keep the number of visitors on the property to a minimum. Designated fishing areas are assigned to ensure proper social distancing. More

Credit Valley Conservation Fishing
Currently shore-fishing is permitted at certain locations. This page outlines all the Credit Valley Conservation parks, types of fish you'll find and all the rules and regulations for fishing. See to the left of the page, under 'Activities'. Not all parks are fully open so check carefully before heading out. All park links are at the very bottom of the page. More

Durham Region
Durham Region is home to the best fishing in the Greater Toronto Area. Highlighted by world-renowned multi-species fishing on Lake Ontario, Lake Simcoe, Lake Scugog, Bowmanville Creek and a number of other connecting tributaries. You'll find all the locations to fish here.

Halton Area Fishing
Many Conservation Halton Parks offer shoreline, fly and non-motorized boat fishing. Reel in a rainbow or brown trout, northern pike, bass, perch and other great tasting pan fish. Locations include: Grindstone Creek, Sixteen Valley Conservation Area, Carlisle Conservation Area, Sixteen Mile Creek, Campbellville Conservation Area, Kelso Conservation Area, Hilton Falls Conservation Area, Mountsberg Conservation Area and Robert Edmondson Conservation Area. Call 905-336-1158 for info. More

Conservation Hamilton
Conservation Halton offers several spots to cast a line and reel in that big catch! Valens Lake offers largemouth bass, pike, crappie, bluegill, perch, catfish and carp. Valens Lake is a fish sanctuary. Fishing is closed from April 1st to the fourth Saturday in June annually. Christie Lake offers pike, largemouth bass, bluegill, crappie and catfish. Christie Lake is also a fish sanctuary and fishing is closed until the fourth Saturday in June annually. Fifty Point: fishing is available in the pond or in Lake Ontario, but note that as of 2018, the pond at Fifty Point is no longer stocked. More

Lake Simcoe Region Conservation
Parks under the Simcoe Region Conservation Authority that offer fishing include: Baldwin Conservation Area​, Beaver River Wetland, Rogers Reservoir Conservation Area, Wesley Brooks Memorial Conservation Area and Whitchurch Conservation Area. Click on the park links for more information. More

Mississauga Fishing
J.C. Saddington Park is a great fishing spot for carp, salmon, and trout. Fishing is also available along Lake Ontario. This page will provide you will the information for fishing in Mississauga including fishing charters.

TRCA Parks
TRCA conservation parks are now open for day use activities including walking, running, biking in parks and on trails. Fishing is permitted with a licence. The parks are asking that you review their COVID-19 protocols prior to visiting. General admission fees apply. Be prepared to pay by credit or debit, as cash is not be accepted at this time. During the first phase of reopening, the number of visitors may be limited to respect physical distancing requirements, and in keeping with the Government of Ontario’s restrictions for safety, amenities including washrooms, playgrounds, fitness equipment, and rentals will be unavailable until further notice. More

Wilmer Trout Ponds in Durham - Temporarily closed
Wilmer Trout Ponds is great family fishing for rainbow, brook and brown trout as well as large-mouth bass. Open 7 days a week. Located 15 minutes North of Mount Forest, or 45 minutes south of Owen Sound. No season, no limit, no fishing licence required. Worms are sold on site. Bring your own rods and equipment. Cash Only. Currently closed due to COVID-19 but check website for reopening dates. More

York Region
There are 5 great fishing locations in York Region. Lake Wilcox, located in the Oak Ridges community at the headwaters of the East Humber River is the largest kettle lake on the Oak Ridges Moraine and is home to a variety of wildlife and fish. Species include black crappie, bluegill, largemouth bass, northern pike, smallmouth bass and yellow perch. Milne Dam Conservation Park is a 305-acre park, located at 8251 McCowan Rd. just south of Hwy 7 in Markham. You’ll find a variety of fish including brown trout, Chinook salmon, largemouth bass, northern pike and rainbow trout. Fishing is allowed with a MNR fishing permit (available at bait shops and Canadian Tire stores). The park is open for vehicles from 8 AM until dusk from Victoria Day weekend until Thanksgiving. Fairy Lake located in a 13.4-hectare (33-acre) park known as the Wesley Brooks Conservation Area, near Water Street and Main Street in Newmarket’s historic downtown is a great spot for kids and novice anglers, and is home to carp, bass, pike, pumpkinseed. Toogood Pond, a 33-hectare park, accessed from Main Street in Unionville, is a great place to take the kids or novice anglers to try and catch brown trout, carp, largemouth bass, northern pike, rainbow trout, rock bass and more.

Remember that a fishing licence is required to fish in Ontario except during Licence-Free Fishing currently available until July 19, 2020.

Due to the rapidly-evolving nature of the COVID-19 response, some information may become outdated. Check links provided for the latest announcements.

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