RYAN BEAN Special to The Standard
It’s that time of year again, and many great spring fishing opportunities are available to the Angler wanting to experience some of the incredible fishing that this part of Ontario has to offer during April and May... from hard fighting Steelhead making their annual runs into the Lake Ontario Tributaries. To the scrappy and tasty Panfish and Walleye that inhabit the Kawartha Lakes.
Anglers that would like to get a head start, or just can’t wait to get out on open water like myself, have plenty of opportunity close by in the surrounding area to experience the great fishing it has to offer, without having to travel far from home.
Below are the most common species that are targeted in spring in the area, and the dates the season opens for them.
Before you hit the water there is a few things to keep in mind. Remember to get your fishing license… In the excitement of getting out for the first time, you may forget that licenses need to be renewed every year. This not having a license can ruin your day of fishing really fast, and send you home with a fine, instead of memories of a great day of fishing. Remember to go over all tackle and make any tune ups as necessary… for instance line sitting in open air for a winter in the garage tends to rot, and when you do hook into your first fish of the season, you will most likely end up with a broken line… line loses its strength after sitting for long periods of time. A quick stop by your local tackle/bait shop before you go out can also help your chances at landing fish… most of them will kindly offer you advice to help and tell you what the other locals are catching fish on and where to find them. Port Perry’s Causeway Bait and Tackle is a good start for the Angler that lives in North Durham.
This column is just an overview on when and where to locate fish and spring. I will get into further details techniques on tackle and locations in future columns. Google is also a great tool to research what you want to know too! Below are the most common gamefish that are target during spring in the area, and dates that the season opens.
The Season for Steelhead opens the last weekend in April, however anywhere below the 401 CN Tracks on Lake Ontario Tributaries you can fish all year. These incredibly hard fighting fish will test the skills of even the best Anglers.
As soon as the ice leaves the river in spring these fish start their journey upstream to spawn in many Lake Ontario Tributaries in the area. A few of my favorite are Bowmanville Creek, Farewell Creek, Wilmot Creek, and Graham Creek. A lot of these creeks are close to each other, so fishing multiple creeks is an option without having to go far. Unlike Salmon, Steelhead return to Lake Ontario after they spawn and are hungry on their way back to the lake! I will get into further techniques on catching these fish in future columns.
Season opens on the second Saturday in May. Walleye are (and I think most will agree) one of the best tasting freshwater fish there is. I am a catch and release fisherman myself, but can’t resist the urge to keep one of these tasty fish when I catch one… one thing to keep in mind is to “harvest your catches” when keeping fish for the dinner table, choose the smaller ones to take home, they taste a lot better! Take a picture and let the big ones go, or Breeders I like to call them… These are the fish that make sure we have many more great years of fishing for future generations. A great time to target Walleye is at dusk, and at sunrise. They are most active then and will travel the shallows in search for baitfish. Unlike other fish they also seem quite eager to bite at night and this can be a great time to target them.
Panfish (includes: Perch, Crappie, Bluegill and sunfish)
The Panfish season is open all year around. They are great fish for the beginner fisherman, and a day on the water with the kids. When you locate one of these fish, chances are you’ll find many more close by! Panfish tend to travel in schools and will readily take most live bait techniques. Locating them can be the most difficult part.. but once located they can provide hours of fun for the whole family. They also taste great too, if you have the patience to clean them. Lake Scugog offers some great panfishing, as well as all Kawartha Lakes, and most waterbody’s in the area.
There are also many events held all season in the area. These are good events for those looking to get into the sport of fishing, and you will learn tons! It’s also a great way to get the whole family involved, and much can be learned to help your future fishing adventures! Uxbridge holds an annual “Huck Finn” youth fishing day, held on Elgin Pond, on Saturday April 25. The species they fish for is Brook Trout. This is a great day out for the kids and can help introduce them to fishing in a positive manner, and get them out of the house, and enjoying the outdoors.
I hope this column has helped in some way. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org I will answer any question you may have, and help your fishing be more enjoyable. In my future columns I will talk more in depth on lures, bait and tackle to use, and some hotspots you can check out for yourselves. Good luck on the water, and tight lines, always.
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