With lush forests, crystal clear waters, and breathtaking scenery spanning almost 10 million square kilometres, Canada is the ultimate outdoor destination. And what better way to enjoy all the Great White North has to offer than to go fishing? But where exactly should you wet your line?
As the second-largest country in the world, Canada will bless you with unlimited angling opportunities. Having options is great, but choosing the best spot to start from can be overwhelming. For this reason, we selected the top 10 fishing locations in Canada for you. From well-known hotspots to tucked-away corners, we handpicked something for every type of angler. Here are 2024’s winners.
Lake Ontario, Ontario
There isn’t a more rewarding way of kicking off your Canada fishing adventure than by visiting the world-renowned fishery of Lake Ontario. Comfortably nestled on the border between Ontario and New York, Lake Ontario is the smallest of the Great Lakes but we think it’s most interesting. Here’s why…
Lake Ontario is the last stop for the Great Lakes on their way to the Atlantic Ocean. This means that Lakes Superior, Michigan, Huron, and Erie drain into Lake Ontario, creating a diverse angling playground.
The lake boasts over 120 fish species, including celebrities such as Pike, Walleye, and Bass. Chinook Salmon and Brown Trout, however, are unsurpassed targets here. To score a trophy Salmon, come to Lake Ontario between July and September. When it comes to targeting brag-worthy Trout, spring is your ally.
Besides promising a soul-invigorating fishing experience, Lake Ontario will also be a feast for your eyes. This is particularly true for the magnificent Niagara Falls. While these waterfalls need no introduction, you’re probably wondering when’s the best time to visit… Well, precisely between May and October when fishing is at its peak as well! How about that?
The Cowichan River, British Columbia
For your next must-fish destination in Canada, we chose the stunning Cowichan River in British Columbia. This body of water is considered to be the finest Trout fishery on Vancouver Island. But that’s not all. The entire Cowichan region is renowned for its recreational activities, so brace yourself for an active vacation out in the open.
Summer is the season to conquer the Cowichan River area. You can go swimming, canoeing, biking, camping, and hiking. And, for a truly authentic Cowichan escapade, we recommend tubing. We’ll leave it to you to try out and you can thank us later!
If fishing is your sole focus, pack your things and hit the river in spring or fall. Early April is when Rainbow Trout shine the brightest. Brown Trout, on the other hand, guarantee superb angling action in October. But, truth be told, whichever month you choose, you’ll be in for a treat. Fly fishing is the name of the game here, and places such as Sandy Pool and Stoltz Pool are your go-to access points.
Bow River, Alberta
Speaking of Trout fisheries, we can’t move on without hopping to the neighbouring province and mentioning the Bow River. Running through the most populated areas in Alberta, this waterway offers the best of two worlds – the perks of a local atmosphere and unspoiled waters at the same time.
The Bow River flows through several cities, but Calgary is the best starting point. Not only will it give you an endless list of things to do when you aren’t angling but it’ll also bless you with Blue Ribbon opportunities when fishing. The prime stretches of the river for premium Brown and Rainbow Trout are right around “Stampede City!”
When you’ve fished your heart out, keep exploring Calgary’s section of the Bow River with BowTubes and BowYaks. If you prefer admiring the city’s beauty from above, check out the Calgary Tower. The sensational panoramic view, a heart-stopping glass-floored observation deck, and a spectacular revolving restaurant will leave you in awe.
Last Mountain Lake, Saskatchewan
When people think of fishing in Canada, two species immediately come to mind – Salmon and Trout. But should you crave a change of angling scenery, hit up Last Mountain Lake in Saskatchewan. Also known as Long Lake, Last Mountain is home to enviable Walleye and Perch specimens.
The largest naturally-formed lake in southern Saskatchewan provides some of the best fishing in this region. It comes as no surprise then that Last Mountain Lake hosts two big tournaments. The Regina Beach Lions Walleye Classic takes place in June, whereas September is reserved for the Last Mountain Fall Walleye Classic. So, if you’re into Walleye fishing, you know when to come!
Late spring and early fall are great for bird watching, too. Last Mountain Lake is a safe haven for various avian species. This is the spot where the oldest bird sanctuary in Canada is. So, apart from the vibrant underwater realm, expect to be amazed by a feathery kingdom above the lake as well. And, last but not least, the lake promises to dazzle ice fishing enthusiasts and Perch anglers when the waters freeze over.
Lake Dauphin, Manitoba
Last Mountain Lake may boast enviable Walleye and favourable ice fishing conditions, but the neighbouring Lake Dauphin is no stranger to those phenomena either. This Manitoba gem has earned its place on this list of Canada fishing destinations thanks to its trophy-sized fish and excellent year-round angling.
Not only does Dauphin Lake brim with mind-blowing Walleye, it also teems with colossal Northern Pike. So, if both fish species are on your bucket list, Dauphin Lake is the place to visit. Besides these two superstars, Carp, Sauger, and Freshwater Drum are also typical catches.
But there’s more! The lake’s appeal also lies in the fact that you can equally be successful on a summer fishing trip as well as on a winter angling outing. Some parts of the lake are conveniently shallow, allowing ice fishing anglers to populate it with shacks and practice ice fishing throughout the season.
The low water levels in summer might not always be suitable for boating, but they’re great for shore fishing, kayaking, and even water skiing and windsurfing. And if you want to stay overnight, the nearby Rainbow Beach Provincial Park is ideal for camping.
Next up, we present you the city of Saguenay. Blessed with lakes, rivers, fjords, and wilderness, Saguenay is a dream come true for all nature buffs. Add an incredible number of snow-inspired attractions to that, and you’ve got yourself a true winter wonderland. And what about fishing? Well, let’s say that the chances of you being disappointed are non-existent.
Saguenay is situated in the most beautiful part of Quebec and guarantees a memorable outdoor experience in winter. From mid-November to mid-March, the entire region is covered with snow, meaning snowmobiling, skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, fat biking, and dog sledding are all on the cards!
As far as fishing goes, ice fishing is all the rage here. You can fish on Lake Saint Jean for Walleye, Perch, and Pike. Or you can try something new and fish the Saguenay Fjord for saltwater species such as Smelt, Redfish, and Arctic Cod. Those who prefer flowing rivers to frozen bodies of water can wet their line in the picturesque Saguenay River in early fall and end up with Salmon and Trout.
North Lake, Prince Edward Island
We spiced up this year’s Canada fishing destinations list with the last spot. But if you want to know what on-fire fishing really looks like, go to North Lake. This small fishing community on Prince Edward Island will take your angling experience to a whole new level. But what’s so special about it?
North Lake is Canada’s giant Bluefin Tuna epicenter! Believe it or not, these leviathans reach three digits effortlessly here, and 1000 lb beasts aren’t a rarity either. It goes without saying that North Lake has rightfully earned its moniker as the Tuna Capital of the World. So, if battles of epic proportions are what you’re looking for, look no further than North Lake. To maximize your odds of landing a giant, hire a charter operator and hit the bluewaters between July and October.
While screaming reels and tight lines are common out on the ocean, the town itself radiates tranquillity and hospitality. If you want to feel what it means to be a part of this lovely community, stay in the Barn and treat yourself to heartwarming homemade meals in the Boathouse.
Bras d’Or Lake, Nova Scotia
Across from the Tuna Capital of the World lies another VIP destination. Bras d’Or Lake – or Arm of Gold Lake, in English – is your golden ticket to both freshwater and saltwater fishing adventures. This aptly named angling paradise thrives so much in the heart of Cape Breton Island on Nova Scotia that it’s been designated as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.
Besides its unparalleled beauty, Bras d’Or Lake will show you what fishing in this part of Canada is all about. Not only will you be able to score trophy Brook, Brown, and Rainbow Trout, but you’ll also be able to test your skills against sea-run fish such as Cod, Herring, and Flounder. And the list of catches goes on to include Striped Bass, Smelt, and Perch.
Along with blooming flora and fauna, Bras d’Or Lake has a rich heritage and culture. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to secure your spot on the Eskasoni Cultural Journey and discover the Mi’kmaq way of life. The best time to visit the island and Bras d’Or Lake is in summer, between June and September.
The Gander River, Newfoundland
Slowly but surely, we’re approaching the end of this year’s list of Canada fishing destinations. With this in mind, our penultimate location had to be a true gem. Meet the Gander River in Newfoundland, an Atlantic Salmon paradise and a safe haven for all nature lovers.
The Gander River was once famous for the Atlantic Salmon runs, with 25,000 of them returning each year! While not as abundant in Salmon as it used to be, the Gander River is still one of the go-to Atlantic Salmon fisheries in Canada. The peak season is between June and October, and the best way to test your skills against Salmon is to wade and fly fish.
If you prefer casting from a vessel, team up with a local guide. Not only do they have special Gander riverboats designed to withstand the fast river currents, but they also know how to navigate these waters safely and put you on the hot bite.
We recommend staying at one of the first-class lodges in the area and fully recharging your batteries. Alternatively, you can enjoy the perks of the nearby town of Gander. This charming city offers historical exhibitions, golfing, and more!
The French River, Ontario
The last stop on our 2024 list may come as a surprise, but we couldn’t help but include another Ontario location. Lake Ontario is a worldwide angling destination, and there’s no denying that it’s one of the premier fisheries in Canada. But what about another nationally cherished body of water like the French River?
The French River was the first to be recognized as a Canadian Heritage River. It’s an important historical, cultural, natural, and recreational treasure situated in Northeastern Ontario. As such, the river is the perfect getaway for history and outdoor enthusiasts. The area is also dotted with lodges, making the French River ideal headquarters for anglers with families.
When it comes to outdoor activities, head to French River Provincial Park and try anything from boating, canoeing, kayaking, whitewater paddling, sightseeing, and hiking to hunting and fishing – fishing being on top of the list, of course. Pike, Musky, Walleye, and Bass are some of the superstars that could grace the end of your line here.
Fishing Canada Destinations: A Neverending List!
We just scratched the surface with our top 10 picks for 2024. Canada is every angler’s dream, and the list of fishing corners is endless. But you have to start somewhere, and these locations are tailored for getting familiar with everything Canada has in store for you. Should you need some more inspiration, check out one of our previous articles on Canada’s fishing hotpots!
If you crave more information on how to fish in Canada, take a look at our Canada fishing guide and learn about fish species, hotspots, angling techniques, and regulations.
What destination from the list have you chosen for your next Canada fishing trip? Maybe you have a hotspot or tucked-away corner to recommend? Hit the comment button below and share your fishing experiences with us!