There’s a lot to love about Toronto: amazing food, impressive architecture, a vibrant cultural scene – but did you know that there’s also incredible fishing near Toronto? From Salmon and Trout to Pike, Bass, Carp, and more, the local waters are full of fish just waiting to take your bait.
Now is the perfect time to dust off that rod or head down to the tackle shop. Get away from the city crowds and enjoy awesome angling just a short drive or bike ride away. With that in mind, here are a few of the best places for fishing around the Greater Toronto Area.
Ashbridges Bay Park
You can’t get much closer to town than Ashbridges Bay Park. Sitting on the waterfront of Toronto’s east end, it’s easy to reach on a bike or even on foot. The park has lots of well-managed paths and shady spots for a picnic, as well as the large Woodbine Beach nearby. All in all, it’s a lovely place to spend the day, although it can get busy in places.
Don’t worry, it’s easy to find a little space where you can get away from the crowds and cast a line. If you’re fishing from shore, you can expect to find lots of Bluegill and Crappie, as well as Largemouth and Smallmouth Bass, Pike, Yellow Perch, and the occasional White Bass. You may even come across Salmon here in the fall!
Ashbridges Bay isn’t the biggest park around, but it does offer several options for anglers. Head to the calm waters of the inner lagoon, or brave the breeze on the lake. You can even rent a kayak or head offshore from the local boat launch. This is a popular starting point for boaters after a slice of the summer Trout and Salmon bite.
A few kilometres up the road in Scarborough, Bluffer’s Park is a popular spot to spend a sunny afternoon swimming, strolling, or just enjoying the view. The iconic Scarborough Bluffs face onto a calm lagoon with lots of sheltered water where you can even learn to sail. There’s also a pretty (but usually busy) beach nearby.
Fishing from shore, your main catches will be smaller Pike and Panfish. The area also has a surprisingly good Trout and Salmon bite in the summer and early fall. However, most people head here to board a boat, as Bluffer’s Park has two boat launches and one of the largest marinas around.
Don’t own a boat? Not a problem! There are several fishing charters running out of Scarborough which can get you offshore in no time. The water gets deep quickly here, thanks to underwater cliffs. This means that you can land some huge Salmon and Trout just a stone’s throw from the shore.
It’s impossible to talk about fishing near Toronto without tipping your hat to the islands. Sitting just off the harbour and offering an incredible view of the city, this is the go-to place for fresh air and outdoor vibes without actually leaving the city. Whether you want beaches, food, or bike rentals, you’ll find everything you need for an active day out.
And of course, that includes great fishing! The Toronto Islands are full of lagoons and bays where you can reel in an unbeatable mix of fish. Northern Pike are the most famous here, but you can also land trophy-sized Carp, Largemouth and Smallmouth Bass, Muskie, Walleye, Trout, Salmon, and a variety of smaller species like Bluegill and Rock Bass.
The variety doesn’t end with the species themselves. The sheltered city-facing waters are very fertile and full of vegetation, drawing in a whole food chain of fish. On the Lake Ontario side, you’ll find rocky structures and more water movement – ideal ambush grounds for larger fish. And if fishing from shore isn’t enough, you can always rent a kayak or a paddleboard.
Port Credit is a pretty waterfront neighbourhood in Mississauga, still well within the GTA. This “Village by the Lake,” is a popular spot for waterfront walks and pleasure boat rides, as well as first-class restaurants. Sitting on the mouth of the Credit River, the old harbour is also an ideal spot to sit and enjoy one of several locally-brewed beers after a solid day’s fishing.
Port Credit is home to most of the area’s charter fleet. Step aboard one of these boats and speed offshore in search of Chinook and Coho Salmon, Brown and Rainbow Trout, Largemouth and Smallmouth Bass, and more. The great thing on these trips is that you don’t need to bring any equipment – just a cooler to put your fish in!
So it’s all about charter fishing? Not at all! There are plenty of places to cast from shore, both on the lake and into the Credit River itself. The river is a productive place for Bass and Trout from thaw until frost. In September, it becomes one of the hottest fishing spots in all of Ontario, as huge Salmon and Trout make their way upstream to spawn.
Fishing in town is fun, but it doesn’t compare to what you’ll find outside of Toronto. Lake Simcoe is a classic example of this. It sits around 80 kilometres north of the city, under an hour away in good traffic. Not that most people need to be told this – Lake Simcoe is super popular among boaters, jet-skiers, windsurfers, divers, hikers, and anyone who likes relaxing, beautiful places.
Lake Simcoe is best known for its ice fishing – and with good reason. In the winter, the entire lake freezes over and becomes one of the world’s most popular ice fishing spots. You don’t have to brave the cold to catch fish here, though. Even in the heat of summer you can expect Largemouth and Smallmouth Bass, Walleye, Pike, Whitefish, and Lake Trout.
You need a boat to get to the best fishing spots on Lake Simcoe. Luckily, you can rent them easily from several companies locally. You can also hire a kayak if you’re feeling fit. Otherwise, just cast from shore – you probably won’t land a Lake Trout, but there are plenty of Panfish and a decent Bass bite in the shallows.
Rice Lake is much farther away than the other spots on our list, around 100 kilometres as the crow flies. You can really escape the city, spending the day hiking, biking, swimming, kayaking – you name it. In fact, there’s so much to see that you could even pack a tent and make a weekend of it. You won’t want to leave once you see the fish that live here, that’s for sure.
Walleye and Muskie both hit good sizes in Rice Lake, while Smallmouth and Largemouth Bass put finesse anglers through their paces. The big numbers of Rock Bass, Sunfish, and Crappie make this an amazing family fishery, too. Throw in some of the best Carp fishing in Ontario and you get a true multi-species fishing spot.
The thing that really sets Rice Lake apart is how easy it is to fish here. Large weed beds line the west of the lake near Bewdley, perfect for shore fishing. You can also head to the fishing jetty on the south side of the lake. Board a boat, and you’ll find incredible trolling grounds around the lake’s many islands. It’s a fishery you could come back to time and time again.
And So Many More!
These are our top picks for fishing near Toronto, but they’re not the only spots out there. There are dozens of productive parks and rivers, even within the GTA. Set your sights further, and the sky’s the limit. Southern Ontario has some incredible fishing. So what are you waiting for? Grab your rod or find a charter near you and get out there!
What’s your favourite place to go fishing near Toronto? Have you tried any of the spots on our list? Tell us your stories or drop us a question in the comments below – we’re always happy to talk fish!