Hamilton Ontario Recreational Sports: Fishing information, listings and links
Background of the Sport
This sport began as a way of catching food, and though it has become a sport, and it's one where you eat what you win (except for "catch & release" fishing)! The concept behind fishing is that you attach either bait or a lure to a line attached to a fishing rod, and the fish will eventually (hopefully) think its food, swallow the bait, get hooked, and you get to reel the fish in. Fishing is a relaxing sport (and requires or teaches patience), helps you to unwind, and you can enjoy your natural surroundings--at least until a fish bites.
Fishing can be done from shore, from a pier, or from a boat. The choice will depend on where you are and what kind of fish you are seeking. Once you have picked a sport, you need to select your tackle, either using bait on a hook or a lure. After attaching it to your line, you need to place the bait where you think the fish are. This is called casting, and is done by extending the line a bit and flicking the rod behind you and then forward to use inertia to get the tackle far out into the water. You then reel in the tackle, trying to mimic the movements of the animal your bait is trying to mimic.
Another popular variant on fishing is ice fishing, where you fish through a hole in the ice (often protected by a heated hut or a tent). This usually uses a shorter rod, and is popular in many parts of the country where longer winters create thick ice giving access to deepwater fishing spots to all.
It is considered sportsmanlike practice to keep only those fish you plan to eat. Return the rest for others to catch. Please respect the environment, by not littering, and by not being overly noisy. You should also make sure you comply with provincial regulations regarding fishing seasons, required permits (more on this later)
In order to go fishing you need a rod & reel and some basic tackle. There are several kinds of rod & reel for either spincasting (best for beginners) or for fly fishing. You can buy these separately, or in combination. You need to select your line to suit your fish and your rod & reel, though today monofilament made of a single strand of plastic is most prevalent. The "terminal tackle" at the fish catching end of the line may include any of a number of elements: the hook for bait or a lure, a snap swivel (particularly when using spinning lures), a sinker (to hold the hook down), a bobber (to keep it up, say above weeds). You will also need a tackle box, needlenose pliers, nail clippers, a bucket, a net (for landing the caught fish), and optionally a camera.
The choice of bait or lures depends on what you're fishing for, the time of year, your fishing philosophy, and sometimes local rules. Typical live bait includes earthworms, minnows and assorted garden "crawlers." Lures tend to be more expensive, but present several advantages: they are durable, you can pre-pack a variety to suit any fishing excursion and they are heavier making it easier to cast in windy conditions. Some of the accessories to help make your fishing trip safer and more fun include: hats (for shade), sunscreen, insect repellent, life jackets (absolutely when fishing from a boat, but also for kids along the shore), a first aid kit, and waterproof boots or waders.
Ontario Fishing Rules
You do not need a Resident Fishing License if you are under 18 or over 65 years of age, or a disabled person who is an Ontario resident. Residents require an Outdoors Card with a Fishing Sticker attached to be valid.
Non residents under the age of 18 may fish without a licence as long as they are accompanied by a licensed adult. Non residents do not require an Outdoors Card.
$10.00 one day, $15 seasonal, $7.50 Conservation Catch.
$55 annual, $80.00 Spousal License (2 people), $35.00 7-day, $21.00 7-day Conservation Catch.
Licences for fishing in our National Parks can be purchased at park information centres, administration, campgrounds, wardens offices and some fishing shops. The cost is $13 per year, or $6 for a seven day permit for all persons.
There are a numbeer of great lakes and ponds in the Hamilton area, many in Conservation Areas:
- Valens Conservation Area populated by huge northern pike, largemouth bass, catfish and panfish. The lake can be fished from the last Saturday in June until April 1. Fishing is free with park admission. 905-525-2183
- Fifty Point Conservation Area Anglers will love the variety of fishing opportunities at Fifty Point. Fish for salmon in Lake Ontario or catch rainbow trout and bass in the conservation area's stocked pond. Fishing is free with park admission. Fifty Point Conservation Area is located on Baseline Road, north east of the Fifty Road/QEW interchange in Stoney Creek. Hours: 7:00 a.m. to sundown week days - 6 a.m. on weekends.905-525-2187
- Christie Lake Conservation Area
Christie Lake's nine ponds are stocked with rainbow trout from the last Saturday in April to early July, but you can fish well into September. All ponds are a short trip from the lake and Pond #8 is specially designed to be accessible to the physically handicapped. Fishing is free with park admission. 905-628-3060.