Shore Fishing: Top 5 Spots in Southern Ontario

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Leave the fancy bass boats with 250 horse motors in the driveway because this list is not for you. Here are five of Fish’n Canada’s recommended Southern Ontario shore fishing spots. So grab the car, the bike or just your favourite pair of hiking shoes and have at it!

Remember, these are five locations recommended by Ang and Pete. We do realize that there are many, many more, and we look forward to sharing and discussing more shore fishing options in future Fish’n Canada segments and posts.

If you’re interested in learning some techniques, baits or general shore fishing tips that we highly recommend check out our companion piece: 5 Shore Fishing Tips and Techniques!

Without further ado, here are five of our favourite shore fishing spots, presented in alphabetical order:


The Ganaraska River may be the #1 Steelhead and Salmon river in all of Ontario. It’s a tough choice with other options like the Saugeen, Beaver, Bighead, Credit and the Nottawasaga, to name a few.

Pete lived in Port Hope for many years. That’s one of the main reasons this is our final Steelhead/Salmon choice. He can attest that the “Ganny” is—day in and day out—a shore-bound angler’s dream.

Also, don’t discount other species here. Brown Trout, Smallmouth and Largemouth Bass (yes, Pete has even caught a few Largemouth there), Pike, Carp and Catfish all reside in the Ganaraska, making it a great shore-fishing destination.

Being so close to an urban setting (it runs directly through downtown Port Hope), anglers have the choice of putting in a hardcore day, or they can stop for a leisurely lunch at a local restaurant before commencing the afternoon/evening fish.

Here’s a featured Hotspot.

There are both public and private waters to the north on the Ganaraska. Obviously, you need to obtain permission from landowners for the private sections that you may be shore fishing from.

Bring roe (spawn) bags, garden worms, small pink plastic worms, and an assortment of flies for Trout and Salmon. Bring the rest of the kitchen sink for all other species.

Some people even fish the most southerly section of the Ganny during the dead of the winter. Ice fishing for Steelhead—fantastic!

Here is the latest episode we shot on the Ganaraska River.


This is by far our most scenic shore fishing spot on this list. This is a stunning part of Ontario that has drawn tourists for years.

Everyone is familiar with Niagara Falls. However, just downriver is a fishing phenomenon. With its swirling current, clean water, and bruiser fish, the Whirlpool is a sight to behold. There are Northern Pike, Muskie, Carp, Lake Trout, Rainbow Trout, Brown Trout, and even exotic species like Buffalo and Long Nose Gar.

A word of caution, though: Access to this great shore fishing spot is done via a long set of stairs. Not so bad going down. But coming up…? Don’t say we didn’t warn you.

If by chance you are going Carp fishing down here, it is wise to lighten up your gear load (do not bring your big rod pod setup unless absolutely necessary) and bring an inexpensive bank sticks (alarm is optional). If they drop, no major harm is done.

Check out this Fish’n Canada episode, a portion of which we shot fishing the Niagara Whirlpool.

Want to hire a fishing guide that knows the Niagara better than most? Look no further than here.


Rice Lake is in south-central Ontario. It is known for its many species of catchable fish. There are Walleye, Muskie, Smallmouth and Largemouth Bass, Crappie, Sunfish, and Rock Bass. Also, the Carp fishing on Rice Lake is second to none, especially for numbers. We shot a unique Carp episode on Rice in which Pete fished from shore while Ang fished out of a boat. Click here to find out who did the best.

The town of Bewdley on the west end of the lake has great shore fishing access, all near a plethora of stores and shops.

Gores Landing is also a nice spot to set up for a day of fishing.

Although limited in access, the town of Hastings also has some great shore fishing.

Whether from shore or from a boat, Rice Lake is a phenomenal body of water for a multitude of fish species.

If you like the idea of fishing from shore but want to stay away from the public, then there are many resorts along Rice Lake. We highly recommend Elmhirst Resort for its prime shoreline access, great fishing, and all-around phenomenal accommodations.

This for us was a great area to bring everything we owned in Carp gear. Since you can drive right up to your fishing area, why not bring the big rod pod setup?

Pete Bowman

Pete, one of the most revered and popular anglers in the nation, has a tremendous love for the game… the fishing game. Pete’s vast knowledge of angling and ability to articulate it to audiences worldwide has endeared him to his fans who still see Pete as just “ONE OF THE BOYS”. Pete is also an accomplished and published outdoor writer and photographer as well as a sought-after speaker. In 2012 another of Pete’s ultimate fishing career highlights occurred when he was inducted into the Canadian Angler Hall Of Fame, something he never thought would happen. A Canadian fishing icon.

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