Welcome to The Best Lack All Conviction Blog
This blog is not about anything other than the things I want to write about.
For a long time this blog tried to be about darts and may yet again talk about darts
but for now it is about whatever suits my fancy.
If that entertains, engages or inspires you, then I guess we are in good company.
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Fishing Toronto by Public Transit
There are a lot of resources available to point out the fishing opportunities that Toronto provides, and I think it is safe to say that most are more authoritative than what I am I about to provide.
What I can offer though is some personal perspectives and observations.
After a break from fishing of about thirty years, this past summer I got my wife a rod and reel for her birthday, and with Covid holding sway over the city, we were able to make fairly frequent trips out.
It was a tough time, but I think it was a tough summer for everyone who fished in Toronto.
Still, even when the results weren't what we wanted, it was still good to be out.
One of the easier spots to get to from where I live. I also just happened to go there on maybe the hottest day of the year. To make it worse there were just too many people around, like a crazy amount of people. Hindsight being twenty/twenty I think I would like to return in the earlier spring or later fall, where there won't be such massive crowds or oppressive heat.
A few years back I developed transverse myelitis, which left me partially paralyzed and walking with a cane. This can make getting around a bit more arduous and occasionally impossible.
The heat combined with not really knowing where I was going (everything looked different from what I thought it was from Google maps) meant that I didn't have a chance to really explore a lot of spots.
I certainly never made it as far as the lake itself.
I think I need to give Ashbridges a second look.
The East Don river at Charles Sauriol park is the only site on this list that I could just walk to (or in my case hobble) and it is in my opinion about the prettiest. As for the fishing, other than the salmon and sucker runs is limited to mostly creek chub. If you happy catching creek chub, however, then you will be happy as they are in relative abundance and not too tricky to catch.
We did make a couple trips out for salmon but large families with dogs and kids running about 'salmon watching' made things tricky. The wife had one on for a few seconds, but that was the extent of it.
I do wonder if the Don holds anything else catchable. A bowfin or two maybe? The Don is a difficult environment, but sometimes you just gotta dream big.
I consider myself a bit of a genius for avoiding this spot all summer long and not going until temperatures and crowds cooled off a little bit.
We tried both on and off of the little fishing/observation platform. Things looked good and promising, and having reviewed data from the TRCA (Toronto Region Conservation Authority), I knew that there were fish to be caught. Maybe more pan fish than anything else, but we had humble aspirations.
We went on two occasions and got utterly skunked each time.
Our only consolation was that we got to break in our new thermos. There is something about thermos coffee that is extra special.
Will we return? I think likely, but maybe next time we'll bring some corn and focus on the carp.
Highland Creek Mouth
This site was maybe one of the trickier ones to get to considering my mobility issues, but also one that gave me some high hopes as it seemed a natural spot to attract fish.
I think shore fishing lake Ontario is just naturally challenging, with wind and waves playing havoc with the idyllic fishing I had in mind.
I also had a wet (and slightly scary) reminder that the lake has tides, and that the route you took to your spot might not be there during high tide.
I do think the spot has potential though and we weren't completely skunked, pulling a couple of brown bullheads from the actual creek itself. I wonder why highland creek has them but not the Don? Maybe it's the tendency of the Don to flood?
Leslie Spit Fishing Node
This spot was suggested to me by the TRCA and it did seem to have a lot going for it.
Getting there is easy enough, although there is a fair amount of walking and cyclist dodging to get there.
Once there you are just as likely to encounter a non-fishing person as you are a fishing person. At no point, though were we unable to fish.
My excitement about the place, however, was dashed against the rocks. The big giant stones that were used to create this 'node'.
With these monstrous blocks you need a hundred meter cast just to hit water.
The highlight was the dubious distinction of catching my first round goby.
I might go back, but its low on my list.
If I lived closer to downtown, Ontario place might be a no brainer. As it is, we only made the one trip and so had to make a little guesswork to find where to fish in the areas on Ontario place where fishing is allowed.
I am fairly confident that we were in an OK, but maybe not the greatest spot.
I did see something of a decent size jump, but actual catch was limited to round goby.
We will return and possibly explore a few different spots, but maybe not before we try the Islands again.
Port Union Waterfront
This was another spot recommended by the TRCA, who sited it as having a 'sizeable smallmouth population'.
The conditions here are almost exactly similar at least as the lake is concerned as Highland Creek mouth, as it is essentially the same stretch of lake.
This area is a newer bit of Toronto park land, it is it actually quite nice.
Fishing was a bit tricky though as access to the lake seems limited to small shallow little bays filled with swimmers and families enjoying a day out. I am pretty convinced though that if I could somehow get a small boat out there I could catch fish.
Seeing as they wont let me take a canoe on public transit, I might have to retire this site.
As for fishing highlights, later in the day we did see a few carp move in.
Rouge River Marsh
With the possible exception of the Don river, the Rouge marsh is the one place I have fished most in my lifetime.
When I was there thirty years ago, people were saying it was 'fished out' and when I was there this summer people were saying the same thing.
I had slightly avoided going to the Rouge, because I was worried about crowds, but while there were quite a few people fishing, we did manage to find a spot each time we went, usually just to one side of the railway bridge.
While we caught nothing noteworthy, we at least managed the most variety and abundance, with perch, bullheads and sunfish among our haul.
It would have been nice to catch a pike, but maybe better to try in the spring?
I might also try for carp but not sure how to avoid catching bullheads while I'm trying to catch carp.
I am almost tempted to leave this one out, as I don't think we were able to give the islands a fair hearing.
We intended to fish the channel at Hanlon's point, but with Covid holding sway over the city, just about anyone with a boat was on theirs and taking up every inch of the mooring wall. We also did try the trout pond for a bit where we were driven out by lack of space and bugs. We then did try Ward's island for a bit to see what the Eastern channel might hold, but didn't last there very long.
It was also a hot day.
It is a bit of a long trek on transit for us, but I think we will certainly give the island another go.
As for highlights? Just a cheeky bluegill that had the audacity to stare at us.
Great Tilapia fishing until they kick you out. They didn't even seem to care I had a fishing licence.
With my luck, I cast my line in the shark tank and catch a round goby
First and foremost, I must say I never imagined that I would return to fishing, but I have no regrets that I have. In fact I am really wishing spring would hurry up.
As for not having any exciting results, I am just getting back and relearning a lot that I haven't needed to know for a long time. As much as the heat and other conditions made it a tough summer for fishing I think that I also could have used a little more patience or even a little more fishing zen.
I do have things I am looking forward to, such as spring pike and white suckers. Maybe even a bit of a focused effort to go after a carp or two.
Sometimes its just nice to be out.
So I just turned fifty, but can't say I feel too excited about the fact. Now, having a New Years birthday I have often done not much of anything, but had thought maybe just maybe, some sort of thing, or gathering, or get together might happen.
Of course, with Covid there is fat chance of that happening, just as we still haven't been able to do a memorial gathering for my mom, who passed away in September.
So, I do try to keep busy, playing board games with the wife, playing online darts (and playing terribly I might add) but really I am afflicted with the covid/winter doldrums.
To make it worse I have suddenly become acutely aware of how long it is until the Spring fishing season.
You see, this past summer I introduced my wife to the sport by getting her a rod and reel set for her birthday. I myself, returning to fishing after a 30 year (give or take a day) hiatus.
It was a tough summer for fishing with all the heat, but most weeks we would get at least one day of fishing in, somewhere in the Toronto area.
Well, now it is the dead of winter and my next fishing outing may as well be a thousand years away.
Oh, I know that there is ice fishing, but I don't have the gear, I don't have the cash and I don't have the wheels. Plus, i went when I was a kid and can't say it measured up to normal fishing) Besides, I dont think public transport can take me anywhere it happens, so nope gotta wait for spring.
Well, except that when I look at some of the fishing groups on Facebook like Toronto Urban Fishing Ambassadors I am still seeing people posting pictures of the fish they are catching (and releasing) right in the dead of winter. Not from a hut, but just fishing. Out in the cold.
What? Are these people insane?
Yet, there they are, some with really nice looking pike caught right in downtown Toronto, complete with the CN Tower in the background to remove all doubt of their location. A few others have posted pictures of steelhead and so on.
So thankfully, I am not also crazy.
It's not that I am not tempted, but lets be realistic, anywhere to fish is a minimum 55 minute transit ride, and so I travel and hour, fish for thirty minutes, get too cold, and then travel an hour back home.
That, or add five minutes to my fishing time and add my early demise through hypothermia to the mix.
Still, if I was crazy I might just roll an idea around in my head, of waiting for either the courage or a slightly warmer day (or both) to maybe head down, let's say to Ashbridges bay, which in Summer can get a bit over-run and try my luck with the pike (or carp? Hey, I'm no snob)
Heck, it would get me out of the house, and I could still socially distance.
The only question is would I get pike bites or frostbite?