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Here are 21 top Ontario fishing destinations that have big fish just waiting to be caught

And, what better way to reel in some quality time with mom than by taking advantage of Ontario's free fishing weekend on Mother's Day?

To kick off the spring fishing season, families, fishing enthusiasts and first-time anglers across Ontario can celebrate Mother’s Day with free fishing this weekend.

Luckily, Ontario is a world-renowned destination for fishing enthusiasts. Its vast wilderness, clean lakes, and numerous rivers offer some of the best freshwater fishing opportunities in the world. 

To help you take advantage of free fishing this Mother’s Day and increase your chances of landing the big one, we’ve listed the top fishing destinations in the province according to Destination Ontario:

Algonquin Provincial Park

A canoe-tripper's paradise, Algonquin offers some of the most beautiful trout fishing in a classic Canadian setting.

Bay of Quinte

This large bay on Lake Ontario's north shore may be the best place on the planet to catch a world-class walleye.

Grand River

Winding its way from Grey County to Lake Erie, the Grand is three rivers in one and offers excellent fishing for brown trout, catfish, pike, and migratory steelhead rainbow trout.

Kawartha Lakes

The four major lakes linked by the Trent-Severn Waterway in the Kawartha region offer excellent fishing for both warm- and cold-water fish, including largemouth and smallmouth bass, walleye, crappies, northern pike, and big muskies.

Lac Seul

This remote area northwest of Sioux Lookout is home to huge numbers of walleye, smallmouth bass, yellow perch, northern pike, and big muskies.

Lake Erie

Erie has a huge and plentiful smallmouth bass population, largemouth bass, fast-growing walleye, and big rainbow trout.

Lake Huron and Georgian Bay

Lake Huron offers classic big-water fishing for powerful lake trout and leaping salmon, while Georgian Bay boasts fine fishing around its thousands of rocky islands, including trophy-sized northern pike and smallmouth bass.

Lake Nipigon

Known for world-class lake trout fishing, Lake Nipigon also offers excellent early-season northern pike fishing, and legendary brook trout fishing.

Lake Nipissing

The largest lake in Northeastern Ontario, famous for walleye fishing, but also has remarkable numbers of big bass and northern pike.

Lake of the Woods

An enormous and complex lake that offers trophy fishing for lake trout, northern pike, muskies, walleye, smallmouth, and largemouth bass, and whitefish all year round.

Lake Simcoe

Just an hour north of Toronto, with accessible and good fishing all year round. Fattened by a diet of round gobies, the smallmouth bass are big, and getting bigger every year, and in winter it becomes one of Canada’s most popular ice-fishing destinations.

Lake St. Clair and Detroit River

Known for massive muskies, bass, and millions of walleye.

Lake St. Joseph

A remote destination located 500 km north of Thunder Bay, which offers incredible fishing for hungry walleye, smallmouth bass, and northern pike.

Lake Superior

The inland sea offers great fishing for lake trout and salmon near Thunder Bay, Nipigon, and Batchawana Bay.

Lake Temagami

A large lake in Northeastern Ontario that is excellent for trolling and jigging for big lake trout and other species such as walleye, smallmouth bass, northern pike, and whitefish.

Missinaibi Lake

The only land access to Missinaibi is an 80-kilometre-long logging road winding north from the town of Chapeau. The lake is narrow, deep and over 40 kilometres long, with a shoreline almost entirely free of development, and offers excellent fishing for lake trout, walleye, northern pike, and smallmouth bass.

Ottawa River

The broad, slow, lower stretches offer excellent fishing for species such as walleye, smallmouth bass, northern pike, and muskie. It’s a great destination to explore for those looking for fishing adventures and city attractions.

Quetico Provincial Park

With 2,000 lakes and limited motorboat access, Quetico offers unparalleled fishing opportunities for lake trout, northern pike, walleye and smallmouth bass. Outfitters are available to rent camping gear and canoes for a true backcountry adventure.

Rainy Lake

This four-season hotspot boasts a diverse fish population including protected walleye, black crappies, smallmouth bass and muskies. With a variety of services available to visiting anglers, Rainy Lake is an excellent choice for a fishing getaway.

Spanish River and The Whalesback Channel

Northern Ontario's popular walleye destination is easily accessible via the scenic Whalesback Channel. Small boaters can safely fish for walleye, smallmouth bass and northern pike along the highway.

St. Marys River

Known for its unique and diverse fishery, St. Marys River offers elite gamefish like Atlantic salmon, rainbow trout, lake trout, walleye, chinook, coho and pink salmon. Fly fishing enthusiasts will appreciate the variety of species that can be targeted in the shadow of the International Bridge.

If you are fishing for free on the Mother’s Day weekend, all conservation licence catch limits, size limits, sanctuaries and all other fishing regulations and rules still apply. Happy fishing! 

The creation of this content was supplemented by Artificial Intelligence. All AI-assisted or generated content undergoes thorough human review and validation prior to publication.