Feeling the Pinch with Gas Prices? Don't Let It Stop You

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Ontario High Gas Prices











It seems that on a daily basis lately we’re inundated with doom and gloom forecasts from those in the financial sectors across Canada and the United States. More and more discouraging financial news continues to spiral the price of gasoline, food and general living necessities to record prices. Many say that speculators are inadvertently increasing prices from just that. Speculating. Well, I’m speculating that there will be more fish on the end of my line in the near future.

Yes, of course everyone is feeling a little lighter in the pocket book but that shouldn’t stop anyone from taking some quality time out to enjoy the great lakes and rivers that the province of Ontario has to offer.  Just the other day I read in a local Toronto paper that angling in the province of Ontario has declined in the last 24 months. While for some it may be negative news but for me and many anglers it means more fish for us and less populated lakes and river.

As a steady reader of local Toronto newspapers I understand that the price of gas has really left consumers with little left at the end of the day once all of the bills are paid and I can attest to the fact that one may have to find cutbacks in other areas to keep that disposable income handy for more important things such as fishing. Many who enjoy large cabin cruisers and high powered fishing boats are electing to either park them at the dock or take fewer and closer trips to home because of the soaring fuel prices. Try finding a 14 foot boat with a 9.9 on any popular online classified website and you’ll see that they are being scooped up in a flash. For those seeking larger more powerful boats it is definitely a buyers’ market and in time if we’re lucky and the governments get their act together prices for gas and other essentials should start a downward trend. With the cost of personal boat ownership on the rise it is much more economical for many to rent boats from resorts and lodges on a daily or weekly basis and makes perfect business sense for those who like to hit the water once or twice a month.

But don’t fret. Many anglers who reside in Southern Ontario have an abundance of locations to choose from that won’t leave a permanent scar in their wallet. Let’s just look at a few places I like to frequent which are easy to get to, hold good amounts of fish and are less than a 1.5 hour drive from the Greater Toronto Area (GTA).

Lake Simcoe continues to be one of my favorites. Less than a 45 minute drive up Highway #400 on the western side or #12 on the eastern side Cooks Bay still produces monster pike, smallmouth bass and walleye.  Its location offers anglers many great shore fishing opportunities as well as daily boat rentals from many marinas in the area such as Gilford and Keswick.

Southern Ontario Northern Pike















East of Toronto resides another little hotspot known for many years by local anglers as a great lake for Panfish, Walleye, Muskie and Bass. Rice Lake offers many different lodges and resorts such as Anglers’ Retreat that offers daily and weekly 14 foot boat rentals. A one and a half hour drive from Toronto is all it takes to enjoy a great day out on the water with your family or friends. Taking the 401 to Hwy #28 north will have you there in no time and I find that an early afternoon departure from the city and later return around 8-9 pm will give you a great 5-6 hours on the water without the headaches of rush hour traffic.

To the west of the GTA outside of the town of Fergus lies the Belwood Lake Conservation Area .  Developed in 1942 as part of the Shand Dam it was primarily built as a reservoir for water control purposes. Today it is also used for power generation for many of the cities and towns across the province. 12km in length it has a great picnic and play area for the kids and also a trout/bass pond for the little ones to try their luck. 14 foot aluminum boats with 9.9 engines are available for half day and full day rentals. Great fishing can be had on a year round basis for northern pike and smallmouth bass. The lake record for northern pike in Belwood is 44 inches and there are annual pike tournaments held every year! Wow, not bad for a lake so close to home. For those with their own boats there are excellent launching facilities. Try the first and second cove to the right of the boat launch for some pretty good northern pike. Mepps #5’s and Spinner baits have produced some pretty good sized northerns in the past with my personal best at 35 inches. Other good areas to try are just in front of the dam (fish deeper) and around the island for Smallies.
Downstream of the dam for approximately 1km the area is noted for excellent brown trout angling. Make sure to check local regulations before dropping a line anywhere in the province.

No Traffic Jams In Ontario










Now is also the best time to explore some of the more northern areas of the province. I like to use this time to my advantage and take at least one good trip to a northern location to experience some of the finest fishing and lodges in the north. Grab a few buddies and take one vehicle. Splitting the cost between 3-4 friends can get you up to some of these great locations and lets be honest, you always have a better time when you’re with friends anyways. For the personally the higher price of gas has meant LPOTR. Less People On The Road which in turn leaves a much more relaxing drive for all of us. I think that for many in the Southern Ontario areas the time and conditions couldn’t be better to hit the road for a memorable fishing trip.

So amid all of the doom and gloom if the so called experts are right there will be more fish for me at the end of the day and less congestion on our lakes and river systems throughout the province. Feeling the pinch? I am… I’m pinching myself…the fishing has never been better so close to home.


This article was written by the
contributing staff of OFT and its
group of amateur and pro Ontario anglers.

Copyright 2008. Ontario Fish Trips

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