By Brian Roulston

Ahhh…Summer has finally arrived in Southern Ontario. The kids are out of school. That means it’s time to hang the “Gone Fishing” sign. It’s Fishing Week all across Ontario from July 1st thru July 9th. The Ontario government designates this period to allow Canadian residences 18 to 64 years of age to LEGALLY fish without a fishing licence. All other rules such as limits still apply however. In Ontario, children below the age of 18 can fish without a licence and take home a full limit of fish if they wish.

Fishing doesn’t have to be expensive, a trip to Canadian Tire can get you a cheap starter combo for the kids a fishing rod, reel, line and lures for around $30 to $50. Don’t forget the live bait!!

Why go fishing? Well…. there are many reasons to go fishing and besides its fun too!! Being active outside connecting with nature helps you feel better both mentally and physically. You can forget the pressures of daily life. It’s all about the challenge of outwitting an elusive perch, trout, pike or bass. You will learn lots patience as well as mastering the art of attracting fish into striking your bait or lure. Fishing can also help you burn unwanted calories while walking or hiking to your fishing spot.

Depending on the weather or the time of day fish move around the lakes and streams in groups called schools in search of food. Ask your fishing buddies, contact the local Conservation Authority or even drop into a local bait and tackle shop. They always know the scoop on what’s biting, where and when in the area. Small lakes or ponds that have public access and are probably your best bet to start with. When you get there, walk along the shore. Look for places where the fish might hide or find food. This could include little rock piles, drowned trees, the edges of weed beds, places where the shallow water drops off into deeper water or around docks and piers. Start small, then move to the streams or creeks, then a small lake. Maybe eventually rent a boat to see if you like that. There’s nothing like drifting or being anchored and hearing the water slap against the boat while waiting for that big one to come along and snag your line. Again, there are boating licenses and regulations and you must have the proper licenses and permits before you can rent or buy a boat.

If you don’t catch anything, don’t take it too seriously. There are many reasons the fish aren’t biting that day but at least you got out of the house and enjoyed the time with your family. Just remember, if you can’t or don’t know how to clean(fillet) the fish or intend to eat them…. please… please…put them back in the water.

Check out for more information on fishing week.