Every fisherman I've shared a boat or campfire with has one thing in common. As anglers, we love the feeling of detecting a bite and then pulling the line tight against a stubborn fish. It's amazing how an activity so simple can give pleasure to so many, but the statistics don't lie.
Recreational fishing is one of the most popular per capita pastimes in America and Canada. Fishing appeals to the young, the old and everyone in between. Fishing is not gender-specific and it appeals to every race, income and social status. Recreational fishing is the glue that bonds us in the common belief -- catching and eating fish with friends and family is a wholesome and fun experience.
BEING ON FISH
Everyone agrees that catching fish is fun. Unfortunately, the "fish Gods" do not always cooperate when it comes to the actual "catching" part of this equation. Fishermen are a funny lot when confronted with both their successes and failures on the water. When fishing is good most anglers are quick to give credit to whatever lure or bait they happen to be using. When fishing is not good the experience is summed up by saying the fish aren't biting.
My experience fishing has taught me that it's rarely the lure that makes the difference. Being "on fish" is what it takes to catch fish consistently.
Since the majority of the fish are found in a small percentage of the available water, it's surprisingly easy to not be "on fish" and that is the rub this article centers upon. Those anglers interested in actually catching fish would be well advised to pick bodies of water that have lots of fish in them, increasing the chances of being "on fish" more often than not.
This simple logic seems elementary, but ironically this is not how fishermen, in general, tend to pick fishing destinations. Instead, many anglers are more likely to fish familiar waters even if those fisheries are less likely to produce the desired results.
Because the time we have to dedicate to fishing is limited, it makes more sense to zero in on the best fisheries in order to maximize the "catching" part of any fishing trip. This is precisely why I find myself returning to Ontario year after year. My first trip to Algoma Country was more than 30 years ago and to this very day, many of my most memorable fishing trips have taken place inside these boundaries.
In college, I studied Fisheries Management and to this day I have an acute appreciation for forward-thinking resource management plans. Any way you slice it the fish we covet so much are a popular yet finite resource. When fishing harvest exceeds the resources' ability to sustain itself, fishing success suffers.
Conserving the Fishery
Ontario was one of the first regions in North America to identify the need to restrict fish harvest, especially among larger adult specimens that do the majority of the spawning. This is accomplished through various management tools including slot limits, eliminating possession limits, gear restrictions and establishing open and closed seasons on key species.
Anglers in general resist these special regulations, not realizing how vital they are to creating and preserving quality fishing destinations. I fished Ontario years ago when the limits were liberal and the fishing today is vastly better than it was in the "good ole days" of generous limits. Managing the resource so as to provide a "reasonable" harvest while protecting critical broodstock is the ultimate compromise that has created countless world-class fishing destinations across Ontario.
The majority of these fisheries are inland lakes and rivers that can be targeted using the small fishing boats and motors most anglers own. Mainstream fishing presentations like jigging, live bait rigging and trolling are the best ways to catch a wealth of species including smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, walleye, northern pike, lake trout and brook trout.
SUMMING IT UP
Algoma Country sits smack in the middle of world-class walleye, smallmouth, pike and trout fishing opportunities. These fisheries are collectively among the best in North America and accessing these destinations is as simple as contacting the staff at Algoma to zero in on some of the best fishing available anywhere.
It only takes one trip to hook (no pun intended) an angler for life. I'm living proof of the fact that fishing in Ontario is an experience that simply can't be duplicated anywhere else.