Here are seven choice winter river fishing locations in the northeastern United States and Canada for the hardy river angler in all of us.
For most fishermen, winter is a time to pack up some of their gear and be happy to just read about the upcoming season. Ice fishing enthusiasts will happily venture out to drill holes and sit with friends around tip ups. Open water affords the purist a chance to wet a line as well.
These winter river destinations have the best of all worlds and offer opportunities to ply different trades and have success doing it.
1. Credit River, Mississauga, Ontario
The Credit River is widely known as one of the best fishing rivers in Ontario, Canada. Located in south central Ontario, this river winds its way through the city of Mississauga while flowing to Lake Ontario. There are several possible fishing locations along the river with Erindale Park being one of the most popular. Regulations may vary, but much of the water in the park stays open during the winter months offering anglers with the right gear a chance to float bait or throw lures in pursuit of a big Steelhead.
2. Humber River, Toronto, Ontario
The Humber is as well known as the Credit, though maybe not as popular. Downstream from Eglington Avenue to Lake Ontario, the season is open all year. Though freeze ups occur, open water can be found in areas such as Scarlet Mills and Lambton Parks. The Humber offers rainbow and brown trout fishing as well as Chinook salmon.
3. St. Lawrence River, New York
You probably don’t think of ice fishing when you see an ocean-going vessel motor by, but the St. Lawrence Seaway is beyond description when it comes to scenery. The winter awaits you and your friends in the 1000 islands area of northern New York. Species like northern pike and walleye can be targeted until March 15, but the spectacular panfish bite is available year round. There’s any number of access points. Contact the North Country Guide for more information.
4. Salmon River, New York
With 12 miles of public fishing rights, the Salmon River stretches 17 miles through Oswego County until it empties into Lake Ontario. It is one of the most famous rivers in the country and currently holds two major sport fishing records: the great lakes record Chinook at 47 pounds, 13 ounces, and the world record Coho at 33 pounds, 4 ounces. If you can stand to wade in 30 degree water or ride a drift boat down the rapids then the possibilities of catching a bruising winter steelhead or brown trout are limitless.
5. Oswego River, Oswego, New York
Located in central New York just north of Syracuse, the Oswego River is another example of a winter fishing hot spot. Shore anglers can access the river from Linear Park near the mouth of the river in the city. But the ideal way to fish the Oswego is by drift boat. An average 7 hour trip will run two people about 300$ A licensed veteran guide can skillfully keep you in the strike zone and increase your chances for a rod bending, arm bruising day on the water.
6. Oak Orchard River, Waterport, New York
From the dam that holds back Lake Alice to Lake Ontario, the “Oak” as it is known is one of the premier winter fishing destinations in the northeast. Fisherman from Pennsylvania and Ohio, to as far away as Maine make the annual pilgrimage to the Oak Orchard River. Steelhead and brown trout are present from October to May with some of the best fishing from February on. Fish of both species have been known to top 20 pounds. The fall salmon runs are legendary.
7. Niagara River, New York and Ontario
One of the most famous rivers in the United States and in the world, the mighty Niagara River is also the winter home of thousands of steelhead, brown and lake trout. Fishing access points are many, both by shore and by boat. It is highly recommended that winter fishing by boat in the Niagara be done by hiring a legitimate licensed guide. Shore fishermen need to be aware that they may have to do some serious walking in places on either side of the border and know this: water level fluctuations are very real due to hydroelectric generation by both NY and the province of Ontario.
There’s no reason to wait until spring to get out there and do some real fishing. With the right equipment, the chance to land a trophy is good even in the heart of the winter season.
Coming soon: the 10 things that you need to make one of these trips come true.