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Top 7 Fishing Spots in South Georgian Bay

  1. Meaford Harbour: Cast your line into the clear waters of Georgian Bay
  2. Bighead River: The river flows through Meaford and is accessible at Legion Park or the Trout Hollow Trail
  3. Mad River: The river runs through Glen Huron and Creemore
  4. The Noisy River: This river branches off of Mad River near Creemore
  5. Pretty River: The river runs from Collingwood into Nottawasaga and Osprey
  6. Beaver RiverThis is a popular spot for fishing in Thornbury
  7. Collingwood Harbour: Cast your line along the boardwalk into the waters of Georgian Bay

Local Secrets with Kevin Johnston, Owner of Collingwood Adventure Voyages

What makes fishing in South Georgian Bay different from other parts of Ontario? What makes it special?

Fishing here is special because we enjoy a variety of fishing landscapes. From rivers and streams to Georgian Bay, no matter which type of freshwater angler you are, there is a picture-perfect place to go. Our proximity to such great amenities like our local restaurants and brewpubs truly reflect on fishing as a cumulative experience that few areas can match.

What is the best time of year to come fishing?

Honestly, the best time of year for fishing is based on your favourite type of fishing and species. We enjoy a healthy season throughout the year. In the spring the river banks are spotted with float and fly anglers trying their luck with Trout. In the summer the deep waters of Georgian Bay are full of boat downrigging for Salmon, while in the shallower waters Smallmouth Bass and Northern Pike are sought by small boats and kayak anglers alike. I personally do enjoy fall fishing as the air is a little crisper, and Salmon are running and feeding hard for their journey upstream. You can catch them in a boat or onshore with the leaves of the Escarpment turning golden and red. Once winter hits and the water firms up we get our huts out and guide anglers across the ice of our local area. It’s a true year-round fishing destination.

What type of fish can I catch in South Georgian Bay?

Southern Georgian Bay enjoys the fortune of being able to catch nearly every species available in Ontario somewhere and at some point in the year. There are some species that, yes there would be better areas in Ontario to try – but it’s not to say they aren’t here. We enjoy a healthy season of “green” fish – Smallmouth bass, northern pike, for example, but pickerel and muskie are harder to find. We are more known for “Silver” fish, those being – Salmon, Rainbow Trout, Lake Trout, Brown Trout. Work hard enough and put in the hours on the water and any species is possible!

What equipment does someone need to purchase if they want to get into fishing?

Getting into a fishing tackle is easy…it’s learning where to stop is the hard part! You’ll start with one fishing rod and a couple of lures, to needing a separate room to hold it all in no time – and that’s ok, it’s a part of the lifestyle. That being said, to start I always recommend that people set a budget and try their best not to buy junk right off the bat. You want to enjoy your experience, it would be like a writer who finally decided to write that book and was frustrated the second sentence in with a 5 cent pen. Now, this doesn’t mean you need to spend a lot but be cautious about quality. After all you may have your first rod/reel for the rest of your life. Any of our local tackle stores are well prepared and more than happy to assist anyone wanting to get into fishing.

Do you need to have the experience to go on a fishing charter? Do you need a licence?

With our fishing charters and most others – no experience is required. We are there to help you no matter if you’re a seasoned pro or a keen beginner – that’s what we do. On our charter boat you are introduced to the equipment, how it works and then given the opportunity to try it for yourself. Most importantly we are there to answer your questions, guide you through the experience and help you make it uniquely your own. It’s a team effort and ultimately we are all there to share our love for fishing. Taking out a group of “never-evers” is the most satisfying for me because I feel like I can help them establish a good feeling around something they’ve had an interest in, or wanted to try in a fun, safe and supportive environment. No judgement – just fun. Licensing is required by law and those details you can find on the Government of Ontario website or by visiting a local tackle shop.

What are people most surprised to learn on your fishing charter?

I think what people are most surprised to learn is how much strategy is involved with the way we fish. Fishing techniques change daily based on time of year, depth of water, area, speed, lure presentation and so much more – it’s a mystical algorithm that can only be interpreted by experience. One day you’re hot and can’t lose and the next you’re coming into the harbour with your tail between your legs – it happens to everyone. Great Lake fishing is truly an adaptive game and feels a lot more like hunting than fishing at times – but that’s why it’s so rewarding when everything comes together and that fish is in the net on the deck.

Kevin Johnston is the Owner and Head Guide for Collingwood Adventure Voyages and has been an angler as long as he can remember – he started by fishing with his grandfather off the dock in his youth. He now operates a charter boat departing from Collingwood Harbour throughout May to October. Now in its 9th season, Collingwood Adventure Voyages offers fishing charters, lighthouse tours, sunset cruises and shipwreck snorkeling tours all with Kevin at the helm of their flagship vessel “Solid Steel”.

Local Practices

In order to respect our beautiful natural environment and species, we ask that you please follow local fishing practices. For more information, please visit the links below:

We hope you have a fun and safe time exploring South Georgian Bay! Share your memories with us by tagging @SGeorgianBay on InstagramFacebook, and Twitter!

Planning to visit South Georgian Bay in the near future? Please contact individual businesses to confirm method and hours of operation and plan ahead by making reservations when possible. Visit our “Know Before You Go” page by clicking here.

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