Plan Your Fishing Success

If you're looking to fish a specific species or want to fish by lake—Ontario's new Fish ON-Line resource makes planning your next fishing adventure easy.

Planning your next Ontario fishing trip has never been easier thanks to an amazing free application, created by the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (OMNRF), called Fish ON-Line. And it is jam-packed with absolutely everything you need to know for your next fishing trip. So, what do you say, let’s take a run through it.

When you enter the site, you will see a map of Ontario and a column down the left-hand side with a number of headings. The first one is pretty obvious and allows you to buy your fishing license. The Create Stocking List, on the other hand, is super useful if you are planning to fish for stocked species like brook trout, brown trout, chinook salmon, or splake and want you can create a list of lakes. 


You can do it by OMNRF District, Fisheries Management Zone, or even within the radius of a specific address. So, if you’re staying at a hotel, motel, fishing resort, or your friend’s house, you can enter the address and a search radius of say, 25, 50, or 100 kilometres/miles and you will see every one of the 400,000 lakes in the province that matches your criteria. How cool is that?
But, trust me, we’re only getting started. Your stocking list will also show you how many fish have been planted each year over the past several years so you can gauge their relative size and number. Here is a partial list of the stocked brook trout lakes in Sault Ste. Marie District, for example.


Now, let’s close up the Create Stocking List folder and look immediately below it, where you will see a magnifying glass beside the heading Search By. This is the part of the tool that I find most useful because it lets you search by Waterbody Name, Fish Species, Stocked Waterbody, and even GPS Coordinates. And it lets you define your search area once again, by the distance from an address, Fisheries Management Zone, or MNRF District.  

So, let’s say that we’re heading to Parry Sound District and we’d like to fish for walleye. Here is what Fish-ON Line presents us with. Do you see all the red fish symbols on the map, as well as the list down the left-hand column? These are the lakes within Parry Sound District that have walleye in them. And if you click on either the map symbol or the lake name in the column it will take you to a new map of the lake with all of the fisheries information displayed. It is quite amazing.


Better still, if you click back to the map page, you can define, under Information, the specific parameters that you wish to highlight. Including fish sanctuaries, access points (boat launches), and even a contour map of the lake if it exists, so you can see the layout and identify potential fishing spots. You can even view the background as imagery or a topographic map.


That is what I’ve done here, so you can see what the tool tells you about Whitestone Lake — a pretty little walleye lake in Parry Sound District that I fished many years ago. In addition to learning about its basic size and depth, notice the active headings highlighted in blue at the bottom of the left-hand column. If you click on any one of them you will learn everything you need to know about the highlighted topic, including safe fish consumption advisories and species-specific zone regulation differences.  

But I’ve saved my favourite part of Fish-ON Line for last. Do you see the heading Broad-Scale Fisheries Management Bulletin? When you click on it you are presented with the results of the OMNRF’s survey data that tells you about the composition of the fish population in Whitestone Lake — everything from pumpkin seeds to brown bullheads — including the maximum, minimum, and average size of the walleye and smallmouth bass that were captured in the OMNRF’s nets. So you can pick and choose lakes to fish based on the population of a particular species, its trophy potential, or both. Fish-ON Line is a mighty impressive tool that will help you plan your next successful Ontario fishing trip.


About Gord Pyzer

Gord Pyzer is the fishing editor of Outdoor Canada magazine and field editor of In-Fisherman magazine. He is the co-host of the Real Fishing Radio Show and host of Fish Talk With The Doc.

Recommended Articles

Top 10 Ice Fishing Lakes

Every kind of fish and experience—Ontario ice fishing is some of the best in the world.

Predicting Lake Thickness

When Will Ontario Lakes Freeze Over This Winter?

5 Deadliest Fishing Lures

Use these lures when ice fishing for lake trout in Northern Ontario.

Ontario Brook Trout

Fish these 10 sweet spots.

Lake of the Woods

10 Facts You Didn't Know

World Class Walleye

Fishing Day Trips on the Bay of Quinte

3 Great Ontario Walleye Destinations

Karl of Extreme Angler recommends must do walleye lakes in Ontario.

Big Lake Abitibi

Ice Fishing With Dunn Right Outfitters

Fishing Caribou Lake

This Cold Water Lake is a Northern Pike Paradise

Top 5 Flies for Smallmouth Bass

The inside scoop on bass flies from the hosts of The New Fly Fisher.

Summer Fishing Patterns for Multi-Species

Bob Izumi discusses tips for different species and how to catch them when summer temperatures soar.

Top 5 Musky Destinations in Ontario

The Musky Hunter shows you where to land the best musky in Ontario waters.

The Eyes Have it

How to Use a Natural Resource as Bait

Eating Northern Pike

The Best Recipe to Cook This Fish

How Smallmouth Bass Came to Ontario

Ontario has Smallmouth Bass lakes from the far reaches of the north and south.

Five Brook Trout Flies

What flies to bring when fishing for brook trout.

Don't Forget The Umbrella

It's raining smallmouth bass, walleye, and northern pike here in Northern Ontario

The Legendary Brook Trout of the Albany

Experience a once in a lifetime remote fishing adventure.

The Ultimate Winter Perch Trap

Ice-fishing tips for landing yellow perch

Wild Brook Trout

Remote Outpost Fishing on Pinei Lake