This sport began as a way of catching food, and though it has become a sport, and it's one where you eat what you win (except for "catch & release" fishing)! The concept behind fishing is that you attach either bait or a lure to a line attached to a fishing rod, and the fish will eventually (hopefully) think its food, swallow the bait, get hooked, and you get to reel the fish in. Fishing is a relaxing sport (and requires or teaches patience), helps you to unwind, and you can enjoy your natural surroundings--at least until a fish bites.
Fishing can be done from shore, from a pier, or from a boat. The choice will depend on where you are and what kind of fish you are seeking. Once you have picked a sport, you need to select your tackle, either using bait on a hook or a lure. After attaching it to your line, you need to place the bait where you think the fish are. This is called casting, and is done by extending the line a bit and flicking the rod behind you and then forward to use inertia to get the tackle far out into the water. You then reel in the tackle, trying to mimic the movements of the animal your bait is trying to mimic.
Another popular variant on fishing is ice fishing, where you fish through a hole in the ice (often protected by a heated hut or a tent). This usually uses a shorter rod, and is popular in many parts of the country where longer winters create thick ice giving access to deepwater fishing spots to all.
It is considered sportsmanlike practice to keep only those fish you plan to eat. Return the rest for others to catch. Please respect the environment, by not littering, and by not being overly noisy. You should also make sure you comply with provincial regulations regarding fishing seasons, required permits (more on this later)
In order to go fishing you need a rod & reel and some basic tackle. There are several kinds of rod & reel for either spincasting (best for beginners) or for fly fishing. You can buy these separately, or in combination. You need to select your line to suit your fish and your rod & reel, though today monofilament made of a single strand of plastic is most prevalent. The "terminal tackle" at the fish catching end of the line may include any of a number of elements: the hook for bait or a lure, a snap swivel (particularly when using spinning lures), a sinker (to hold the hook down), a bobber (to keep it up, say above weeds). You will also need a tackle box, needlenose pliers, nail clippers, a bucket, a net (for landing the caught fish), and optionally a camera.
The choice of bait or lures depends on what you're fishing for, the time of year, your fishing philosophy, and sometimes local rules. Typical live bait includes earthworms, minnows and assorted garden "crawlers." Lures tend to be more expensive, but present several advantages: they are durable, you can pre-pack a variety to suit any fishing excursion and they are heavier making it easier to cast in windy conditions. Some of the accessories to help make your fishing trip safer and more fun include: hats (for shade), sunscreen, insect repellent, life jackets (absolutely when fishing from a boat, but also for kids along the shore), a first aid kit, and waterproof boots or waders.
Ontario Fishing Rules
You do not need a Resident Fishing License if you are under 18 or over 65 years of age, or a disabled person who is an Ontario resident. Residents require an Outdoors Card with a Fishing Sticker attached to be valid.
Non residents under the age of 18 may fish without a licence as long as they are accompanied by a licensed adult. Non residents do not require an Outdoors Card.
$10.00 one day, $15 seasonal, $7.50 Conservation Catch.
$55 annual, $80.00 Spousal License (2 people), $35.00 7-day, $21.00 7-day Conservation Catch.
Licences for fishing in our National Parks can be purchased at park information centres, administration, campgrounds, wardens offices and some fishing shops. The cost is $13 per year, or $6 for a seven day permit for all persons.
Fishing in Ontario
At the mouth of the Niagara River, where it meets Lake Ontario, lies the Niagara Bar which provides ideal habitat for some of the best trout fishing in the owrld. In the summer, Smallmouth bass and brown bass are popular with fishermen. In September and October, thousands of King Salmon come up the Niagara River for their annual spawning runs. At the end of October the Steelhead, Brown and Lake Trout arrive to feed on salmon eggs and bait fish. The Brown Trout and Lake Trout spawn in November & December and some remain throughout the river all winter long.
You can get Ontario Licenses by calling 1-800-667-1940 or at Canadian Tire at Montrose and Thorold Stone Rd Niagara Falls, Ontario. 1-905-354-3848 or at Canadian Tire on 6840 Mcloud Rd, St. Catharines, Ontario.
Fishing in New York
Surrounded by the waters of the Niagara River, Lake Ontario and the Erie Canal, Niagara County sports year-round opportunities including Salmon, trout, bass, walleye, muskellunge. Shore fishing is excellent in the Niagara gorge, including at the New York Power Authority fishing platform, along Artpark in Lewiston, at Burt Dam, and the lower portion of 18 Mile Creek in Newfane. You can obtain professional charters on the Niagara River, or out of the ports of Youngstown, Wilson and Olcott for the lake.
Lake Erie's eastern basin is shallow and ideal for Smallmouth Bass, Salmon, Steelhead, Walleye, Lake & Brown Trout.
You can get a N.Y. Fishing License at any Walmart (Lockport,& Niagara Falls, NY), at Howard Johnson Inn (At the Falls) 454 Main St. (716) 285-5261, Down River Bait & Tackle 820 Seneca St Lewiston, N.Y. (716) 754-4272 or A-1 Bait & Tackle on N. Water St Lewiston, N.Y. (716) 754-1895 Both open at 6am or (if coming from Buffalo area) at Gander Mountain 880 Young St Tonawanda, N.Y. (716-743-2300 (open at 5:30am).