Large Mouth Bass Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters...

Alternate Species

by Ontario Federation of Anglers & Hunters (c) 2001

Every angler knows of the fine eating qualities of a walleye, the ferocious fighting abilities of a smallmouth bass, the brute force of a musky or the beauty and mystique of a brook trout.  However, we pass up some great fishing opportunities by overlooking some of the nontraditional fish Ontario waters have to offer.

On top of the nontraditional list may be carp.  Most Ontario anglers consider carp Acoarse@ fish and would not consider angling for them.  However, there are a growing number of people coming from the United Kingdom in Europe to fish Ontario's legendary carp waters.

Carp can grow to an enormous size; they fight hard, and they can be readily caught using the right bait and techniques.   Many waters in Southern Ontario have an excess of 25-pound plus fish, right in the shadows of the skyscrapers.  Large carp can be caught with worms, bread dough, or even corn.   A number of scent formulas are also available to increase your chances.  Once you catch a large carp, you'll be hooked.

Farther north, Burbot (ling) are also a fish that is often overlooked by many anglers.  They are often caught through the ice, and released as quickly as possible.  Granted, they are not the most beautiful fish in the world, but they fight reasonably hard, and they are great eating.  As a matter of fact, they are the only freshwater members of the cod family.

Freshwater drum (sheepshead) is another fish that is often overlooked.  These fish are often caught while angling for walleye. They are good fighters, and can grow very large, often over 25 pounds. Sheepshead are found in large lakes scattered throughout Ontario, from Lake Erie in the south to Lake Abitibi in the north.  The spots for sheepshead are Lake Erie and the Bay of Quinte.

There are many other great, "untapped" species out there, including longnose gar, bowfin, brown bullheads (a small member of the catfish family that is delicious eating) to name a few.  So set your biases aside and try some of the great fishing opportunities these species can provide.  Who knows, you may never go walleye fishing again.

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