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Fishing in Port Hope

Running through the heart of town, the shallow waters of the Ganaraska River offer some of the best trout and salmon fishing in the province, with the river drawing anglers from great distances to fish the “Ganny.” 

In the spring, between late March and early May, you can witness the annual rainbow trout (steelhead) migration, as up to 8,000 make their way up the Ganaraska River to spawn. In the fall, between late August and early October, watch the chinook and silvery coho salmon migration, with some weighing up to 40 lbs! Mixed in with the fall run, you may also see migratory brown trout in their vibrant spawning colours.

Corbett’s Dam (known locally as the Port Hope fish ladder) is the best place to view the fish as they leap their way up the ladder to the spawning grounds in the north. To find the fish ladder, follow these GPS co-ordinates: 43o58’10.7”N78o17’44.5”W or exit Hwy 401 at exit 464. Proceed to Jocelyn Street, turn right and follow it until you meet the river.

Take a look at the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry Live Fish Cam HERE

This year’s salmon fishing season will see some areas traditionally available for anglers not accessible. The Port Hope Area Initiative is undertaking the historic clean-up of our community and as a result, access to the Centre Pier including the western parking area at the bottom of Queen Street and the Keith Richan footbridge will not be available. Access along the east side of the river including Mill Street is still available. Thank you for your understanding.

Zero Tolerance for illegal fishing: what you need to know

There is absolutely NO fishing whatsoever in the Fish Sanctuary: from Hwy 401 downstream to the south side of the Jocelyn Street bridge. 

Fishing is prohibited on the Ganaraska River between the hours of 8 p.m. and 6 a.m. from Aug. 15 to Sept. 30 from the Robertson Street Bridge to the Jocelyn Street Bridge.

Atlantic salmon is catch and release only.

Trout and salmon season begins the 4th Saturday in April and ends September 30th. Bass season opens the 3rd Saturday in June and ends December 15th. Illegal fishing is zero tolerance, so be sure to carry a current fishing license at all times.

Year-round Fishing:

Between the southerly limit of the CNR right-of-way and Lake Ontario you can fish year-round for: Rainbow Trout, Brown Trout, Pacific Salmon and Atlantic Salmon.

Extended Fall Season Fishing:

Between the south side of the CPR bridge and the southerly limit of the CNR right of way, there is an extended fall season (from the 4th Saturday in April to December 31st of each year) when you can fish for: Rainbow Trout, Brown Trout, Pacific Salmon and Atlantic Salmon.
However, always be sure to check the Ontario fishing regulations for locations and seasons before heading out.

General Fish limits:

  • Five trout and salmon combined, but only two can be rainbow trout and zero Atlantic salmon
  • Six largemouth and/or smallmouth bass
  • Six pike

NOTE: Conservation license has lower limits!

Port Hope’s fish cleaning station is open year round and is located along Mill Street South near the marina.

The Port Hope Conservation Area is a popular fishing location just north of the Hwy. 401 Bridge. Other good spots to try are Gages Creek at the east end of town or Sylvan Glen Conservation Area, north of town. The pond at the Garden Hill Conservation Area is a great place to spend the day fishing with the family.

Rice Lake is a short drive north of Port Hope. This long, shallow lake provides a variety of species including crappie, bass, perch, walleye and muskie. Tournaments are held regularly on the lake and shore fishing is available in Bewdley, just north of Port Hope.

Watch the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters video series on respectful fishing below (3 video series):

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