Free Learn to Fish Program Expands to More Places Across Ontario

Free Learn to Fish Program Expands to More Places Across Ontario
A man fishes with a spinning rod and reel on a river bank. (Shutterstock/Sergii Sobolevskyi)
Chandra Philip

Ontario is expanding its free Learn to Fish program to new municipalities to help nearly 3,000 more people get started in the sport.

The program will add three training spots this summer, Lakefront Promenade and Lake Aquitaine in Mississauga, as well as Sibbald Point Provincial Park in Georgina, about 70 kilometres north of Toronto.

In addition, the Learn to Fish mobile unit will be heading out to 11 locations over the summer. The province said there will be 2,700 new openings added to the program, bringing the total number of participants to 12,000 in 20 different locations around Ontario. It is open to all ages and offers one hour of instruction and one hour of supervised fishing.

It’s something that the Minister of Natural Resources, Graydon Smith, said he was happy to see expand.

“Fishing is a wonderful activity and long-standing tradition in Ontario and I’m glad to be offering more opportunities–many of them in urban areas–for people to be able to take part in the Learn to Fish program,” Mr. Smith said in a June 13 news release.

“Expansion of this program creates more opportunities for people to get out and explore Ontario’s many lakes and rivers and maybe even find a new hobby.”

During the sessions, participants will learn how to rig, bait, and cast a fishing rod, find and catch local fish species, understand fishing regulations, find out how to get a fishing licence, and learn about fish safety and sustainability.

The program supplies everything that new anglers will need to get started including a rod, reel, and bait, a lifejacket, sunglasses, and a fishing licence.

Anyone interested in taking part has been encouraged to sign up online as only 30 spots are available per session.
Learn to Fish will run twice a day, five days a week, with the first session running from 10 a.m. to noon and a second from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
The program is sponsored by fishing tackle manufacturer Rapala, which provides the equipment.

Digital Sessions

Ontario also runs Learn to Fish sessions online, where participants can watch videos on the basics of fishing, review the Learn to Fish guide, and complete quizzes to test their knowledge.

The online Learn to Fish program is also open to all ages.

Videos cover all the same material as in-person Learn to Fish sessions, including different types of bait and lures, knot tying and casting, as well as how to recognize different fish species.