Located at the very end of Lawrence avenue in Scarborough, Rouge River has boasted some of the best fishing in the GTA. With many large marshes available off of the river there are many different species that are attracted to the ecosystem. The river at the mouth is attached to the beach which is where most anglers cast out. The marsh has accessible parking and has washrooms available. Also public transit is available and only requires a short walk to the marsh.
The water depth from the railway bridge to the mouth of the river can be up to 6 feet up deep. North of the bridge the water is a bit deeper which is why the river attracts some great sized pike. Many anglers use the walkway bridge to go to the other side where there are fewer anglers. At any given time during the day there can be many anglers to compete with along the shore line. Small canoes are often used as there are no motors allowed in the Rouge River.
Rouge River upstream also has some very good seasonal fishing as well. The river attracts brown trout, rainbow trout, Coho salmon and Chinook salmon. Fishing for these begin late fall before the ice freezes as the fish search for spawning areas up river. When the ice thaws in spring the different species make the journey back to Lake Ontario. Along the way, anglers can catch these different species at any point along the river. These seasonal fish can be caught at any time between the time the ice thaws and mid-May. By this time most of the fish have returned back to Lake Ontario.
Brook trout can also be caught in the Rouge River but it is extremely rare. Rouge River is the only river in Toronto where it has been recorded to be caught.
The water depth in the Rouge River marsh on the east side is two feet at a maximum. Very few fish are in this highly weedy lily pad section due to the lack of depth. It has access to another small river though, which has excellent bass fishing due to great depth which is optimal for fishing. Anglers who have access to small boats or canoes can take advantage of the additional bass fishing available. Early mornings are best for bass using crayfish or artificial frogs casting through the lily pads.
Carp are often found throughout the marsh near the middle at the bottom. Carp can be up to fifteen pounds near the mouth. Anglers how have access to boats have a lot more fishing success with carp as they are more populated just a hundred metres up stream. Before the sun begins to set they can often be found coming up to the surface briefly than descending back down again. Anglers have most success using sweet corn on a regular hook and leaving it along the bottom.
Creek chub is a common fish to be caught in Rouge River. The small fish are mostly seen before the sunset jumping out of the water. Creek chub are very small but can reach up to twelve inches in length. Use worms and very small hooks to catch a creek chub. Cast in shallow waters as they try to stay away from deep water to avoid being snatched up by a predator.
Rouge River marsh has great bass fishing. It is home to smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, white bass and rock bass. From the shore many anglers have most success casting towards the rocks underneath the railway bridge. Upstream for those who have access to boats have great bass fishing due to the shallow depth of the river. Crank baits and spinners have boasted most success up stream. Largemouth can be up to four pounds in the upstream area and provide excellent fishing while they are in season. Rouge River is one of the best bass fishing locations in Toronto.
Pike are mostly caught at the mouth of Rouge River as well as just north of the railway bridge. These are perfect spots for them as they try to catch small fish entering the river. Also, north of the bridge is a perfect location as it is a deeper part of the water. Cast out using spoons, minnow baits and crank baits for best results. Live minnows will also be effective as bait. Large pike can be caught at the Rouge River mouth with some exceeding twelve pounds or around two feet in length.
Sunfish population has been decreasing year after year because of overfishing of the river. When taking the fish off, be gentle with them and try to keep them out of the water for as short as possible. When trying to catch sunfish use small hooks and worms. Floats are also great to increase the exposure of the bait as it does not stay on the bottom. Fishing for sunfish at Rouge River provides good action during the spring, summer and fall.
Perch are located all across the marsh and can be caught in virtually any spot of the river. Perch can be caught using worms on small hooks. At Rouge River the perch are fairly small and only approach half a pound at the most. Perch fish are quite common and make for great action throughout the year.