Gone Fishing: Explore the best Rideau Canal fishing spots

Pike, walleye, bass, crappie and more await your angling expedition on the Rideau Waterway!

Every day can mean a good catch when you cast your line into Canada’s iconic Rideau Waterway, where fish of all species abound, just waiting to be hooked. While finding the best local fishing spots can be a challenge when you’re in a new area, your next fishing adventure doesn’t have to be all work and no play, especially when you pair a luxury Canadian vacation experience with a fishing getaway.

When boating along the UNESCO World Heritage Site Rideau Canal and Waterway, one of the best vacation options comes from Le Boat. When renting one of Le Boat’s fully-equipped cruisers, you can combine a love of boating, fishing and travel with a luxury experience where you get to be your own Captain, and operate on your own schedule.

The Rideau Waterway’s pristine natural beauty and varied topography offers fantastic fishing opportunities in the small and large lakes that lie along the Rideau River, which is well-stocked with species that include largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, northern pike, lake trout, yellow perch, black crappie, muskellunge, and walleye, among others.

Get the inside scoop on the most popular fishing spots along the Rideau, and make sure your next fishing getaway is the one where you catch the big one. Whether you are looking for a catch-and-release experience or something for your evening meal, here are some local fishing hotspots where you’re sure to get a catch. 

Big Rideau Lake 

Big Rideau Lake lies southwest of Ottawa, is more than 20 miles long, and three miles wide, and is the largest lake in the Rideau Canal Waterway. Its shores are populated with cottages, houses, and in Rideau Ferry, a small community on the border of Lower Rideau Lake and Big Rideau Lake, numerous small businesses that include a convenience and liquor store, and waterfront eatery.

Big Rideau Lake is a popular fishing spot for bass, both smallmouth and largemouth, trout, and northern pike, both in the lake itself and in the adjoining Hoggs Bay and Loon Lake, near Newboro. This lake is also a good spot to angle for crappie and sunfish. 

Rideau River Provincial Park

On the shores of the Rideau Canal lies Rideau River Provincial Park, open from mid-May to mid-September. A sandy beach, park store, and laundry make this park a popular location for both day-use and overnight camping.

Sheltered bays and warmer waters make the water around the park the perfect place to fish for crappie. Walleye, northern pike and muskellunge are also found in the water here, but largemouth bass is a popular fish species that especially likes the cover the aquatic vegetation found here can provide. Pack bait and lures that will attract the wide variety of species that populate the river along this stretch.

Kars and Manotick

Between Kars and Manotick is another sweet fishing spot near Long Island Marina, known to the locals as ‘Mosquito Point.’ Here you’ll catch everything from pickerel to pike, bass and walleye. Closer to Manotick, you can find a weedy area where the river splits at Long Island. This is another good spot to make a catch, this time for walleye. Rent a kayak from Le Boat to get even closer to your prospective catch, you can kayak right into the weedy area and access some of the best fishing spots.

While you’re in the area, stock up on supplies and get more information about the best spot to drop a line from Manotick Bait Fishing & Hunting. Located only a short bike ride from the Long Island Locks, you can rent a bike from Le Boat and make a two-wheeled excursion part of your exploration of the Manotick area.

Dow’s Lake, Ottawa

Combine an urban and fishing experience in Dow’s Lake, a small, man-make lake roughly one mile from Hog’s Back locks, along the Rideau Canal. This location gives you an opportunity to dock and explore the city of Ottawa, or relax in the shelter of the bay and see what fish you can hook. Perched on the edge of the lake, Dow’s Lake Pavilion is home to several restaurants, while shops and more eateries are only a short walk down Preston Street in Ottawa. 

Preston Street is known as the ‘Little Italy’ of Ottawa, and some of the best Italian restaurants are found here. On the west side of Dow’s Lake lies the Canada Agriculture and Food Museum, a working farm and museum, and the Dominion Arboretum, an 86-acre green space with ornamental gardens. You can access this area by walking or biking, but bring along your camera for some phenomenal shots of farm animals and local flora and fauna.

You can drop anchor and cast your line from your boat, just be aware of other boaters, especially small-craft boats like canoes, kayaks, or stand-up paddleboards. Fishing from the shore is a good way to stretch your legs and have some land-time. Parks Canada allows you to tie up any place along the wall of the Rideau Canal.  Expect to find sunfish, smallmouth bass, pike, and carp in Dow’s Lake.

Le Boat’s 10-night cruise  from Smiths Falls to Ottawa offers plenty of time to explore the best fishing, waterside communities, and history of Canada’s iconic canal and waterway. Whether you’re an amateur or seasoned fisherman, the Rideau Waterway will have the perfect fishing spots for you.