How to book a fishing charter boat in Ontario
Here’s how to select the best charter boat experience for your group and tips on what you’ll need to know and bring on your day of fishing.
What you need to know before you book a fishing charter boat
Planning and preparation prior to booking your fishing charter will ensure an enjoyable and successful experience. Here are a few tips to help plan your next fishing charter.
First, consider if you’d like to fish close to home or close to where you’re vacationing. Then, consider how far you’d be willing to travel for your charter and if you’d like to book a half-day or full-day excursion, as this will all need to be factored into your itinerary.
Most charter boats services in Ontario run from the end of May until sometime in September, but operational dates are up to each charter boat business and always dependent on the fishing regulations for the fish you are targeting.
Another important consideration for the charter you select is the species of fish you’d like to catch. The most popular fish on charters are:
- Steelhead (Rainbow Trout)
- Lake Trout
The fishing quote, “it’s called fishing not catching,” reminds anglers to enjoy each moment. You may want to set yourself up for success rather than disappointment by selecting a fish species that is easier to catch.
Novice anglers should begin with bass, walleye, pike or trout fishing. Advanced anglers will enjoy fishing for musky, known as the fish of 10,000 casts. It is said that you don’t fish for musky, you hunt them. It’s not a stretch to state that they are the most difficult fish to catch in Ontario.
Important questions to ask before booking a fishing charter
Before you book your charter, there are various things to consider and questions you’ll want answered, like:
- Will there be capacity in the boat to accommodate the number of people in your group?
- Is there is a bathroom on the charter boat?
- What is the cancellation policy, especially in case of bad weather?
- Are instructions provided for beginners?
- Will tackle and bait be supplied and if not, does the charter have any recommendations on what to bring/buy?
- Are there rules on the lake concerning the purchase of live bait from other jurisdictions?
- Will fish be cleaned for you?
- Is there air conditioning on the boat?
- What are the on-board rules and policies? For example, for smoking or drinking alcohol
- Will fuel be included in the trip price?
- Is the boat child-friendly?
If you are satisfied with your charter selection, it’s a good idea to let your captain or guide know if you want catch and release fishing only or if you wish to keep fish to bring home. Your captain or guide will make lake suggestions based on your fishing trip requirements.
What to bring on the charter boat
Confirm with the charter what equipment and safety gear are included in your trip. Make sure that they have the correct size of life jackets for everyone in your group.
There will be some additional things you’ll need to bring:
- Be aware of fishing licence requirements and how to get a fishing licence for Canadians and non-residents of Canada. Make sure everyone in your group carries the appropriate fishing licence.
- If you are fishing for longer than one day you will have to purchase an Outdoors Card.
Appropriate clothing for the weather
- Wear polarized sunglasses. Since sun rays are much brighter on the lake, polarized sunglasses can help to reduce the bright reflection.
- Wear a hat, sunscreen or long sleeve shirt and bring plenty of bottled water to hydrate on hot days.
- Wear soft sole shoes, not boots. Many charters prefer that all guests wear closed toes shoes for additional safety on board the boat. Please confirm, prior to your day of departure, any rules, or recommendations the charter boat may have for proper footwear.
Food, beverages, supplies and accessories
- Most charter boats do not supply food, but check with your captain or guide to see what is supplied and what you are allowed to bring on board. Pack your food and beverages in a cooler to keep them fresh while you fish. Bring a second cooler for your fish and a few large ziplock bags if you are planning on bringing your catch home.
- Bring motion sickness medication as a precaution.
- Don’t forget to bring a camera to capture special moments, like your big catch!
Where to book a fishing charter in Ontario
Here are some fishing charters located in Ontario. Pick one that is right for you and your group. Remember, if you have a wonderful day on the lake, it is very acceptable to tip your charter boat staff.
Last updated: October 10, 2023