Ontario Sturgeon, Burbot & Catfish Fishing off the Spanish River Delta

Catfish Lake Huron, the Spanish River and the North Channel are well known for big Channel Cats and Brown Bull Heads. Generally they are more active at dusk or at night. Guests, while night fishing for Walleyes, catch them without even fishing for them.

Ontario Catfish are an untapped resource. Residents almost never fish for them. They are availible in great numbers and taste fantastic. Some people say Catfish taste better then Walleye. You are allowed to keep 6 with a sports license and 3 with a conservation license so it's a great way to add to the amount of fish you bring home for the big fish fry.

Catfish are easy to catch and give up a good fight. Just have a hook, slip-sinker and a worm and leave it on the bottom. The bigger Catfish are usually found in deep pools behind dams or at the mouth of rivers in conditions just like the mouth of the Spanish River.

Catching Burbot (Ling)

Many guests catch Burbot while fishing deep near the bottom or fishing at night when they come in shallow. Guests that fish for Catfish seem to run into them the most. They can get up to 40" long and many people say they taste just like Walleye.

Sturgeon Stocking Program

Our guests that fish for Catfish and Burbot sometimes get lucky and catch a Sturgeon. Their population grows each year but they are still rare. They have to be released right away.

Sturgeon are living dinosaurs. So far the oldest fossils found are from the Middle Jurassic period about 174,000,000 years ago. To catch one is a catch of a lifetime with bragging rights your friends can't beat. Right now Sturgeon are a protected species so you can't purposely fish for them but from time to time guests do catch them while fishing for Catfish and Burbot (also called a Ling). If you do catch one it has to be released right away.

Sturgeon Sturgeon populations in the Great Lakes were decimated by a massive demand for Caviar in the late 1800s. A few survived and were captured and brought to fish hatcheries. Between 2003 and 2009 on the Canadian side 3-inch long fingerlings were let go in rivers that once had large populations of Sturgeon. The following rivers were stocked:

• Aux Sable River
• Blind River
• Echo River
• Go Home River
• Key River
• Manitou River
• Root River
• Sauble River
• Saugeen River
• Sequin River
• Serpent River
• Spanish River
• Sturgeon River
• Thessalon River

Sturgeon grow very slowly. The Sturgeon that were released in 2003 are about 30 pound now and started spawning when they were between 10 and 15 year old. In 2018 a netting study of the Sturgeon population in the North Channel produced 194 Sturgeon that were 2 to 3 years old showing that the stocked Sturgeon are successfully reproducing in the rivers.

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Ontario Fishing Regulations:

View Regulations for the Spanish River (zone 10 - Adobe .pdf)
View Regulations for North Channel & Georgian Bay (zone 14 - Adobe .pdf)
View Big Map of North Channel

Download Adobe .pdf Reader for Free