All About That Bass

A Beginner Guide to Fishing on the Thames River

Looking to get into the angling spirit this summer? Lucky for you, Londoners don’t have to travel too far—the Thames river is a hotspot for local hobby fishers, a meeting ground of sorts for an abundance of rich aquatic life. 

Tim Hain, a biology professor at Western University, has been fishing since he was 8 years old on the Saint Lawrence River near Brockville. Since relocating to London, he’s been on the hunt for new local hotspots as an avid weekend fisherman.


Fish Diversity in The Thames and Lake Erie

“There is a diverse community of freshwater fishes [in the Thames River]: you can pull out a great variety of things depending on the baits and hooks [like] small-mouthed bass, carp, some salmonidae, and different types of trouts,” says Hain. 

Results can vary depending on bait and equipment used. “When you use a net, you can pull out some beautiful fish like rainbow darters, cyprinidaes, minnows, and [popular] fish like rock bass.”

Hain says that Lake Erie is populated by some larger fish varieties as well. “It’s stocked with salmonidae that are not native to the lake.” Among these fish are rainbow trout and chinook salmon, a by-product of the North American artificial introduction of King Salmon fry into Lake Erie around 1873. “[But to catch an] Atlantic salmon in the Great Lakes, you have to get really lucky,” says Hain. 

Near Arva area, he’s reeled in carp, pumpkinseed, white crappy, and large-mouth bass. Carp have high population densities in that area and a penchant for brightly-coloured bait. “They’re interesting fish. They’re slow moving [so I] let [the fish] swim around until it’s tired. If you put some [sweet] corn on the hook, they’ll come right over and catch it.” 

Tips and Tricks from an Expert

Hain explains that fishing success is mostly location-dependent. “If you’re not having success in one area, take a few steps into another area and try casting again. You often don’t need to cast very deep into water, so if you don’t catch a fish after casting a couple of times, [try] a new spot a couple meters away.” 

However, for more exotic fish, Hain suggests probing deeper waters, which can easily be done via row boat. Crank baits that look like little fish are a worthwhile addition to your gear kit because of the way these baits glisten under the light. For larger fish like pike, Hain uses silver-coloured, shiny objects that catch the eyes of predatory fish.

During summer, black bass (small-mouth and large-mouth bass) are a popular catch for anglers, though tough to wrangle. “They’re really powerful swimmers. When you get a bass at the end of your line, you’ll really notice it. They fight really hard. That makes them a popular target for many fishers.” 

Eager to try your hand at angling? Reel one in with the Freshwater Alliance team, Tim Hain, Learn to Fish, and Angling Sports on July 12 at our Tackling First Time Fishing event! Check out event details here!