Oakville could approve a nighttime fishing program


Published April 24, 2023 at 2:58 pm

People who enjoy fishing in the evening hours might be permitted to enjoy their hobby at select spots in Oakville. 

At an upcoming April 24 meeting, town council will review a report from the Parks and Open Space department recommending an evening fishing pilot program. 

The report says that due to the increased interest in fishing that arose amid pandemic-related lockdowns, town staff have been reviewing on-shore fishing restrictions on town-owned parkland, specifically the Oakville and Bronte harbour. 

Now, town staff are recommending a pilot program that permits evening fishing within designated areas of the east pier in Bronte and the east/west piers in Oakville from 9:00 pm to 12:00 am from Aug. 1 to Oct. 15–coinciding with the annual salmon run.

The areas where night fishing will be permitted will be clearly signed, the report says. 

Should council approve the pilot program, the results will be discussed early in 2024. 

The report says fishing within the harbours has always been restricted during the summer months for safety issues, as boaters and heavy pedestrian traffic can make the activity hazardous. 

Because of the increased interest in fishing since the pandemic, council approved extending the fishing season in the spring and fall. It also approved year-round fishing from the west pier in Bronte. 

The report notes that should the pilot be approved, people will not be permitted to fish absolutely anywhere of their choosing.

“There are numerous waterfront parks where fishing is prohibited through posted signage due to size of the park, safety issues with access to the water, and close proximity to residential properties,” the report reads.

“Those are not being considered for any fishing approvals.” 

According to the report, the most favoured fishing locations are located within the Oakville and Bronte harbours and particularly the piers on the Sixteen Mile and Bronte Creeks. 

As of now, fishing in designated areas is restricted from May 15 – Oct. 15.

The report says night fishing has been identified as a possibility because fish tend to swim closer to shore when there’s less human activity in the water. There will also be fewer people around in the evening and nighttime hours. 

“During the pandemic staff heard from multiple residents they would appreciate the opportunity to go to one of the piers and fish for a couple of hours in the evening after spending the day at work,” the report reads. 

“Fishing can be a stress reliever for some people.” 

The report recommends allowing fishing until midnight, two hours after most parks close. 

“…Staff believe allowing some night fishing within Oakville and Bronte harbours represents a balance between park pedestrians and people wishing to engage in on-shore fishing.” 

The report also addresses accessibility concerns, adding that the west pier in Bronte is not accessible and that replacing the existing steps with a ramp would need to be discussed with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans. The report also says that town staff have discussed accessible fishing with Charterability, a local charity that provides accessible recreational boating at no cost to people with mobility challenges. 

Council will review the recommendation tonight. 

inhalton's Editorial Standards and Policies advertising