Fishing In Timmins
By: David Reid
When coming to Timmins, make sure to pack a rod so you can take advantage of fishing an amazing section of the Mattagami River that runs through the heart of the city.
Back in the 1900’s, lumber companies floated their logs down the river in the spring to their mills. These mills provide lumber for the mines and for new homes being built for the immigrants coming to work in the mines and forestry industry.
Although Timmins is know for it’s mining, the forestry industry played an important role to the growth of Timmins as while. When the ONR came to Timmins, two thirds of the lumber milled at Feldman sawmill was shipped to markets near Toronto.
To provide hydro to the mines and homes, in 1910, Porcupine Power Co. built the first hydro dam at Sandy Falls which is seven miles down river from Timmins to supply hydro to the mines and homes. Three years later the Wawaitin Falls hydro plant was built five miles up river. Today both dams still produce hydro.
Although there is no records of what the fishing was back then, pictures indicate it was an amazing fishery in the early 1990’s.
This section of the river was also part of fur trade used by the First Nation People, Traders, and trappers between the Mattagami and Frederick House river systems.
In 1960, a major flood occurred when the Mattagami and Mountjoy, Grassy, Tatachikapika Rivers and many in flowing creeks that flows into the Mattagami River caused substantial damage to residential homes and the township along a section of the river known back then as Mattagami Heights.
In 1970, a project started to clear these dwellings and structures. In 1977 a joint effort between the City, Kinsmen Club of Timmins and Mattagami Region Conservation Authority to build a Historical Conservation Area which would include a Participark in this flood plain area. The project was completed in 1980.
In 1987, the Timmins Kiwanis Club hosted the first multi species fishing tournament along this section of river, using this park for registration, parking, boat checks and a weigh-in site.
During this time as part of a multi phrase waterfront development plan, a boat launch was built between 1988 to 1991.
Due to the number of participates the last tournament was held in 1993 and relocated to Kenogammissi Lake in 1994 -2011.
Part of the plan for the Participark was to put a walking/bike path on both sides of the river that followed a section of the river from the Riverside Bridge to the Laforest bridge. In 2002 the first phase of these pathways were completed.
There are several spots along these paths where an angler is able to fish from shore and catch a variety of different fish species that swim in this section of the river.
In 2002, the Timmins Fur Council and Club Navigateur partnered along with the MNRF, OPG and Domtar to transfer 50 adult Lake Sturgeon from Little Long,north of Fraserdale into the Mattagami River.
Studies over the years have confirmed that different year classes of Lake Sturgeon were captured during research studies and angler testimonies indicating a successful transfer.
In 2009, the Great Canadian Kayak Challenge and Festival held it’s very first one day event at the Historical Conservation Area as part of the Timmins Centennial Celebration.
Due to the overwhelming demand, the one day event has turned into a three day event now. In 2011, the City purchased a set of docks for the Kayak Challenge and placed them next to the boat ramp.
These docks were a welcome addition not only by the kayak competitors but by the local residents and anglers.
With requests from city residents, the city now places the docks in next to the boat ramp one week prior to the closer of Walleye season and usually removed after the Thanksgiving Weekend. Placement and removal of the docks depends on whether the ice is gone in the spring or how early the ice starts forming in the fall.
With the Mountjoy River flowing in, a river bend with a deep scarol hole and town creek next to the boat launch, having these dock placed here provided an excellent location for anglers to fish from.
With the amount of usage the docks received from residents, visitors to the city and anglers, the city seen the need to provide walkways from the parking lot to the docks and an wheelchair accessible dock so everyone could enjoy the docks.
If you are planning on fishing from the pathway/bike trail or the docks, all an angler needs is a pickerel rig, a three ounce bell sinker, your choice of live bait and a spike rod holder you can pick up at a bait and tackle store for your rod to sit in.
Due to strong river current, the three ounce bell sinker will hold it place. Simply cast it out, reel up your line until it is tight and then place your rod in the holder. When a fish bites, simply set the hook and start reeling with your rod tip held high so not to snag on the river bottom.
Many local anglers use this set up during the day.
Early morning, sun set or overcast days anglers can cast shallow crank baits, a split shot and go getter with live bait, swim baits or top water baits. By casting them parallel to the shoreline an angler is able catch fish coming up into shallower water to feed during these times.
Anglers fishing from boats are able areas where they can troll/cast crank baits, vertically jig or pitch jigs to shorelines, lindy rig, or pull slit shot with go getters and live bait in sections of the river which are free of debris.
Since the river was used to float trees down to mills in the early years, anglers using lindy rigs, dragging jigs or bottom bouncing should keep the sinkers/jigs just off bottom and at a 45 degree angle. This should minimize the number of times snagging up.
Whether you’re visiting family or here on business, be sure to schedule in some time to come down to river and wet a line.
Today thanks to proper fish management, the city, the different organizations that transplanted Lake Sturgeon back into this section and clubs that helped develop this section of the river, residents and visitors are now able to enjoy catching a variety of fish species and even a dinosaur today.
Angler with the Smallmouth Bass is Al Marin, Big Walleye is Steven Guillemette, Rock Bass is David W. Reid, anglers with the little sturgeon on the docks are on the left Vincent Fortin 4, me, Right Julien Fortin 10.