The canal on Victoria Crescent has been a popular spot for avid perch fishers each spring, and this year has been no different.
Jamie McIsaac who lives down the street from the popular fishing spot, says he stops by to fish when the crowd level seems low.
“Usually when the Perch Festival is taking place the street is lined with cars on both sides,” he said.
“There are times when I don’t come down. If I don’t feel I can distance myself I don’t risk it.”
McIsaac says he’s noticed the canal to be a popular spot for not only locals but also for some visitors from out of town.
“There are people who drive up from Mississauga and Brampton, and that concerns me because the (COVID) numbers are high right now,” he said.
“I kind of check out the licence plates as I’m walking here and try to gauge who’s here.”
McIsaac believes that what makes the canal a popular spot is the massive amounts of perch that are caught there each spring.
“I think the fish come in here to breed when the wind is blowing. Usually, every third time you cast your line in you are catching a fish, it’s a good spot,” he said.
“If I was here for an hour or so, I’d probably catch 15 to 20 fish.”
McIsaac only fishes for recreation, but he’s seen other fishermen take home plenty of fish.
“There are people who fish here who catch and take a pail home and cook them up, but that’s not me. I just enjoy the recreation of it; it’s therapy,” he said.
Another Orillia resident who mostly fishes for recreation is Brad Coulson. He gave the Victoria Crescent canal a try for the first time this week.
“The reason I came was because I’ve seen not many cars here recently. Usually I’m deterred away because there can be 15-20 cars here sometimes,” he said.
Coulson also believes the canal has become a hotspot for anglers because of the breeding of perch that takes place in the waters.
“This is where perch spawn in the spring and fall. They come here in big numbers and people follow them,” he said.
However, on Wednesday afternoon McIsaac and Coulson alike were not having much luck. In their first 20 minutes of fishing, they hadn’t caught any fish.
“I have a bad feeling that it might be fished out,” Coulson said.
“I haven’t had much more than a little nibble today. It could be the time of day, it’s also getting late into their spawning season so they might have already left this area. There could be a number of other things that could be factoring into it."