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The Fishing Connection in Peterborough & the Kawarthas

a person fishing at dusk, on the shore of a lake

This article was written by Ashley Rae of Ashley is a full-time fishing writer and video/content creator from the Ottawa area.  

Peterborough & the Kawarthas is well known as a popular fishing destination. The many lakes and rivers found here are part of the Trent-Severn Waterway and are home to a wide variety of fish species and year-round angling opportunities. On a recent trip to the region, I had the chance to not only get out on the water and sample some of the fishing opportunities on Lower Buckhorn Lake, but also to connect with some important individuals, businesses, and organizations in the sportfishing community that operate out of Peterborough. 

The Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters 

The Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters (OFAH) is the largest non-profit charitable fish and wildlife conservation organization in the province. I am personally a member of OFAH and have been for quite some time but it had been a number of years since I’ve visited their headquarters. During this recent trip, I had a chance to drop in to chat with staff members at the OFAH office, as well as visit the neighboring Mario Cortellucci Hunting and Fishing Heritage Centre. The wonderful OFAH staff took me on a tour of the Centre and I had a chance to learn more about their programs and activities, as well as check out some of the onsite interactive displays.  

a woman looking at a wall of mounted fish

Author, Ashley Rae, checking out the Ontario Record Fish Registry display. 

The Hunting and Fishing Heritage Centre offers tours to the public, and also operates programs and camps for children throughout the year, among many other activities that take place here. If you love fishing, hunting or the outdoors, I suggest checking it out. There’s lots to see and do here for outdoor enthusiasts of all ages! 

3 people looking at hunting and fishing displays inside an exhibit

Ashley Rae and OFAH staff members touring the Hunting and Fishing Heritage Centre. 

Suffice it to say, the knowledgeable staff and volunteers at OFAH are incredibly busy! They operate a wide range of programs including (to name a few): Community Hatchery Program, Lake Ontario Atlantic Salmon Restoration Program, Invading Species Awareness Program, TackleShare, Women’s Outdoor Weekend, Ontario Record Fish Registry, and so much more! Drop in for a tour at the Hunting & Fishing Heritage Centre during visiting hours which are 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Monday to Friday. 

You can also visit the OFAH website for more information.

Lucky Strike Bait Works 

It was a very unique experience to get to visit Lucky Strike Bait Works, also located in Peterborough, for a behind-the-scenes look at the manufacturing process of many of their lures and fishing nets. Lucky Strike Bait Works is a family-owned company that has become one of the oldest and largest tackle and fishing net manufacturers in North America. They’ve been in the business for over 90 years. Their products can be found at Canadian Tire and Walmart locations across the country, and at many other independent retailers throughout Canada.  

a woman looking at a rack of fishing spoons

Ashley Rae taking a look at a rack of spoons in production.

I had the chance to visit and meet the company president, Dustin Rhodes, who hosted a personal tour. It was really neat to check out the manufacturing equipment that was built by his grandfather, much of which is still in use today. We also had a chance to see staff painting spoons and lures, as well as some of the latest in modern equipment in action as well.  

a man and a woman standing at a net making machine

Ashley Rae observing Dustin Rhodes as he shares the process of assembling a landing net.  

I was impressed at the amount of detail that goes into each piece that helps anglers to create memories out on the water. I definitely have some Lucky Strike spoons to thank for catching some nice northern pike over the years, so it was really neat to have a glimpse of the manufacturing process. I also had a chance to help assemble a landing net which was certainly a new experience for me! Learn more about Lucky Strike products on their website.

Read about Ashley Rae’s multi-species kayak fishing adventure on Lower Buckhorn Lake