Grenadier Pond, ON - Chasten Mullin
My Watermark is Grenadier Pond in High Park Toronto, Ontario.
When I was six or seven years old, my dad took me fishing for the first time. Instead of taking me to a typical northern fishing destination, he took me to Grenadier pond in High Park. I didn’t even think there were fish in Toronto, much less in High Park.
I remember us only having one rod, so we would take turns, with my dad casting and me reeling in the small Rapala minnow. Right as the sun was going down, my dad caught his first fish in years, a nice largemouth bass. He handed me the rod and told me to cast straight out in front. I ended up catching my very first fish on that cast, another largemouth. Needless to say, I was hooked. On the ride home, he told me about how he used to fish for suckers and panfish in Black Creek as a child, using worms he dug up and spoons he made out of coins. I remember spending the next few days thinking about when we could fish again.
We would fish the pond all the time until a few years ago when we started further exploring other areas to fish. I really enjoyed learning the pond, finding the best spots to fish for different species, and talking to other anglers. I fished the pond this summer for the first time in a few years, and although I only caught one (very) small bass, it felt great to be back at my favorite pond. One thing I did notice was an increase in the amount of people fishing there, which I view as a good thing. However, there was a large amount of fish being kept. I think a catch and release initiative at Grenadier could greatly benefit the pond, and help not only the fishery, but the general health of the pond as well. This could be done through signs placed around the pond’s fishing area, or through fishing events teaching responsible fishing. I was also surprised at the amount of garbage being left around. There are already quite a few garbage cans and recycling bins around the pond, so I would assume it comes down to people being ignorant. Maybe putting up more ‘no littering’ signs could help? It’s very frustrating to see all the garbage in and around the pond and not much being done about it.
One thing I find unfortunate about Grenadier pond is the anti-fishing sentiment being put out by certain groups. One of the best things about this park is that you can bike, picnic, go for a walk and fish all right in the city. The inclusive nature towards all activities at the park is what really draws people to it. The fact that this spot is being targeted is sad, and I hope that these groups can come to see that fisherman can be just as responsible as anyone else at the park. This cause can be helped by educating anglers about proper catch and release, as well as proper disposal of fishing line and hooks. This would help portray a more positive picture of anglers to the people who oppose fishing at this park. Grenadier Pond’s proximity to the subway station, plentiful sunfish and the opportunities for other activities make it the perfect place for anyone to learn how to fish. I hope that the pond will be protected, so that in the future many more people can learn to experience fishing in friendly, enjoyable setting.