Awesome Aquatic Outings

Canton’s family-friendly annual fishing derby is upon us, taking place once again in Canton Public Library’s backyard—Heritage Park. The ponds are stocked with fish specifically for the event and is otherwise open for fishing year-round. Whether you are entering the derby and need some practice or are simply spectating, here are some ways to connect with southeastern Michigan’s rich fishing culture.

Michigan’s Great Lakes contain many species of freshwater fish that are also found in our state’s ponds, lakes and rivers. Bring the kids out for some fishing fun at any of these local spots. 

Most parks require a $3-$13 entry fee per vehicle in the form of a day pass or an annual pass, but did you know that you can get free or reduced-price access to some of these parks with the help of a Michigan Activity Pass (MAP)? See below to find out which destinations participate in the MAP program, available with your Canton Public Library card.

Maybury State Park in Northville is a spacious park with an 8-acre pond that is perfect for fishing. Check out a MAP with your library card for free admission. 

Newburgh Lake in Hines Park is a gorgeous, wooded catch-and-release spot that has carp, bass and pike among other species. 

North Bay Park in Ypsilanti offers access to the Huron River, an excellent spot for smallmouth bass fishing. Lots of people come here to fly fish, too.

If you want to know what kind of fish to expect and where to find them in southeast Michigan, check out this handy chart put together by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

For simply viewing and appreciating fish, here are some local aquariums, museums and pet stores that have a varied collection of both freshwater and saltwater fish.

The Lake Erie Metropark offer shoreline fishing along the Huron River but while you’re there, you can check out the Marshland Museum. The exhibits paint a rich history of the land, focusing on the fishing and fur trapping trade. Check out a MAP with your library card for free admission to the Metropark.

Belle Isle’s historic aquarium, first opened in 1904, currently houses over 200 different species of aquatic animals. Many of them are freshwater fish that can be found in the Great Lakes. Check out a MAP with your library card for free admission to Belle Isle Park.

Fish Doctors is a local Canton shop specializing in aquariums, fish supplies, fish care, and of course, fish themselves. If you decide you want to take one home to care for yourself, this is a great place to learn more about it. 

Finally, here are a handful of fishing guides for both children and adults to improve your skills in time for the derby. 

Kids' Guide to Fishing by Dave Maas

Take the Bait by Michael J. Rosen

Fishing Tips and Tricks by C. Boyd Pfeiffer

The Complete Guide to North American Fishing by Ken Schultz

The fishing derby in Heritage Park takes place on Saturday, May 4, 2024. It will cost $10 for Canton residents to enter and $12 for non-residents.