A peaceful border between the U.S. and Canada? Check. A must-visit for your bucket-list summer vacation? Check. A salad dressing influencer? Check. All of the above are true for the amazing location of Thousand Islands, New York.
You won’t find “Thousand Islands” on Google maps. Instead it’s an archipelago of 1,864 islands dotted at the northeast corner of Lake Ontario and the beginning of the St. Lawrence River. Some of the islands are in U.S. territory (technically they are part of New York), while others are in Canada (they are considered provinces of Ontario). Some islands are over 40 square miles, while others are undeveloped one-square foot islands. To be counted among the Thousand Islands, the island must have at least one-square foot above water level year-round and support at least one living tree.
The Thousand Islands Bridge connects New York and Ontario and is a picturesque view. The largest island of the group is Wolfe Island on the Canadian side. Howe Island is another Canadian island, while Grindstone and Wellesley Island are both large islands that are part of New York. And our favorite, Just Room Enough Island, also known as Hub Island. It’s on the U.S. side of Thousand Islands and is about 3,300 square feet – just enough room for one tree, some lawn chairs, and a house.
Outdoor enthusiasts will love visiting Thousand Islands. There are opportunities for boating, hiking, biking, kayaking, bird-watching, camping, and of course fishing. Take a tour of the islands and see castles, lighthouses, and some beautiful architecture. No matter where you stay in or near Thousand Islands, there’s adventure just around the corner!
Anglers travel from far and wide to experience the benefits of fishing Thousand Islands. Lake Ontario and St. Lawrence River are both fantastic fishing grounds for species such as largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, walleye, pike, musky, perch, crappie, sunfish and more.
The eastern parts of Lake Ontario near Amherst Island and Wolfe Island are known as premier fishing spots for salmon, trout, walleye, and smallmouth bass. Smallmouth bass in particular is a favorite among local anglers. Depending on the time of year (and water temperature) “smallies” can be found in waters from 10 to 40 feet deep. The water is surprisingly clear, so use monofilament or fluorocarbon fishing lines. Artificial lures that imitate minnows or shad are most commonly used to get smallmouth bass to the line. One clue to just how popular smallmouth bass are in the area: there’s an open fishing tournament held each year that brings in hundreds of anglers to the area.
Another popular species near Thousands Islands is walleye. Spring is the best time to schedule this kind of fishing trip. It’s spawning season and after the ice-out is when walleye will move to the shoreline in good numbers. It’s common to find walleye weighing 6 to 12 pounds in the area. During summer months you’ll also see anglers trolling for walleye. This is a technique where the boat covers a large area of water with lines dragging bait. Keep in mind that walleye have sharp teeth, so you’ll want to bring along a pair of pliers on your next walleye fishing trip.
St. Lawrence River anglers know just how fantastic this fishery is here. Along with bass, anglers can fish for pike and musky. Muskies are an aggressive species and will feed on smaller perch, shad, and sometimes bass. Fish near structures, which in the Thousand Island area is plentiful as the many submerged roots and sandbars offer plenty of options to inhabit. Fall season is the best time of year for this sort of trip.
Thousand Islands are shared between Canada and the United States. For our Canadian friends, Kingston is a large city that many visitors will launch from. It has a front row to the Thousand Islands area and there are many attractions and sightseeing options for your family. Other Canadian ports include Glenora and Gananoque. U.S. residents can travel to Canada with a valid passport, or depart from a New York port such as Cape Vincent, Clayton, or Alexandria Bay.
No matter which side you begin your adventure, Thousand Islands is a picture-perfect location for your next family vacation. During the summer months you can enjoy fishing, golfing, camping, boating, and more. And winter months offer even more adventure! Your group can spend the days ice fishing, skiing, or cuddled up next to a cozy fire with a good book. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime vacation destination that you simply must experience.
It’s not everyday you can explore over 1,000 islands. Bring your crew for a great day of discovery, or spend a few days – it’s well worth it. The hardest part will be deciding where to cast your lines, the options are just so numerous. Find a local guide to help you find the fish, and they’ll have all the gear you need for a successful outing. Book your Thousand Island fishing charter today – don’t miss out on the adventure waiting for you!