Otonabee River, ON - Darren Cheung | Great Lakes Guide
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Otonabee River, ON

Darren Cheung

My Watermark is Lake Ontario in Toronto.

I would consider myself a very adventurous type of person who enjoys the outdoors very much. Water is very important to me. Not only is it a necessity of life but it has given me the ability to make some amazing connections with friends, family and my inner self. Best of all water relaxes me.

Whenever I encounter stressful situations I like to cycle alongside the Highland Creek all the way down to he Waterfront Trail where the creek then meets Lake Ontario and just relax on the large boulders and listen to the waves. I love to fish in Ontario waters with my buddies Tomi and Daniel. We’ve caught fish ranging from the small catfish in the Twyn Rivers to the large salmon that travel upstream to spawn in Duffin’s Creek.

My most memorable time with water was in the spring of 2005 when I was 14 years old. My father heard from a coworker that the Otonabee River located in Peterborough Ontario was a great place to spend quality time together and to catch fish. I’ll never forget how excited I was. The night before I didn’t even sleep. As soon as I got there we decided to fish right by one of the lift locks and within 5 minutes I had already hooked onto a large catfish. After the catch we knew it was going to be a great weekend. We travelled along the river and lift locks catching a variety of fish such as Rock bass, Sunfish, Smallmouth Bass and Perch.

My father and I will never forget the large water dam near the Kawartha Lakes Ice Cream Parlor where the pressure of the water was so strong it was similar to the type of waters you would see in white water rafting! It was scary yet so beautiful. On the shallow side of the dam there were HUGE golden carp fish we could see sunbathing in the warm waters but to get there you would need to get by the fence and walk on a thin wall. I was a little Dare Devil at the age of 14 and so I found an opening in the fence and was determined to catch them.

My father was too big to get through so he remained on the other side, extremely worried as he watched his son tightrope-walking along a thin concrete wall with white waters and fast currents below. After about half an hour I was hooked onto a large carp. I couldn’t believe the rod bend from the power of the fish and the strong currents. From a distance I could see my Father’s worried smile and he was yelling out “Be careful Darren”! After almost an hour of battling the fish I finally landed it. I brought it to him and the first thing he did was give me a huge hug and said “Never again” while we both laughed and smiled in relief.

The Otonabee River is beautiful. It is so clear you can see 6 feet below with no problems but best of all it brought us so much closer together. Ever since that weekend we have managed to make it a yearly trip that we do and we have done so for 10 years straight. The bond and memories we had together alongside this dangerous yet beautiful river is unlike any we had in the crowded city of Toronto.

I think it is important that we respect water. It can be dangerous enough to kill a person but at the same time water can give so much to us such as a great sense of relaxation, the large beautiful fish I caught and the special bond with my father.

Current Weather

-15° degrees celsius.
Clear throughout the day.


Otonabee River, ON


Lake Ontario

Collected by

Bonnie McElhinny

Contributed by

Darren Cheung

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