It’s that time of year again! The Orillia Perch Festival – one of the largest and longest-running fishing derbies in North America – makes its grand return to Orillia and Lake Country!
Each year, the festival kicks off the open-water fishing season, attracting thousands of passionate anglers to explore the waters of Lake Simcoe and Lake Couchiching when perch fishing is at its most rewarding. From first-time fishermen to seasoned anglers, the derby is unique in its ability to incorporate all skill levels and participants of all ages to join the fun on an even playing field.
Organized by The Orillia and District Chamber of Commerce, The Orillia Perch Festival has been a proud success for over 40 years, attracting large-scale numbers of visitors to explore what Orillia and Lake Country have to offer. “The Perch Festival started in 1981 as another reason to visit our area and provides millions of dollars annually in economic impact,” comments Allan Lafontaine, Executive Director of The Orillia and District Chamber of Commerce. “The Perch Festival helps engage all generations and does not require expensive equipment to participate with an opportunity for families to get out together and enjoy time outdoors on our beautiful lakes and waterways.”
The Chamber’s pride lies in the generational impact the derby has had on families, both locally and from visitors who return year after year to take part in the festivities. Part of the joy of the Annual Orillia Perch Festival is how accessible the sport can be, and perch – being one of the friendliest, bait-hungry species out there – are the perfect fish to begin with when starting your angling adventure.
If you’re looking for a new way to explore the outdoors with loved ones this season, the Perch Festival is where spring adventure begins. “Spending quality time with family and friends post Covid has become more important than ever,” says Events Coordinator Doug Bunker, “The Orillia Perch Festival is a great way to reconnect with the outdoors and enjoy the great sport of fishing.”
How to Participate
This year’s event will be run through the MyCatch mobile app, participants can head over to Orillia.com/perchfestival to pre-register for the event, the cost for a single entry is $20 for adults and $5 for youth. Thousands of dollars in cash and product prizes are up for grabs this year, with awards offered in both kid and adult categories.
The 2023 Orillia Perch Festival kicks off with an opening ceremony on April 28, and the official fishing derby runs from April 29 to May 6. A special closing ceremony will take place on May 6 at 7 pm, at ODAS Park, where the winners will be announced
Where to Launch
Boaters looking for a public boat launch in Orillia are encouraged to visit the 425 Collin’s Drive boat launch where street parking is available both onsite as well as at nearby J.B. Tudhope Memorial Park. Please note the Port of Orillia boat launch located at 50 Centennial Drive is currently unavailable due to construction for the City of Orillia’s Waterfront Redevelopment Project.
Additionally, Lake Simcoe and Couchiching have many private and public launches available. Traveling by water is always fun!
Perch Festival Specials: Activities & Discounts
After a day out on the water, check out what other Perch Festival activations are happening around the region:
- Couchiching Craft Brewing Co. will be serving up the official Perch Festival beer, the Perch “Pail” Ale, throughout the entire festival. After a long day out on the water, swing by the taproom to grab a taste.
- The Legion Branch 34 in Orillia will be offering a pancake special during their brunch service from April 28 to May 7, all are welcome to indulge!
- Lagoon City Pier One Resort will be offering Perch festival participants 10% off their nightly stay, as well as a special breakfast buffet and a perch dinner with a live DJ, both taking place on Saturdays April 28 and May 6.
Visitors can find more deals and sponsors during the event on the chamber website on the Chamber’s things to do and places to stay webpage.
Looking for a place to stay during the event? Visit our Orillia accommodations page to plan your trip.
All photos are owned and provided by The Orillia and District Chamber of Commerce.
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