Lake Ontario Fishing: A Complete Guide

Studying Time: 9 minutes

Lake Ontario is the smallest of the Nice Lakes, however that doesn’t diminish how implausible the fishing right here is. In reality, once you head out on a Lake Ontario fishing journey, you’re getting the most effective of what the entire Nice Lakes have to supply. Why? It’s easy. The 4 remaining lakes all movement into Lake Ontario earlier than it empties out into the Atlantic Ocean.

Because of this, the lake is one thing of an ecological surprise. It helps a various vary of wildlife and really huge fish. To not point out that it’s a supply of ingesting water for over 9 million folks. Nonetheless, the lake has suffered on account of overfishing and air pollution. Nice efforts are being applied to revive its biodiversity, making certain we will get pleasure from it for a lot of extra years to come back.

With New York state mendacity to the south and the Canadian province of Ontario to the north, it’s simply accessible to quite a lot of anglers. Learn on to seek out out what fish to focus on, the place to go, and easy methods to benefit from your journey.

Lake Ontario Fish Species

For those who’re a freshwater sport angler, this checklist of fish goes to make you very blissful. There are many alternatives to hook into scrumptious species to take dwelling. For those who’re hoping to interrupt a private finest, the lake additionally breeds fairly a couple of trophy fish.


These pink-fleshed creatures are by far the primary goal anglers come to Lake Ontario for. And whereas there are a couple of styles of Salmon you possibly can go after, Chinook Salmon are the kings of those waters. These fish verify all of the containers. They put up an incredible combat and style scrumptious! Because you received’t discover them right here year-round, we’ll deal with seasonality first.

Chinook Salmon begin to congregate within the western ends of the lake in spring. As temperatures rise, they transfer into deeper and colder waters. They’ll keep right here till late August or September, earlier than heading into the tributaries to spawn. That is recreation time! The fish are hungry, aggressive, and wanting to assault your line.

The way you’ll fish will rely on the time of 12 months. Within the summertime, when the fish are in deeper water, you must strive trolling. As soon as the Salmon transfer into the lake’s tributaries, you possibly can proceed trolling or strive drift fishing, fly fishing, or spinning. Later within the season, preserve an eye fixed out for Coho Salmon and, much less usually, Atlantic Salmon.

Lake and Brown Trout

Salmon could take middle stage however it will be a disgrace to miss the unbelievable Trout fishing in Lake Ontario. Come spring, Brown and Lake Trout rule these waters. For those who’re after scrumptious Brown Trout, head to the lake’s shorelines or the mouths of the tributaries. These creatures favor hotter waters and a easy spinning or trolling arrange is often sufficient to get you on some fish.

Lake Trout are even simpler to catch and a terrific goal for novice anglers. Head into colder waters and forged your lures very near the underside. So long as you get the depth proper, there’s certain to be fish close by. Lake Ontario can also be a terrific place to move should you’re after a trophy. Lake Trout within the 30–40 pound vary are recurrently caught right here! The larger fish don’t style nice, so it’s finest to snap a photograph and launch your prize.


Steelhead fishing primarily occurs in Lake Ontario’s tributaries. These migratory Trout are among the hardest preventing creatures, which performs an enormous half in why anglers like to go after them. There are two styles of Steelhead in Lake Ontario: Washington and Skamania. Their primary variations lie of their respective seasonalities.

Within the winter, you’ll benefit from the Washington run, whereas Skamania make a summer season run. “Run” refers back to the time of 12 months when these fish spawn. That is after they’re at their hungriest and most aggressive.

There are a few other ways to focus on Steelhead. Float and drift journeys, fly fishing, and spin fishing are all in style strategies. What lures you’ll use will rely partly in your fishing methodology however crankbaits and spinners are surefire decisions. You may additionally need to strive your luck with roe baggage.


Yep, you possibly can catch these freshwater legends in Lake Ontario too! Walleye preserve anglers on the lake busy year-round. Winter anglers will likely be blissful to listen to that Walleye fishing is at its best through the colder months and make for excellent ice fishing targets, too. Most fish are within the 1–3 pound vary, but it surely’s not unusual to catch 10-pound whoppers. 

As quickly as you find one Walleye, there are certain to be extra close by. These are education fish, so toss out a marker after you’ve landed your first catch of the day. Walleye favor low gentle and most anglers do their vertical jigging or trolling after darkish. That doesn’t imply you received’t catch any fish through the day, although. Simply search out deeper water and rocks or weeds the place they might be hiding.


Right here’s one other year-round goal so as to add to your checklist. Northern Pike are broadly distributed throughout Ontario and upstate New York, together with Lake Ontario. Like Walleye, these are cold-water fish, and the hotter it will get the deeper you’ll need to go to seek out them. Not like Walleye, they’re solitary hunters centered on finding their meals supply.

It received’t take you very lengthy to seek out one although, as these fish are extraordinarily aggressive and opportunistic eaters. “Eyes greater than their stomachs” is one other attribute we may give them. Don’t be afraid to make use of an enormous, bright-colored lure to attract their consideration. Whether or not you’re trolling, spinning, or ice fishing, a fluorocarbon chief is non-negotiable. Their razor-sharp tooth will reduce straight by the rest!


Lake Ontario fishing journeys can put you on Largemouth and Smallmouth Bass. These fish are a favourite with sportfishers throughout the board for quite a few causes. You don’t want an advanced setup and these creatures put up a terrific combat. Heading into Lake Ontario’s japanese basin is a good place to begin should you’re hoping to hook into some Bass.

Bass fishing on Lake Ontario is a summer season sport. The season sometimes kicks off within the late spring and lasts till early fall. Fish within the early morning or late night for finest outcomes – these fish are inclined to shelter through the day. For those who aren’t having a lot luck, strive altering your lure. Bass are clever and have a eager sense of scent – they usually received’t go after the identical bait or lure twice.

Easy methods to Fish Lake Ontario

There are a couple of other ways to embark on a Lake Ontario fishing journey. Some rely on seasonality and others in your chosen targets. Check out among the hottest methods to fish the lake beneath.

Constitution Boat

For trophy catches, filling the freezer, and hitting a number of spots, you possibly can’t beat constitution boat fishing. It could be the smallest of the Nice Lakes however Lake Ontario remains to be a big physique of water. On a constitution boat, you’ll have the liberty to maneuver round and alter spots shortly in pursuit of your targets. 

You’ll even have a neighborhood captain readily available who almost certainly fishes the lake year-round and possesses critical data of the waters. For those who’re unfamiliar with the realm, it is a big profit. As a rule, your gear and bait will likely be included within the worth of a constitution. All you’ll have to fret about is buying a fishing license (extra on that later).

Shore Fishing

Certain, constitution boat fishing is one of the simplest ways to get your fill of fish to take dwelling. For those who’re simply trying to have some enjoyable, although, fishing from shore is the way in which to go. Arrange a chair and your gear alongside the shorelines of Lake Ontario and chill out. It’s additionally nice for teenagers. You’ll be on agency footing when instructing them the ropes and there’s a lot to discover close by if anybody will get stressed.

What’s extra, you possibly can catch quite a lot of fish! Largemouth and Smallmouth Bass, Perch, Walleye, and even Pike are all attainable catches. To up your possibilities of hooking fish, attempt to arrange close to constructions like bridges. There are often deep pockets of water round them, which attract small baitfish and bigger predators in quest of their subsequent meal.

Ice Fishing

The truth that it’s winter doesn’t imply it’s important to cease fishing! Whether or not you’re fishing on the Canadian or American facet of Lake Ontario, you’ll discover areas with world-class ice fishing. Lake Ontario is deep and so it very not often totally freezes over. Keep on with the shorelines and slack water bays the place the water is shallower and the ice is thick sufficient to fish safely.

Ice anglers come to Lake Ontario from far and vast to hook into the likes of Northern Pike, Walleye, and Perch. Chaumont Bay, Guffins Bay, and the Bay of Quinte are a couple of locations that provide nice ice fishing on Lake Ontario. Simply bear in mind – ice fishing situations can change in a single day. All the time be certain the ice is secure earlier than drilling, gown warmly, and convey a cellphone or radio with you.

Lake Ontario Fishing Spots

It is a powerful one. There are such a lot of nice locations to forged a line in Lake Ontario! Beneath are just some of our favourite angling locations to get you began in selecting a spot to fish.

  • Pulaski: Point out Lake Ontario fishing to skilled anglers they usually’ll instantly inform you to go to Pulaski. Providing entry to each the Salmon River and Lake Ontario, it’s the most effective locations to get your fingers on Chinook and Steelhead when the season hits.
  • Oswego: Lake Ontario, the Salmon River, and the Oswego River are all fishable should you head out of the city of Oswego. That is the place you need to be for Chinook and Coho Salmon, Steelhead, and Brown Trout.
  • The Bay of Quinte: This bay on the Canadian facet of the lake presents among the finest year-round Walleye fishing there’s. Pike, Bass, and large Perch are on the playing cards too. Right here within the winter? Don’t miss out on an opportunity to go ice fishing.
  • Niagara County: Head out onto Lake Ontario or discover the Niagara River from one among many cities on either side of the border. Relying on the place you’re fishing, you’ll encounter Salmon, Trout, Bass, and Walleye.
  • Rochester: Lake Ontario’s waters are deep close to Rochester. There’s additionally Sodus Bay and the Finger Lakes to dip your rod into. You will discover Salmon, trophy Trout, Walleye, and Bass right here. 
  • Better Toronto Space: Trying to do some city angling? Toronto has received you coated. Solid a line in Mississauga’s Port Credit score, Ashbridges Bay, or Oakville and you can hook into Brown Trout, Bass, Pike, and even Salmon!

Anything I have to know?

Earlier than you get out onto Lake Ontario’s waters, it’s necessary to get acquainted with the fishing guidelines and rules. These will differ relying on whether or not you’re fishing on the American or Canadian facet of the border. Beneath, we spotlight what you want in each instances.

Fishing in American Waters

For those who’re fishing the American half of Lake Ontario, the very first thing you’ll have to do is purchase a New York State fishing license. There are a couple of completely different choices for freshwater licenses, which you’ll see in additional element right here. Likewise, the lake and its surrounding tributaries are topic to strict possession and dimension limits. Make sure to inform your self earlier than heading out.

Fishing in Canadian Waters

A lot of the identical applies when fishing in Canadian territory. All anglers between the ages of 18–65 are required to hold a sound Ontario fishing license. Earlier than you should purchase a fishing license, you’ll have to buy an Outside Card. Nonetheless, you may get a single-day fishing license with out an Outside Card. 

Lastly, should you plan on dipping your rod into waters on either side of the border, you’ll want to purchase each an Ontario and New York fishing license. Don’t overlook your passport, both.

Lake Ontario Fishing: Expertise Greatness

Fishing the Nice Lakes is a particular expertise. And maybe we’re biased, however we predict Lake Ontario is additional particular. With unbelievable Salmon and Trout fisheries and a mixture of gorgeous pure landscapes and cosmopolitan cities alongside its shorelines, there’s one thing for everybody.

What are your favourite Lake Ontario fishing spots? Any tricks to share together with your fellow anglers? Tell us within the feedback – we love to listen to from you!

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