Lake Ontario Salmon Fishing: A Complete Guide

Studying Time: 7 minutes

It doesn’t get significantly better than a Lake Ontario Salmon fishing journey. And whereas it might be the smallest of the Nice Lakes, you’d by no means be capable to inform judging by its implausible fishery. It wasn’t at all times like this, although. Salmon have been first stocked in Lake Ontario in 1968, simply over 50 years in the past. Fortunately, they took to their new surroundings rapidly!

Over time, the choice to inventory the lake with Chinook and Coho varieties has had a constructive financial influence on small shoreline communities and drawn many anglers to upstate New York and Southern Ontario fisheries. It’s been so profitable, that as we speak, these fish are thought-about the lake’s shining stars.

Salmon are stocked within the waters yearly, and there’s even some pure copy taking place. Their measurement, taste, and battle are just some of the explanations by anglers flock to Lake Ontario to hook ‘em. On this information, we’ll inform you every thing you could learn about when, how, and the place to hook your subsequent trophy.

What fish can I hook and when?

There are two kinds of Salmon you possibly can rely on hooking in Lake Ontario – Chinook and Coho. You’ll discover these fish inhabiting comparable waters at comparable instances. Nonetheless, there are some variations between them. Learn on to search out out extra about your high two targets.

Chinook Salmon

There’s a motive anglers name them King Salmon – these fish are a number of the lake’s most treasured possessions! Their hard-fighting nature, completely scrumptious taste, and restricted availability all contribute to why Chinook Salmon are so well-liked. With Lake Ontario specimens hitting as much as the 30-pound mark, it’s no shock that anglers select to solid a line right here.

The beginning of the Chinook fishing season varies from 12 months to 12 months. This relies largely on how chilly the winter was and the place the waters heat up first. Sometimes, issues get going within the lake’s western basin in April. Chinook want colder temperatures, ideally at round 53 Fahrenheit, so the hotter it will get the additional offshore you’ll need to go. You’re taking a look at fishing anyplace between 100–500 toes deep.

That every one adjustments come late summer season, nevertheless. Because the fish put together for his or her fall spawning run, they start to maneuver into the mouths of the lake’s tributaries. That is when the motion actually will get going and the waters are at their busiest. The Salmon are huge, aggressive, and solely round for a brief window of time. September by early November is usually peak season, although some fish might linger for longer.

Coho Salmon

The King’s silvery cousins boast comparable attributes by way of their aggressiveness and nice style, however Coho Salmon don’t get fairly so massive. A 20-pounder is taken into account a trophy, and most fish are available at between 5–10 kilos. However, the biggest Coho ever caught was pulled out of Lake Ontario’s waters. The fish in query weighed over 33 kilos, which simply goes to point out that this fishery breeds some unimaginable specimens.

There are some key variations and similarities between Coho and Chinook salmon. Each want comparable water temperatures, so that you’ll usually discover them in the identical areas on the identical time. The lifespan of a Coho is shorter, nevertheless, and so is your window for fishing. Additionally they spawn slightly later. Peak season usually happens between October and early-November.

Lake Ontario Salmon Fishing Methods

Salmon generally is a tough species to hook. To make issues slightly simpler for you, we’ve highlighted a number of the hottest methods to take action in Lake Ontario.


Trolling is by far the most well-liked fishing approach for hooking Salmon on Lake Ontario. Why? Nicely, as a result of the lake is very large. When trolling, you’ll have a number of traces within the water and the flexibility to cowl extra floor in quest of productive spots. To slim it down even additional, verify the temperature of the water. Salmon prefer to coast at between 52–58 Fahrenheit.

The subsequent factor you’ll wish to take into consideration are lures. Most anglers agree that the most effective lures for Lake Ontario Salmon fishing are spoons. They’re shiny and glossy in shade and transfer aggressively within the water, all of which attracts fish. Should you’re fishing deeper waters it’s additionally a good suggestion to have dipsy divers and downriggers readily available. These will permit you to attain larger depths.

Lastly, keep in mind that Salmon are most probably to hit your lure out of pure aggression – and after they hit, they hit exhausting. Gear up with lead wire and don’t underestimate their energy.

Drift Fishing

This can be a nice approach to make use of as soon as the fish have moved into the river mouths. You’ll be capable to cowl a whole lot of water and current your bait or lure in a pure manner. The important thing to float fishing efficiently is discovering the best weight on your rig. You need your bait to line up along with your goal’s mouth. Figuring out at what depth that’s will depend upon the present.

Should you’re exploring just a few totally different areas, you might want to modify rigs greater than as soon as throughout a single journey. As such, drift fishing is really useful for anglers with expertise. Gear up with a medium-heavy spinning or drifting rod and use egg sacs or skein for bait.

Fly Fishing

This one’s reserved for the actually expert anglers amongst you. Fly fishing is tough to grasp generally, however Salmon are particularly powerful targets. The perfect time to point out off your expertise is as soon as the fish transfer into the tributaries. As ever, water temperature is a vital issue. Do a fast measure earlier than you begin casting to eradicate any doubtlessly unproductive spots.

With regards to selecting your gear, go for a 9–10 foot rod, paired with line weights between 7 and 9. Salmon are highly effective fighters so that they warrant heavier gear. As on your flies, egg imitations, streamers, or nymphs work properly.

Should you’re planning to get within the water and wade, please pay attention to your environment. The waters within the tributaries are filled with slippery rocks, deep drops, and ever-changing currents and water ranges.

Lake Ontario Salmon Fishing Spots

Throughout spawning season, you’ll discover Salmon in practically all of Lake Ontario’s tributaries – that’s how unimaginable this fishery is! Under we’ve highlighted a few of our favourite fishing spots on either side of the border.

Salmon River

With regards to Lake Ontario Salmon fishing, that is each angler’s mecca. Simply accessible from Pulaski and Oswego, the Salmon River is the lake’s most closely stocked tributary. Its fall Chinook run is implausible for a number of causes. The river is massive, has constant movement, is definitely accessible, and boasts fly fishing solely zones. A further bonus? 70% of the Chinook caught listed below are wild.

Douglaston Salmon Run

This two-mile personal stretch of the Salmon River is arguably the most effective spot to arrange. It’ll value you a further price to fish right here, however native anglers will inform you it’s properly value it. Its location on the decrease finish of the river is without doubt one of the principal causes it’s so good. The fish first enter the river right here, which means they’re contemporary and raring to chew.

Port Credit score

Should you’re fishing on the Canadian aspect of the border, don’t skip a go to to Port Credit score. This shoreline neighborhood in Mississauga is sometimes called “the birthplace of Salmon.” The fish begin to make strikes in early July, inhabiting waters between 50–200 toes deep. As soon as the nearshore waters heat, head as much as 12 miles offshore to fish depths over 300 toes.

Anything I must know?

Salmon are a extremely regulated species. To make sure you’re fishing inside the legislation, it’s essential to maintain just a few issues in thoughts. We’ll begin off with fishing licenses and bag limits, and end off with whether or not these fish are secure for consumption.

Fishing Licenses and Bag Limits

A very powerful factor to deliver with you is a sound fishing license. Should you’re fishing on the American aspect of the border meaning selecting up a New York state license for all anglers over the age of 16. For a extra detailed take a look at the several types of licenses, take a look at this information. Anglers between the ages of 18–65 will want an Ontario fishing license to fish in Canada.

Bag limits will fluctuate relying on the place you’re fishing. Sometimes, the restrict in New York state is a complete of three Chinook or Coho Salmon every day. In Ontario, it’s 5. There are additionally sections of the lake and its tributaries which are catch and launch solely. These guidelines are topic to alter on an annual foundation and it’s at all times finest to double-check earlier than heading out.

Good to eat?

Lake Ontario has suffered its fair proportion of air pollution, however nice efforts have been put in over time to treatment a few of these results. As such, Lake Ontario Salmon have been deemed fit for human consumption – albeit sparingly. Native authorities advocate not more than 4 meals per thirty days. You may guarantee more healthy consuming by trimming fats, eradicating the pores and skin, and cooking your catch.

Lake Ontario Salmon Fishing: Merely Put, Legendary

It’s no shock that Chinook and Coho Salmon are Lake Ontario’s stars of the present. With stocked tributaries, record-breaking sized fish, and a number of methods and locations to solid a line, who wouldn’t wish to fish right here? We all know we do – and so do you!

Are you planning to fish Lake Ontario for Salmon this coming season? Drop us a line within the feedback and let’s join – we love to listen to from you!

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