March Lake Ontario staging Steelhead.

Posted on March 1st, 2022

March is traditionally steelhead “staging” time at the mouth of most Lake Ontario tributary streams.

This is the time that hardy steelheaders brave cold temperatures and often scale ice covered rocks and concrete piers to cast spoons and fish roe bags on the bottom to entice cruising steelhead that move in and out of these habit mouths. This is so a great time for small boat owners to flat-line troll close to shoreline and river mouths with wobbling spoons & body baits to intercept fish.

Weather and safety are major considerations. March water temps are cold and falling into the water can be life threatening. Wearing roper floatation gear is strongly recommended.

Water clarity is one of the most important factors to consider targeting open Lake Ontario waters close to stream/Harbour entrances. Best fishing happens during clear/green water visibility conditions with minimal debris in the water.

Staging Steelhead.
The Lil’Cleo in 1/2 or 3/4 oz is an excellent casting spoon to cover shoreline waters from shore or trolled from a boat.

Good spoons to cast from shore include 1/4 & 3/8 oz spoons that can be cast far even with on-shore wind conditions. Silver or gold spoons with orange, green, chartreuse or pink stripes can all work well.

Staging Steelhead.
Salmon or Trout egg-sacks work well fished near the bottom on a slider sinker rig, especially if small pieces of foam are added to suspend them off the bottom.

Roe bags fished near the bottom with a sliding-sinker rig work well especially by adding a small amount of foam to keep the roe bags off the bottom. Try varying the length of lead from the swivel (that stops the sinker from going to the hook), to the hook. Good lengths are anywhere form 1′-4′ off the bottom depending on water depth.

Staging Steelhead.
The series of Rapala Scatter Raps can work extremely well in different natural and fluorescent colors while trolling harbor mouths in less than 20′ water.

Trolling anglers normally work just off shorelines iin waters less then 30’ deep and do well trolling lighter 3-4” wobbling spoons, shallow running minnow imitating lures and shallow running crank baits. Good trolling speed is 1.5-2mph. Speed depends on the action of the lure. Best action is steady “thrumming” of the rod-tip. Pre-spawn steelhead hit well and fight strong.

Good southern Ontario harbour locations include: Bowmanville, Newcastle & Port Hope, ON.

Make sure to check the fishing videos on our Italo Labignan YouTube channel and if you have any questions just email them to me at Ask Italo throughout our www.canadian-sportfishing.com website.

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