When most Ontario anglers think of baitcasting outfits they think of fishing for bass, walleye, pike & musky. BC river anglers have known for decades that baitcasting outfits are ideal for drift-fishing and for fishing artificial lures from drift-boats in many of our coastl rivers for steelhead & Pacific salmon. For the last few years I have been testing the www.rapala.ca , Avantis baitcasting reels for steelhead fishing with excellent results. Rapala has designes a complete line of specialized baitcasting rods specifically for steelhead & salmon fishing. Their North Coast Salmon/Steelhead Rods offers three baitcasting models:
2-piece, 8 1/2′ (ideal for casting steelhead artificials such as plugs, spoons, spinners, etc., in larger tributaries).
2-piece, 9 1/2′ (ideal for bottom-bouncing with split-shot or 3-way swivel-larger tributaries).
2-piece, 10′ (ideal for float-fishing/bottom bouncing with split-shot in smaller to medium tributaries).
I have fished the Rapala Avantis baitcasting reel with 8 & 6 lb. test monofilament ( www.sufix.com , Siege, smoke-green color), in the Niagara River, on the larger NY tributaries such as the Cattaraquas River & Oak Orchard Rivers, and also in our southern Ontario tributary streams. The Avantis baitcaster casts well with lighter line and with standard steelhead float-rigs. The free-spool is ideal for “feathering” out line when the float-rig travels down-stream with the current and as soon as you have a hit, a quick snap of the reel handle forward locks the spool and the fish is on. I’m also impressed with the reels drag system which worked well even with larger rainbows & browns on 6 lb. test. The Avantis has not magnets, but instead it is equipped with a 6-pin system that can be easily set by popping-off the side of the reel and adjusting the pin-placement to your liking. I have found that having 3-pins in the “in-position” , and 3-pins in the “out-position” allows for long casts and virtually eliminates any chance of back-slashes. I’d like to hear your thoughts on stream steelhead fishing with baitcasting outfits in Ontario. Personally I think it’s cool to see a steelheader with a long steelhead baitcasting outfit.
Many of the southern Ontario tributary waters rose dramatically through the weekend and we are still seeing lower visibility in many of the streams that flow into Lake Ontario. If the clarity is at least 6-18″, spawn-sacks will continue to work well, but if the clarity drops below 6″, it can make for difficult drifting with trout & salmon eggs. Under these conditions I have had good results using wobbling lures, not just in the smaller tributaries, but even in the Niagara River. Niagara River guides know that when the Niagara gets “blown-out” by strong winds on Lake Erie (which dumps it’s murky water down the Niagara River), and they still have charters, they usually go to wobbling lures and drift them along the bottom in the same way they would be drifting spawn-sacks. If you are planning on using wobbling lures keep these two simple rules in mind;
1. If you are fishing smaller/larger tributaries and the water is pretty clear, use small size wobbling lures in natural colors. This would include the Luhr Jensen Kwikfish #5 & #7, Luhr Jensen Hot Shot 030, 035, in silver & gold, with light “accent colors” of greeen, blue, pink, etc., & skunk color.
2. If you are fishing smaller/larger tributaries with turbid water condtions, use larger size wobbling lures in fluorescent colors. This would include the Luhr Jensen Kwikfish #9 , Luhr Jensen Hot Shot 025, in fluorescent red, chartreuse/red spts. skunk, etc.
Barbara & I came back just before the Toronto Sportsman Show from a trip to south-east Florida. The weather was great and you might wonder what we do when we are on holidays. We golfed and fished. We had a chance to fish in the north Fort Lauderdale area both from a party boat (trolling for tuna, dolphin fish and king mackerel), and also fishing the piers for a variety of pretty bottom fish.
Even though we had windy weather and a Florida “cold-front” (temperatures dipped to 40F), we still made the most of it and golfed or fished almost every day.
Medium-action spinning or baitcasting outfits is all you need if you are planning to travel to Florida and you are thinking of doing some shore, pier, or bridge fishing.
If you go out on a charter or party boat, they have all the proper gear so you don’t need to take any of the heavy saltwater rods & reels.
Noel Gyger reports that they have been getting nice weather all week in northern BC. The spring melt-off from the mountains has not started yet so the rivers are pretty clear. Despite low water conditions some of the guides are doing well putting their clients onto some trophy steelhead. Both the upper and lower sections of the Kalum River are in good shape and water is very low, almost too low for jet boats, so it’s drift boat and inflatable time. The lower Zymoetz (Copper) River is still holding a few Steelhead and has attracted a fresh fish. A few fish are bing caught there by fly anglers. A few anglers are now starting to fish the main Skeena River looking for the spring run of steelhead. In the meantime lot’s of Cutthroat and Dolly Varden Char are keeping anglers busy while they work to get a steelhead on.
If you would like to get more info. on planning a world class river fishing trip in BC, you can contact Noel Gyger at, firstname.lastname@example.org .
Frank DeAngelis from La Salle, ON reports that the walleye are starting to move-in along the Michigan, US side of the Detroit River and anglers are starting to catch fish in higher numbers in front of the steel plants across from the north tip of Fighting Island. Top presentation has been vertical jigging right on the bottom using a 1/2 oz. jig with a 4″ plastic worm grub. The walleye are holding on the 17-27′ structure break off the shoreline. Anglers are also having excellent success catching jumbo perch out of Colchester Harbor, Lake Erie. Best presentation is fishing a “pickerel-rig”, or a “drop-shot” rig with live minnows near the bottom.
As the water temperature warms-up, more walleye will work their way up from Lake Erie and will hold throughout the river. If you are planning to fish the Detroit River anytime soon, make sure to also check the water clarity. Strong winds on Lake Huron and on Lake St. Clair can really muddy-up the Detroit River water clarity which makes walleye fishing much more difficult.
When water clarity is normal in the Detroit River, natural colored 4″ plastic worms work excellent as a plastic trailer on the jig. If water clarity is murkier, try using a larger, bigger profile plastic grub such as a 4 1/2″ Finesse Minnow, or 3-4″ Twister Tail grub.