Posted on August 23rd, 2010
Lake Ontario - Eastern Basin Salmon Action!
Lake Ontario - Eastern Basin Salmon Action!


Eastern Basin

By:  Matt Mitchell

The time of year has come again when the prized Lake Ontario Chinook Salmon make their annual migration towards tributary rivers and streams mouths where they will ultimately run these watersheds to fulfill their life’s goal… to spawn and expire.  But that doesn’t mean the open lake fishery has to be put on hold till the next season.   

Each year I see the lake in my area go from a completely vacant productive fishing zone, to an extremely busy few months and then full circle back to angler-free fish-filled water again.  I love fishing in April and May on the big lake because of the simple fact that there is absolutely no fishing pressure except for areas such as Port Dalhousie which hoards the desirable temperatures for kings and bait that time of year.  The summer weather brings out the derby fisherman and weekend die-hards right at the beginning of June and they relentlessly pound the lake in large groups till the end of August.  It’s then that the lake turns back to it’s lonely self, the high fishing-pressure fades away and the serenity returns.

Last week, most of the 2010 spawning year-class of Chinook moved into staging areas and some even breached the river/stream mouths and penetrated upstream to spawning grounds.  Now it seems as though most of the fisherman have virtually disappeared from the mid to open lake fishing grounds.  Some of the determined and stubborn Lake Ontario anglers are still probing the depths for other species such as Coho salmon, Steelhead, Brown and Lake trout and leftover kings in the shallow staging areas waiting for a later push up the tributaries.  There is one more group of fish that get totally over-looked… the next generations of Chinook to come.

In past years, I have just followed the herd and started fishing rivers and streams for the spawning Chinook, or just targeted other species in other inland water-bodies such as bass or walleye.  I have now learned that it doesn’t have to be that way and that there are plenty of hungry Chinook to pursue and catch after the big kings migrate. 

This year, I have been targeting these young Chinook, and for a few weeks now, the fishing just keeps getting better and better.  A fine example of this is last Thursday evening when I took Paul Lord (Canadian Sportfishing Productions Inc., Marketing Director) and Joe Viecili (Foxx Advertising & Design) out to taste some of the late-summer action.  We set-up our trolling spread in 150 FOW(feet of water), and it was literally minutes before one of the dipsey-rods fired and we were hooked into our first juvenile Chinook.  From there, the action just kept getting hotter and we continued to hook and boat some nice Chinook between the 2-10lb range, including a beautiful 2-3 year old chrome king that weighed in excess of 20lbs.  We ended up landing seven Chinook over the course of four hours that night and there was not a boat to be seen as far as the eye could see.  Check out Paul’s blog on our outing at https://www.canadian-sportfishing.com/?p=5458

Our gear for that afternoon consisted of the following:  2 Cannon Mag10 downriggers, 2 diver-rods loaded with 50lb braid and a flat-lined rod spooled with a 350’ shot of 45lb copper.  We sent our starboard rigger down 100’(which was the productive depth the night before during pre-fishing) with a purple-thunder colored spoon, and the port rigger down 85’ with a 42nd colored spoon.  On our starboard-side diver rod we let-out 275’ of 50lb braid with a Nuclear Green Luhr Jensen Dipsey Diver on the No.2 setting achieving approximately the 60’ depth mark with a chrome frog colored flasher and green/chartreuse fly trailing the dipsey.  The port-side diver was sent back 210’ on a No.2 setting with a dark-metallic green diver/flasher/fly combo fishing just above the 50’depth range.  Lastly, the copper-loaded rod was sent down the chute with all 350’ of copper out with a green/glow spoon to target the 70’ zone.  Effective trolling speeds that evening were, between 2.6 and 3.0 mph on the surface, which are the norm for mid-late summer Chinook.

If you find yourself annoyed this week with grease’n your shoulders and bumping elbows just to get in on your favourite hole down at the your local tributary, dunk that boat back in the lake and go find some untouched and ready to fire Chinook of years to come.  You won’t be disappointed!

Matt Mitchell,
Mitchell’s Sportfishing

Ph: (905) 434-6584


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