Lake Ontario, ON Fishing Report.

Posted on September 16th, 2010



Eastern Basin

By:  Matt Mitchell

On a recent outing with clients on Lake Ontario, we found ourselves blessed with one fine September morning, with hospitable conditions for trolling the shallows for staging Chinook salmon.  There was a slight roll on the water, the shoreline area was colored from the days before strong southerly winds, water temperatures were back into the favourable range for Chinook, everything seemed so right… except the rods would not fire.  After what had seemed like essentially wasting four hours of fishing time, I had to make a serious change to ensure my clients had a fishing trip to remember and not one that they’d like to forget.  It was time to run to the “blue zone”.

To help define the “blue zone”, I’m going to divide Lake Ontario’s vast waters into 3 categories… inshore, mid-lake and the blue zone.  “Inshore” being the waters from the shoreline to the 150FOW (feet of water), “mid-lake” describing the waters from 150-300FOW and lastly the “blue zone” which covers the depths from 300FOW and greater.  The name stems from the color of the water in that region.  Fishermen traveling out to these grounds can actually visually notice the water’s color go from a green-blue to a beautiful deep-blue color signaling your arrival to the famous “blue zone”.

 I can fondly remember my very first visit to the “blue zone” with my dad more than 20 years ago.  I’m pretty sure that those grounds didn’t yet inherit the famous name describing the area but it had the same action-filled outings of present day.  The only thing different being, that back “in the day” the Coho Salmon were much more plentiful than the average catch these days. 

 After a 30min ride out to the grounds that I hadn’t fished since last October, we were ready to set our lines and get down to business… catching, not fishing.  Within 15min the starboard side dipsey rod was peeling drag and we were hooked-up to our first fish of the day with my client’s 13year old son on the receiving end of the battle.  Soon a 12lb plus Steelhead was in the net and the “skunk”(a fishless day) had been avoided.  In the next four hours of fishing in the new area we boated 10 more extremely acrobatic Steelhead, one juvenile Chinook and lost an additional 4 more fish ending up 11/15 for the day.  The most memorable time for me was watching the client’s 13year old son and 11year old daughter fighting a double-header to end a stellar day on Lake Ontario.

Our “spread” for that outing was a simple shallow-set “surface” program that covered the 25-60 foot range.  Our Cannon Mag10 downriggers covered the deepest part of our spread that day, and the dipsey and copper rods targeted the upper-half of our offerings effectively covering the usual productive depth zone for my 320FOW to 340FOW area.  On the port-side downrigger I set a glow-frog colored spoon down to the 60’ mark and had it trailing the ball by ten feet and the starboard-side downrigger sent down with a NBK (Natural Born Killer) colored spoon to 50’ following 25’ behind the ball.  On our port-side diver rod we let-out 100’ of 50lb braid with a glow Luhr Jensen Dipsey Diver on the No.3 setting achieving approximately the 35’ depth mark with a white/glow colored flasher and glow mirage colored fly trailing the dipsey.  The starboard-side diver was sent back 75’ on a No.3 setting with a metallic blue/white Luhr Jensen Dipsey Diver towing a chrome blue flasher/fly combo fishing just above the 30’depth range.  Lastly, the copper-loaded rod was sent down the chute with 250’ of copper out with a blue/silver spoon to target the 40’ zone.  Effective trolling speeds that day were, between 2.8 and 3.2 mph on the surface, which are the norm for late summer Steelhead and Coho.

Twenty plus fish days out in the “blue zone” were very common when I was a kid, and with today’s technology and advancement in GPS and sonar units, once you find the fish out there… it’s almost impossible to loose the location of a school of actively feeding Steelhead or Coho Salmon.  So if you’re looking for some hot Lake Ontario action once the inshore areas are void of Chinook in the late summer/fall months… head out to the “blue zone”.  

Matt Mitchell
Mitchell’s Sportfishing

Ph: (905) 434-6584


 Matt Mitchell


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