LAKE ONTARIO FISHING REPORT
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 rightâ€¦ 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 theyâ€™d like to forget. It was time to run to the â€œblue zoneâ€.
To help define the â€œblue zoneâ€, Iâ€™m going to divide Lake Ontarioâ€™s vast waters into 3 categoriesâ€¦ inshore, mid-lake and the blue zone. â€œInshoreâ€ being the waters from the shoreline to the 150FOW (feet of water), â€œmid-lakeâ€ describing the waters from 150-300FOW and lastly the â€œblue zoneâ€ 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 waterâ€™s color go from a green-blue to a beautiful deep-blue color signaling your arrival to the famous â€œblue zoneâ€.
I can fondly remember my very first visit to the â€œblue zoneâ€ with my dad more than 20 years ago. Iâ€™m pretty sure that those grounds didnâ€™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 â€œin the dayâ€ the Coho Salmon were much more plentiful than the average catch these days.
After a 30min ride out to the grounds that I hadnâ€™t fished since last October, we were ready to set our lines and get down to businessâ€¦ 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 clientâ€™s 13year old son on the receiving end of the battle. Soon a 12lb plus Steelhead was in the net and the â€œskunkâ€(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 clientâ€™s 13year old son and 11year old daughter fighting a double-header to end a stellar day on Lake Ontario.
Our â€œspreadâ€ for that outing was a simple shallow-set â€œsurfaceâ€ 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 60â€™ 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 50â€™ following 25â€™ behind the ball. On our port-side diver rod we let-out 100â€™ of 50lb braid with a glow Luhr Jensen Dipsey Diver on the No.3 setting achieving approximately the 35â€™ depth mark with a white/glow colored flasher and glow mirage colored fly trailing the dipsey. The starboard-side diver was sent back 75â€™ 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 30â€™depth range. Lastly, the copper-loaded rod was sent down the chute with 250â€™ of copper out with a blue/silver spoon to target the 40â€™ 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 â€œblue zoneâ€ were very common when I was a kid, and with todayâ€™s technology and advancement in GPS and sonar units, once you find the fish out thereâ€¦ itâ€™s almost impossible to loose the location of a school of actively feeding Steelhead or Coho Salmon. So if youâ€™re looking for some hot Lake Ontario action once the inshore areas are void of Chinook in the late summer/fall monthsâ€¦ head out to the â€œblue zoneâ€.
Ph: (905) 434-6584