Lake Ontario Tributary Steelhead and Nature

Posted on May 17th, 2014

I thoroughly enjoyed a couple of weeks of steelheading in our Lake Ontario tributaries since opening weekend. I fished with some friends Rob and Joe, and fished several times with Italo. We met some great people on the tribs over the course of a couple of weeks as well. One person in particular was Dan. He was casting spinners and not having much luck. Spinners can be a great way to catch steelhead, but they were not hitting spinners this day. After Dan watched me catch a few steelhead, we got to talking. It turns out that Dan is relatively new to trbutary steelhead fishing, and I offered some tips. I set Dan up with a float set-up, some roe bags and explained where to cast and why. On his first cast, he nailed a scrappy little steelhead and he was as excited as a kid on Christmas! This made his day, and it also made my day. I really enjoyed helping Dan catch a steelhead, and I bet he will be getting into float fishing now. Congrats Dan! I hope to see yo on the tribs with float gear in the future.

Dan with his steelhead on his first cast with float gear
Dan with his steelhead on his first cast with float gear

We enjoyed beautiful scenery and took in spring as it was coming to life in an urban area, although you would never know it. Many people have no idea how amazing our riversheds are and how much wildlife we have right in our own backyards. Many people from the city drive hours to go up north to enjoy nature and serenity, and we have it minutes from our door steps.

Some of the nature and critters that we have so close to home
Some of the nature and critters that we have so close to home

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The steelhead fishing was pretty good for the most part. With the water higher and stained, it was easy fishing. As the water dropped and cleared, the fishing became more difficult. We still caught a bunch of fish in tougher conditions, and the clear water made for some incredible underwater photos!

Some really neat shots that we took with my new Olympus TG2 tough waterproof camera
Some really neat shots that we took with my new Olympus TG2 tough waterproof camera

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Most fish came in runs and pools 4 feet deep and deeper along current seems, wood and current breaks. Some bends with current and undercut banks also held fish. We caught our fish on rainbow roe tied in Spawn Net. I tied nickel sized bags in bright colours like pink and chartreuse for stained water conditions, and smaller dime sized and smaller bags tied in natural peach colours for clear water conditions. I used a Rapala Shift centrepin on a 13 foot RType float rod spooled with 8lb Sufix Siege. I tied the main line to a micro swivel then added a shot line approximately 6 feet in length with a 5 gram G1 float and split shot staggered down to a second micro swivel. I add enough split shot to sink the float to the painted top section, as this makes the float sensitive to detect subtle bites. I then tied on a 6lb Sufix fluorocarbon leader approximately 18 inches in length to a size 8 Gamakatsu octopus hook. This is my standard set-up, but I use larger floats and more shot for larger tributaries, and smaller floats and shot for smaller tribs. When the water cleared up, I switched to a 4lb fuorocarbon leader and size 10 Gamakatsu octopus hooks with smaller roe bags.

There will be some steelhead left in the tribs, but many will have migrated back to the lake after all the recent rain we had. It was fun while it lasted. The same tributaries all over the Great Lakes have good runs of smallmouth and largemouth bass, as well as pike and panfish.

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Take advantage of our local creeks and rivers and enjoy the nature that goes along with it! Here are a few photos of some of the fish we caught over the 2 weeks. Enjoy. 

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