Winter Steelhead update.

Posted on December 21st, 2021

Steelheaders in southern Ontario have been taking advantage of mild temperatures and excellent steelhead fishing opportunities from the Niagara River, Queenston, ON to the Ganaraska River, Port Hope, ON. With regular rains most of the smaller tributaries get turbid quick but then clear-up 2-3 days afterwards bringing in pods of fresh-run Steelhead.

Winter Steelhead.
Niagara River steelhead are plump, fight hard and can be caught right trough the winter months.


Anglers fishing the Lower Niagara River are doing well drifting 1 oz sinkers on a 3-way rig with a 36″ leader with either a single imitation salmon egg on a small hook, a roe bag, a streamer, live minnow or a soft-plastic minnow imitation like the Fishing Compete Italo’s Minnow. These are all drifted close to the bottom usually within 30-50′ from shore where the current/structure breaks meet in 18-35′ water. An electric trolling motor is a must to be able to work the current so lines are vertical to enable anglers to feel the bottom.

Winter Steelhead.
Light 11′ drift-rods loaded with a smooth center-pin reel and 8 lb. test main line are ideal for smaller tributary winter Steelheading.

The “eastern” Lake Ontario tributaries have been also doing well when water conditions are good. Most anglers are drifting either single imitation soft-eggs, glass or acrylic salmon egg beads or salmon egg roe bags under a sensitive float.

If the weather continues to “jo-jo” from mild to cold with intermittent rain/snow the tributary steelhead fishing should continue to be excellent right into January.

Make sure to check the fishing videos on our Italo Labignan YouTube channel and if you have any questions just email them to me at Ask Italo throughout our www.canadian-sportfishing.com website.

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