Our striper fishing season has started. The Last few days have been ok with several nice fish coming to the net. Here are a few pics including a tagged fish caught and released. We did keep the tag.
Lake Ontario Fishing During the Week
Lake Ontario fishing during the week is my favorite time to chase trophy trout and salmon out on the “BIG POND“. The biggest reason ,of course, is that there is less boat traffic. There will be other boats out fishing but experience has shown that week day fishermen are much more easier to fish around and communicate with. We start fishing the Lake in early June and continue on into the middle of September.
Starting in June, the boat traffic is much less than later in the season. Even the weekends are not quite as filled with “weekend warriors” or part time charter boats like later in the season. This is one reason why trophy brown trout fishing can be so successful. Brown trout, especially the big ones, are typically a bit higher in the water column this time of year. They do not tolerate heavy boat traffic and understandably so. Boat motor noise and numerous downriggers and wire divers whizzing by them is a big big turnoff.
I like July fishing perhaps the most. Lake Ontario fishing during the week for Brown trout as well as King Salmon, Steelhead and Lakers is available . When the weather permits, offshore fishing in deep water for kings and steelhead can be rewarding. The nice thing about being offshore is that you can run full spread programs of eight rods or more. The area is much more vast so that most times you will not even see another boat. This allows us to turn and pivot on biting fish. Multiple hook-ups are quite common when you can immediately turn on the fish. These types of maneuvers are almost impossible in heavy boat traffic.
When a big king strikes a long line such as a 500 or 600 ft copper set-up, we can turn on the fish as we fight it. This allows us to stay in the area where the last bite occurred increasing our chances to get bit again. It does however, require room to turn and maneuver. In heavy boat traffic this is next to impossible. Under crowded conditions, we have to keep the boat going in a somewhat straight line to keep the fish in back of the boat. Usually by the time the fish is landed, sometimes as much as a half hour later, the boat can be over a mile away from the initial strike location.
As time gets closer to spawning season, the salmon begin to congregate or stage just offshore from the river mouths of their prenatal streams. Both experienced and inexperienced anglers know this. Ad to it that the fall LOC derby gets into full swing and you have the makings for a much more crowded lake. Even the weekdays get much more traffic than earlier in the season. The weekend warriors are in full swing.
Crowded conditions makes for stressful fishing. All one has to do is listen to the VHF radio. There will be guys fighting and yelling profanities back and forth at each other. The problem is that when someone sees a fish being caught, they immediately converge on that area and the boat that’s hooked up. Unfortunately, its quite common for lines to get run over and hooked up fish to be cut off and lost by non courteous boats.
Keep in mind that fish have fins and do swim. In fact, king salmon can swim over 30 mph. Just because someone hooks up, it doesn’t mean that that’s the only place where there are fish to be caught. It is courteous to give the back of boats that are hooked up some space so they can fight the fish successfully. There will be fish off to the sides of hooked up boats that will bite. It seems to me that fishermen should treat other fishermen the way they would like to be treated. Think about it. You could hook up, be fighting a fish, and want the area behind your boat open and unimpeded to fight that fish. Wouldn’t you?
Lake Ontario fishing during the week definitely has its advantages. Less boat traffic and dealing with more experienced boaters is plus. Here at Ace Charters, we fish up to seven days a week when the weather permits during the season. Whenever possible it is our goal to stay away from other boats. The fishing is just plain better and much more enjoyable. We do however work with some of the other charter boats on a near daily basis. This gives us as well as them the opportunity to put our clients on the fish, especially on those tougher days.
Best Month for trophy Brown Trout
We’re are often asked what is the best month for trophy brown trout fishing on Lake Ontario out of Oswego,NY. Year after year, the answer is plain and simple. June, June, June! For over the twenty plus years of fishing Lake Ontario, we have taken more trophy size brown trout during the month of June than any other. Notice we said “trophy browns”.
One might ask why June is typically the best month for trophy brown trout fishing and the answer is two fold. First, the water temperatures at this time of the year are warm enough to really get the big fish active. Metabolic rates increase and the bigger browns need to feed more. Secondly, alewives are in closer to shore and concentrated as they go through their yearly procreation. There will be age classes of alewives either coming in to spawn near shore and in the bays as well as those that have completed the spawning process and are returning to the lake. The water temperature also is conducive to alewive spawning and aquatic comfort.
Our definition of a trophy brown trout is one which weighs in the mid to upper teens and is at least over three years old. They are a different class of fish and require a different approach to getting them to bite. Light tackle is one of the biggest keys to getting a trophy brown to commit to the lure. Presentation of that lure is also important as well. As previously mentioned, temperature plays an important role in both metabolic rate as well as where Mr. Trophy Brown Trout might be. During the month of June, finding 58-62 degree water without going over concentrates trophy browns in the water column. Experience has shown that bigger browns like to be in this temperature zone during this time of year.
When you can find the right temperatures along with bait presence and colored water, you have the making of a great recipe for increasing the odds for trophy brown trout success. Add the right lure choice with the right presentation and trophy brown trout success will follow.
Reflections on Lake Ontario Fishing August 2016
Reflections on Lake Ontario Fishing August 2016 finds us moving into the anticipation of King salmon staging off of the mouth of the Oswego River as spawning time draws near. The word challenging once again rears its ugly head along with the occasional blow off greeting us on any given day. Similar to July fishing, August 2016 began as more of the same but with a twist. Mother nature and the urge to spawn was gaining ground and increasing its influence on the King and Coho salmon. Temperature was becoming less of a factor as August progressed.
The first half of August was much like the end of July. Temperature was important and one of the biggest factors in determining where the kings would be on any given day. This influenced not only how deep of water the fish would be swimming over but also how deep in the water column they would be. Using the X4D was once again paramount in dialing in the ideal depth to fish for both kings and cohos. The preferred baits and presentations were also changing,too!
Big paddles with John King cutbait heads got the nod first thing in the morning under low light conditions and when the water temps were only 50 to 60 ft. down in the column. We would run a combination of both attractor flies, Atommiks of course, along with Michigan Stinger spoons and paddles with cutbait. How the dawn broke in the morning along with how the fish were biting would determine when we would change things around. Boat traffic began to have a bigger influence,too!
As August wore on, tactics were adapted to the fish’s preference. Let me explain. Over the years and sharing information with fellow anglers like Big Finn Gene and Gene as well as the late, great Brian Castle from the Sea Devil boat, we employed the “less is more” method. One of the mainstays of this approach was to only run two downriggers. The probe rigger was set to run in temperature. The second rigger was started off high in the column out of temperature, especially if when marking high fish on the finder. The second rigger was then used to chase marks as they appeared deeper on the fishfinder as it got brighter out. Believe it or not, at times, we were marking and taking early morning fish in 70 degree water.
Once the sun got up on the brighter days the second rigger was fished ten feet below the probe rigger or if we were in shallower water, five feet off the bottom. Here’s a little trick we use to know exactly how far off of the bottom we want to be.We call it fishing from the bottom up. The rigger is allowed to descend until it hits the bottom and then is brought up five feet as measured on the counter on the rigger. It needs to be done quickly so that you don’t hang bottom. It also needs to be monitored frequently to keep it in the zone. The zone we look for is where 44 degrees intersects with the bottom. It helps to have a good chart plotter and fishfinder to do this consistently.
Reflections on Lake Ontario Fishing August 2016 brings us to the end of a very challenging season. There were some very nice fish caught in August especially during the fall LOC derby. Congratulations to Chad Gherig for winning this years fall LOC. Also congratulations to first place winner Lynn Thomson Jr. who while fishing Paul Powers aboard the “Ruka” landed the 1st place fish netting a cool $5000.00. Lynn’s fish was just ounces shy of Chad’s grand prize winner. Pauly and Lynn are past members of our Ace Charters professional fishing team. They are accomplished anglers and are as good or better than anyone else on the lake. I’m very proud of these boys!
One of the all time Reflections on Lake Ontario fishing August 2016 that will always be remembered is the 34 lb plus king that Derek Furbush landed with us during the fall LOC in August. Unfortunately for us, he was not entered in the derby. It was caught the day before Lynn Thomson caught his. Derek’s’s King salmon most certainly would have been in the money.
Reflections on Lake Ontario Fishing July 2016
Reflections on Lake Ontario fishing July 2016 include another month of adapting to ever changing conditions. July 2016 was one of the hottest months on record with ambient air temperatures averaging 10-15 degrees above normal, but with one exception. There was wind! The winds were strong enough to keep us off the water. Wave heights were just too high and dangerous to allow us out on too many occasions. Small craft advisories were a common occurrence.It was very unusual to see high winds along with scorching hot temperatures in the air. Usually in Oswego, the exact opposite is true with flat calm seas and no wind on those hot scorching days. So how did this affect the fishing?
On any given day that we could get out to fish, the target water temperatures which are species specific could be anywhere in the water column. What this meant was that you had to be prepared to fish anywhere from near the surface to over a 150 ft down in the water column. Even being able to anticipate where in the water column the target temperatures should be based upon past limnological behaviors couldn’t be relied upon. We literally had to go out and put the probe down to see where the temperatures were and then fish accordingly. We were faced with this on almost a daily basis when we could get out on the lake to fish.
Reflections on Lake Ontario fishing July 2016 showed that temperature locations not only dictated where we would fish but also what we would fish for. When we were iced out one morning after a west blow(which normally pushes the water temperatures down deeper), we found ourselves fishing for king salmon with only 60-70 ft of wire out and riggers down 20-30 ft. This actually worked for the first hour or two depending on the cloud cover. Once it got bright out we switched over to Lakers out in the deeper water. This pattern worked for a while until the winds blew and changed everything around again!
When the temperatures did get pushed down, we managed some nice catches of silvers. Atommik flies with pro troll e-chips did most of the damage. One of the keys to making the flies work was dialing in the right speed for that given day. Believe it or not, speed seemed more critical this past season than ever before. Some days we were pulling 1.8 mph down speed on our Fish Hawk X4D while other days saw down speeds of 2.6 mph to trigger strikes. When we found the temps up a bit in the column, Silver Streak and Michigan Stinger spoons in the stingray size on coppers were hot. Spoons with yellow in them such as Stingray yellow killers had their moments.
As you can see in our reflections of Lake Ontario fishing July 2016, one had to be prepared to fish from top to bottom and couldn’t take anything for granted on our way out to the lake. Knowing where the temperature was in the water column was key. Next blog post will look at August and what we faced while fishing it.