Using Your Fishfinder Basics

Fishfinders and nuances

 Using Your Fishfinder Basics

When using your fishfinder fishing on Lake Ontario there are nuances that will make your outing more successful. A recent discussion on Lake Ontario Southshore fishing reports prompted me to write this article. It all started with someone inquiring about purchasing the Fishhawk X4D or just the X4. It created a lengthily discussion with many participants.

The gist of it was that you didn’t need to know the actual depth of your downriggers because you can just “mark them on your fishfinder to see where the’re at”. Nothing could be further from the truth, especially when the boat is moving. As discussed in the Southshore report, it was pointed out that fishfinder transducers put out  sonar signals in the form of  cone angles. These angles vary with increases and decreases in depth. This alone affects where marks appear on the fishfinder. It works this way!

The cone angle produced from the transducer is shaped like a dunce cap. The deeper the water, the larger the area of the bottom the cone covers. The outside edge of the cone angle, which equates to the hypotenuse of a right triangle, reads the deepest as it is farthest away from the transducer face. By definition, this is not directly under the boat which would be in the center of the cone angle.The leading edge of the cone angle (hypotenuse) marks objects or bottom. These marks are subsequently displayed farther from the boat and will display on the fishfinder deeper than what they actually are.

fishfinder transducer

Thru Hull Transducers Have a Greater Affect on Accuracy

Those of us with through hull transducers have to take into account the distance from the transducer to the transom of the boat. Or more specifically, the distance between the downriggers and the transducer placement. This factor alone will determine some of the error which will be inherent in the fishfinder presentation. On our charter boat the “Ace”, our riggers show 9 ft. deeper on the display than where they actually are. This coincides with the transducer being 9 ft. forward of stern on my vessel.

Downrigger blow back, due to depth and speed, can exacerbate the problem. The transducer by design is going to mark the objects  and display those that are farthest away from the transducer. It will also mark and display those objects that are directly in the center of the cone angle,too! Displayed on the graph are straight line distances of echos whether angular and /or perpendicular . Remember, the hypotenuse of the cone angle is longer and will display deeper.

So how would one determine just how far your fishfinder will be off for your application? It is possible using trigonometry to determine these values along with some basic math. Read, “Do You Know Where Your Stuff is Running?”  For the mathematically challenged and those who don’t wish to constantly recalculate figures, the Fishhawk X4D will do this for you in virtually real time.

Here are a few related articles to consider:

Actual Dipsey Diver-Downrigger Depth

Running Slide Divers and Lite Bites

Using The X4D on Lake Ontario

Running Slide Divers and Lite Bites

Running Slide Divers and Slide Diver Lite Bites

Running slide divers on Lake Ontario has its time and place. On our Lake Ontario fishing charters, we can be found using them for multiple species at different times of the year. There are a few subtle differences we employ depending on the species and the time of year. We will discuss them in this article.

Running Slide Divers

When the water is cold on or near the surface and the fish are high in the column, they can be real spooky. This goes for most of the species we target including brown trout, steelhead, and salmon.  Getting the bait far away from the boat helps generate bites when fish are suspended or hugging bottom in 30 feet or less. Enter the slide diver presentation.

Deploying Slide Divers

Running slide divers allows us to stretch the baits significantly behind the slide diver, much more so than a conventional dipsey diver. Typically, we run our baits around 40 ft. behind the slide diver. To get our baits away from the boat and farther to the side, we dial the slide diver out to a 4 setting. It really helps to have a line counter reel when deploying slide divers.

When running slide divers or most other conventional divers, knowing where they are running in the water column is paramount to success. Using the Fishhawk TD takes all of the guess work out of the set-up. The TD will tell you exactly where in the column your divers are running. More specifically where the diver itself is tracking in the water column.

Where the lure itself is running can be a bit deeper depending on what type of lure it is. For example, a J-Plug will dive to around 6 ft. by itself and must be figured into the equation. Spoons and floating stick baits behave much differently. It pays to know the dive curves of the baits that you are running.

Slide Diver Lite Bites

Fishing spring browns requires finesse. Leadering down to 6-8 pound florocarbon increases bites especially in clear water. Here, we like to use slide diver lite bites which allows for a lighter pressure setting to trip the diver! The Slide Diver Lite Bite will not trip while deployed until you do so. We set up the slide and lite bite divers basically the same. Our main line is 50 lb test Fins spectra Braid. Next, we splice in a 30 ft. section of 20 lb. test Ande florocarbon which is terminated to a Spro Power swivel with a bead in front of it. Last, we attach a 10-15 ft. section of the appropriate pound test of flourocarbon to a snap or snap swivel.

Here are some related articles worth exploring:

Setting Up Dipsey Divers

Rigging Dipsey Divers

Actual Dipsey Diver-Downrigger Depth

Lake Ontario King Salmon Charters

Lake Ontario Steelhead Fishing Charters

Fishfinder Basics

Outlook For Lake Ontario Fishing 2018

4 man limit of kings

Outlook For Lake Ontario Fishing 2018

The Outlook For Lake Ontario Fishing 2018 is excellent. There are several reasons for this conclusion and we will discuss them in this blog post. This forecast is for the Oswego, New York area as this is where we run our Lake Ontario fishing charters on a daily basis during the season.

To have adult kings and lots of them, you need large quantities of previous year age classes. During our 2017 charter fishing season, there was an abundance of one and two year king salmon in the catches. This pattern played out during most of the season until staging time. Most days, there were always some younger fish in the mix. We think of it like this. You can’t have 3 yr. old fish without 2 yr. old fish. You can’t have 2 yr. old fish without 1 yr. old fish.

Outlook For Lake Ontario Fishing 2018 King Salmon Charters

Four different age classes of King Salmon in the mix.

As previously mentioned, empirical evidence indicates that there were strong age classes during the 2017 season. These age classes have to eat to survive. This brings us to my next observation. Throughout the 2017 charter fishing season, there were very few days where we couldn’t find bait. Alewives seemed to be everywhere on our end of the Lake. The fishfinder was lit up with bait fish and predator marks.

Another overlooked reason for good survival rates was due to a lack of fishing pressure. Tournament participation was down some for a lot of the locally held tournaments. During the Atommik Invitational, all though they had a fantastic turnout, the rough weather did put a damper on the catch rates. Less fish caught means more fish to catch.

Besides a good outlook for the  Lake Ontario Fishing 2018 season for king salmon, brown trout season looks to be promising as well. During the month of June in 2017, brown trout were being targeted during the first few weeks. The fishing at that time for browns was good to excellent. Around the end of the second week of June, at the end of the alewive spawning, all three age classes of kings moved in to feed on them. Most of the charters, including us, switched over to king salmon fishing. Some of our clients wanted to catch kings. This took the pressure off the brown trout.

For all of these reasons mentioned above, the outlook for Lake Ontario Fishing 2018 looks strong. We are looking forward to another banner year for both browns and salmon. The Lake trout also had very little pressure put on them as well. Lake trout can receive a lot of fishing pressure when the other species get tough to catch.

Feel free to contact us with any questions about the upcoming 2018 season.

Check out our new post addition to our blog here.

 

 

Rigging Dipsey Divers

 Rigging Dipsey Divers

Rigging Dipsey divers the right way will increase your bites dramatically. After years of experimenting and dialing in, we have found  just the right set-ups to really increase the odds of getting bit. This post will try to explain the set-ups we use on a daily basis while running our Lake Ontario fishing charters.

rigging dipsey divers

Walker deeper Divers

The most critical component rigging dipsey divers is using the right line from the diver to the lure. We use 25 lb test Ande fluorocarbon for all of our attractor applications when running standard size #1 Luhr Jenson Dipseys or 107 Walkers. We leader down to 20 lb test Ande fluorocarbon for salmon spoon applications.  30 lb test Ande is used on those days when Mag divers are called for.

Now that you have our favorite line types  from the diver to the lure or attractor, just how long should the leaders be? The answer is that it varies depending on lure type and trolling speed. The faster the trolling speed, the longer the dipsey lead length we employ. We measure our lead lengths by counting the number of wraps around the rudder of the dipsey; one complete revolution per wrap.

 17 wraps are used for our attractor presentations when trolling fast. When trolling slower, 13 wraps or less is used rigging dipsey divers for attractors. For most spoon presentations, 20 wraps are used. Note that with the longer leads, you will have to hand line the fish to the net at the stern of the boat.

Brown trout fishing requires some modifications rigging dipsey divers. To get the bites and correct lure action,lighter leader is often times required. Slide Diver and Slide Diver Lite Bites are our go to items when chasing browns on Lady O. We will discuss those in a later post.

Our newest post is here.

Setting Up Dipsey Divers

Setting Up Dipsey Divers

Setting up dipsey divers to run properly on your fishing vessel will most certainly up your chances for trolling success. In this blog post, we will go over how we employ our dipseys during our Lake Ontario Fishing Charters. The types of rods, reels, dipseys, and rod holders that we use on our charters will be discussed. So, lets get to it!

One of the most overlooked items when it comes to setting up dipsey divers are the rod holders. This is the one area where you do not want to scrimp on, because a king salmon bite on a dipsey can be absolutely brutal. On our charter boat the “Ace“, we use Bert’s Ratchet Rod Holders exclusively, and have been doing so for almost 20 yrs. They take the abuse a king salmon dishes out.setting up dipsey divers

Our favorite dispsey rods for our wires are Shimano Teloras with roller guides. We run both the 8 ft. and 10 ft. versions depending on the application. We also run double divers as well. Having different length diver rods facilitates this. For our superline dipseys, we run Telora  TLA100MH-2 rods with non roller eyelets as the non abrasive superline won’t hurt the eyelets like wire will.

For our diver set-ups,Shimano Tekota reels with Tournament Master Drag washers installed are the cats meow. We have been running them since their inception on our Ontario fishing charters without so much as a hick-up. For our 20 lb wires, we run Tekota 600 lcs. Our 30 lb wires are on Tekota 700 lcs. Our favorite wire brand is Mason multi-strand in the brown color.

Last but not least, are the dipsey divers themselves. We run both Luhr  Jensen and Walker Deeper divers. The Walkers don’t dive quite as deep as the Luhr Jensens do, but no need to worry about the rings with the Walkers. Which ever diver you choose to run, using the Fishhawk TD in conjunction with your set-up will ensure increasing your odds for success.

So there you have it. These are the set-ups we use on all of our fishing charters on Lake Ontario and have been ding so for years.

For more information feel free to check out our Lake Ontario Fishing Charters blog which is packed full of useful fishing information and how to’s when it comes to fishing Lake Ontario out of Oswego,NY. or feel free to check out the following links:

We also offer Hudson River Fishing Charters from the end of April through Memorial Day