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”.
Mid teens Brown trout caught in June
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.
Reflections on Lake Ontario Fishing Season 2016
My reflections on Lake Ontario Fishing Season 2016 run the gamete of challenging to frustrating to just plain always having to adjust to ever changing conditions. Such was the 2016 season on Lake Ontario this past year. Everything that was assumed to be normal wasn’t and having to re-invent the wheel was. Let’s start with the month of June. As many of you know and for those who don’t, June is our typical trophy brown trout month. This year,2016, it just plain wasn’t. Cold clear water close to shore made brown trout fishing almost non existent to just plain impossible. You just can’t catch what isn’t there! So what’s a charter to do?
Welcome mister Lake Trout to help save the day. When clients wanted to just bend rods and catch some fish, we targeted Lake Trout. Not planning on having to do this, we scrambled up some of the laker tackle that we had on-board and put it down to capture lake trout. Most days they were fairly easy to catch but then again there were always those days that you really had to work for them. Our best items by far were large cowbells with either spin and glows or peanuts trailing behind while bouncing bottom and stirring up mud. On any given day lakers could be found from 120 ft all the way out to 200 plus feet depending on the conditions. Some days you could see these bottom dwellers on your fish finder while other days you couldn’t, even though they were there! After writing this, I’ve decided to break this report down into sections by month. Our next report will detail our July experiences along with some of its nuances and how we dealt with them to keep the rods bending.
Lake Ontario 2016 season ended and is now in the books. It will go down as one of the most challenging seasons for numbers but one of the best seasons for trophy fish in both the king salmon and steelhead categories. We also managed to capture a few decent size lake trout and a brown trout or two as well.
The season started out with little to no brown trout fishing opportunities to be had. The winds and water temperatures created some of the absolute worse brown trout fishing conditions that we have seen in over thirty years of fishing for brown trout during the month of June. We did however, have the option to fish for bottom hugging lake trout which we did. On most days good numbers were available along with some very nice specimens that were brought to the net.
17 lb steelhead
It isn’t often that steelhead in excess of 17 lbs are harvested as like the one in the photo above. It was harvested on light tackle with a spoon.
Lake trout were readily available when there were no brown trout to go after including the laker above which weighed in the teens.
What was really funny was that this nice sized mid teen brown trout was taken when we were trolling for king salmon.Go figure!
Bittersweet top award goes to Justin Furbush from Maine for boating this 34 plus pound monster king salmon on an afternoon trip with us. Wish that Justin was in the fall LOC Derby as this fish most undoubtedly would have taken top honors netting him over $25000.00 in prize money.