How to Fish Copper Line on Lake Ontario

Fish Copper Line on Lake Ontario


Capt. Jimmy Samia

   We fish copper line on Lake Ontario virtually on a daily basis when targeting king salmon and sometimes when targeting brown trout as well. It can be one of the most deadliest Lake Ontario fishing charter techniques when it comes to putting fish in the boat, especially on those tough days. In this post I will discuss how we choose what to deploy in copper set-ups in terms of lengths to match the desired temperature depths.

Fish copper line to catch kings!

Fish copper line to catch kings like this.

In a previous post titled “How to Catch Thirty Pound Lake Ontario King Salmon“, I mentioned that over ninety percent of the time, I am fishing in temperature when chasing kings. I monitor that temperature location in the water column with a FishHawk X4D down speed and temperature unit constantly. The nice thing about the X4D system is that it gives me the actual depth in the water column of where my preferred temperature is. Once I know this, I can accurately choose what length copper line to fish with.

On my charter boat The “Ace“, we fish copper line made available to us by Atommik  trolling flies, exclusively. It is .037 in diameter and has a breaking strength of 45 lbs. We purchase it from Atommik in bulk spools of 3500 ft. which saves us considerably in cost per foot of the copper line. Atommik also has spools of pre-measured copper line lengths for those of you who prefer it that way to put on your own reels.

Atommik’s copper line is very uniform and day after day use has proven that it has an effective sink rate of 22 ft. of depth for every 100 ft. of copper line let out at our typical salmon trolling speed when pulling attractors and flies. To fish copper line in the temperature zone that we are targeting, a little simple math must be employed. A typical example to fish copper line knowing the actual depth of the temperature would go like this. Target temperature depth is at 90 ft. in the column. Using the 22 ft per 100 ft. formula for sink rate we can determine that we will need approximately 400 ft. of copper to get that deep in the water column. 90 ft. divided by 22 ft. equals about 4… 100 ft. sections or 400 ft. of copper which should be traveling in about the 88 ft. range.  If we wanted to target down 100 ft. in the column, we would fish copper line in a 450 ft. section; (4 x 22 ft. plus 11 ft. for the 50 ft. section) would put us down around 99 ft. in the column.

Having sections of copper in different lengths available on the boat on different reels with different pre-fabricated lengths would allow you the flexibility to choose the right amount of copper to match the desired depth. On our charter boat, we have lengths from 100 ft.  all the way up to 750 ft. in 50 ft. increments with most of the lengths having two reels. This allows us to accurately fish copper line on more than one set-up at a time which increases bites when the coppers are hot. You can go to our main website and check out the Info and tips section to read up more on the intricacies involved to fish copper line.