Best Time to Fish Lake Ontario for Trout and Salmon

Best Time to Fish Lake Ontario for Trout and Salmon is a typical question that I’m often asked by potential customers looking to book a Lake Ontario trout or salmon fishing trip out of Oswego,NY. with us here at Ace Charters. The answer really depends on what you would like to fish for and how you would like to go about doing so. It also depends a lot on the weather and which way the wind blows as well. There are several variables that influence just how good the fishing will be and they all play a part. In this article, we will try to give you some valuable insights as to the how and when to hit it just right or at least try to stack the odds in your favor a bit more.

Best Time to Fish Lake Ontario for Trout and Salmon

When potential clients contact us about a possible Lake Ontario fishing trip, usually at some point we try to determine what species of trout or salmon they would like to target. There have been  historical trends which favor certain species to be available in certain locations at certain times of the year. For those of my clients that prefer to target trophy Brown Trout on one of our charters, we highly recommend the month of June to do so. This time of the year usually finds the larger adult Brown trout in 60 ft of water or less, and anywhere from on the surface to down on or near the bottom on the substrate where 55 degrees intersects with the bottom. Browns weighing typically in the mid to upper teens are common and are an absolute blast to catch on the light tackle that we employ.

A tank of a brown trout weighing in the teens

The best time to fish Lake Ontario for trout and salmon, a mixed bag if you will, is during the month of July. At this time of the year one could fish for offshore king salmon or near shore brown trout depending on the weather or preference. It really does depend upon angler preference when possible, but when the weather limits the offshore fishing due to high wave heights, the near shore brown trout fishing can save the day. Lake trout are also still available to some degree to fish for if one desires to go after them. July kings are some of our favorite fish to target as they are silver in color,actively feeding and will feed throughout the day. Usually an offshore endeavor, multiple rods as well as multiple hookups are experienced with little to no boat traffic to inhibit the experience.

As summer wanes on, Lake Ontario king salmon begin to feel the spawning urge, and will shift from actively feeding offshore to staging off of their pre-natal rivers and streams. They usually can be found in more shallow water from 150 ft to much less. In essence, this congregates them and makes them easier to find most of the time. They will begin to darken in color, develop a kype, and will attain the largest physical size of their lives.They stage and perhaps enter and exit the river mouths through around the 2nd week of September before entering the rivers to commit to spawn for good by the 2nd week of October. There are many variables which may affect the timing of this phenomenon urging it to occur a bit earlier or later. Water flow, water temperature, and water clarity are just some of the contributing factors. Pictures of a salmon kype can be seen here!

In summary, once one determines which fish specie(s) he would like to target, using the above information can help increase the odds to a successful Lake Ontario fishing experience. But please be aware that mother nature always has the last word when it comes to environmental factors that influence and control what the fish will do and what the fishing could be like. Check out our posts describing the past 2016 fishing season and what our clients and we experienced on a near daily basis. More recently, our 2019 fishing report where you will notice the similarities! It will share some insights as to how we deal with the curve balls that mother nature throws at us, especially, when things don’t go as planned.

On a bit of a different note, one thing that we have noticed over the last several decades of fishing on Lake Ontario as well as other bodies of water when running charters is that clients that bring a positive attitude,are there to have fun, and enjoy just being out on the water, tend to walk away with a positive experience and a cooler full of fish. There is something to be said for bringing positive karma or aura while fishing on a charter. It pleases the fish Gods and makes for much better luck!    So, when is the best time to fish Lake Ontario for trout and salmon for you ?

Check out our 2023 Lake Ontario Fishing Forecast

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