Water fleas on Lake Ontario came back with a vengeance this past season around mid July of 2018. Up until then, we were absolutely crushing the king salmon on light line with spoons. Not anymore!!!! Immediately, we tried switching over to the tactics that had served us so well in past years.

Several years back, we dedicated a page titled “How to Keep Those Waterfleas Off“. The methods used then were quite effective combating water fleas on Lake Ontario, that is, until this past season. One of the keys to combating water fleas in the past was line diameter. More specifically, increasing the line diameter enough so that the fleas couldn’t wrap their grubby little pincers around it and congregate.


Water fleas on Lake Ontario
Spiny Water Fleas Found in Lake Ontario

Bring Out The Big Guns

We brought out the heavy rigs, our Shimano 700 Tekotas spooled with 50 lb test Ande mono. But, guess what! For the first time ever, they didn’t work like they used to. The 50 lb test loaded up with water fleas in a matter of minutes. Our 30 lb wires loaded up rather quickly, too. You could literally watch the wires lift up in the water column over time as they coated up with fleas.

It pays to have friends. Capt. Bob Pultorak from TK Charters handed us a spool of Blood Run Sea Flee line to try out. We pulled off a 100 ft of the Ande and spliced in the Sea Flee to fill the reel. I will say this. Although it didn’t completely keep the fleas off, it discouraged them some. It left us enough time to go around the boat and clear the fleas off the other lines till it was time to do it again.

Working To Beat The Fleas

What we did was to pull a rigger and clean it, then put it back out. Pull the other rigger(we were only running two riggers because of the fleas), clean it, and then reset it. Next, pull and reset the divers. Our Telora roller rods cut the fleas off when we reeled the divers up to the bitter end.

The fleas lasted for a bit over three weeks. If you wanted bites, you had to work for them by keeping the lines clean. We constantly worked around the boat pulling, cleaning, and resetting rods. Pulling riggers also helped to keep the Fins downrigger cables clean, as well. Coppers ran much cleaner. Their attitude going through the water on a gradual decline by design help defeat the flea build up.

Using the Sea Flea line helped. Methodically cleaning lines was necessary and needed. Running multiple coppers off of each board when possible was the most effective method, because coppers were the least affected of all by the water flea build up! They needed virtually no cleaning allowing them more fishing time, not to mention more lures in the water.

Let’s hope in 2019 the water fleas aren’t as bad. If they are, you can bet we we’ll be doing the same thing as we did in 2018 as outlined above.

You may want to check out a previous post on fishing copper line

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