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Top Fishing Charters in Lake Ontario

Fishing in Lake Ontario

Lake Ontario fishing charters have a lot of secrets to keep. Even though it’s the smallest of the big lakes, its waters run deep. ‘The Lake of Shining Wonders’ is an ecological wonder.

All of the waters from the Great Lakes and rivers flow through Lake Ontario. Its tributary, in turn, passes them further into the Atlantic Ocean, where they find their resting place. And if you come to think of it, there was a reason to name a whole province after the lake. Whether it’s a tribute to one of the best freshwater fisheries in the world or for some other reason, it doesn’t even matter.

Lake Ontario fish species

Salmon

Salmon fishing in Lake Ontario is something we have all heard of. There are many species present, but Pacific and Chinook Salmon are the absolute kings. Their numbers in the lake can easily outshine those of Coho, Atlantic, and Pink Salmon. But even though Lake Ontario is famous for its so-called ‘Salmon fever’, its generous waters boast the largest variety of freshwater fish in the world. There is just about everything to your liking.

From east to west, the waters of Lake Ontario spoil you with choices. There is more than enough here to make you want to spend every single day fishing. The lake’s species, styles, and seasons are incredible! But let’s talk about them one at a time.

Trout

Salmon are the gamest fish on the lake but Trout fishing also keeps up. Steelhead, Lake Trout, and Brown Trout are top targets for anglers who are game enough to tackle them. They are world-renowned for their brilliant leaps when they are hooked.

Walleye

Lake Ontario Walleye fishing is another thing that keeps fishermen busy around the clock. Yes, Lake Erie is not the only place in the world that holds the excellent sport and table fare! Lake Ontario’s tremendous Walleye have been a highlight for thousands of anglers for quite some time.

Bass

And finally, Lake Ontario fishing charters can put you on Bass, America’s most popular game fish. There are Largemouth, Smallmouth, Spotted, Striped Bass, and some other species to your liking.

Lake Ontario Fishing Seasons

Lake Ontario wakes up from its slumber in spring. The local anglers are all on the alert, ready to cast for Steelhead, Brown Trout, Chinook Salmon, and Pacific Salmon within just 1 mile of the shore. Their technique of choice is trolling a variety of spoons using downriggers. One of the hottest tips around is to cast cleos and pixies (types of spoons) for greater results. They are trolled below and above the marked target. Easy!

Warmer waters along the shore are your place to be if you are after Brown Trout. Brownies move offshore as the lake begins to warm. Then, as the thermocline develops, they are usually found around it. Depending on the month, you will be switching from trolling with downriggers to flat-lining.

Summer fishing in Lake Ontario is once again about trolling spoons near schools of baitfish. The only difference is that you will need to head further offshore into deeper water. At times you may find your Salmon over 500 feet down. They love cooler water!

In the autumn months, Salmon and Trout move inshore to spawn. They gather all together at river months to chill just a little bit before moving upstream. And anglers don’t waste their time! You can find a large variety of boats trolling with spoons and plugs within sight of the shore.

Fall doesn’t mean the end of the season though. If anything, fishing can only amp up in the tributaries, rivers, and streams. But it’s another story.

Lake Ontario fishing charters options

Some say that fishing for Salmon and Trout on Lake Ontario can be somewhat intimidating. You don’t know how to start and where to go. And that’s exactly why you need a local guide to put you on fish.

Say you have a group of four fishing buddies. The lake’s captains will charge you around $400 for a five-hour trip, give or take $25. Even if you don’t end up with a nice mixed bag, you will most likely still be able to come back to shore with your limits.

For eight amazing hours on the lake, you will pay more or less $600. Any trip option can be fast and furious. But since in summer you will have to travel longer to get to the fishing grounds, it’s wise to book a full day.

The fish palette on Lake Ontario varies throughout the season. 10 to 20-pound class Chinook won’t show up until very late spring. Before that, it’s great to concentrate on Brown Trout and Steelhead. Late summer months are awesome for those anglers who want some fat catches. But it doesn’t even matter when you come and for how long - nothing beats a day of fishing Lake Ontario.

Prepare for your trip

You will need to purchase a valid fishing license.

Lake Ontario
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Lake Ontario Fishing Seasons

Happy New Year everybody! Lake Ontario is asleep but celebrating. Ice fishermen head for Trout and Walleye in the tributaries and the lake’s captains are dreaming about the upcoming season. 

Lake Ontario might not be ready yet, but the tributaries are still hot. The Niagara bar is all about a lot of action right now if there’s no high winds. 

It’s Fish O’clock on the lake. The shoreline of the ‘Big Pond’ invites you for an exciting day on the water and some Brown Trout to boat. Look for a pocket of warm water and you are good to go! 

April is prime Brown Trout time. They can range from 8 to 20+ pounds! Coho, Chinook, and Steelhead can also be found for those who know where to search for them. If you are not hooking, keep looking! 

The west part of the lake holds early spring Cohos. Head to the Niagara River area to land your Salmon. The western end is just where they concentrate right now! ‘Football’ Brown Trout are around Oswego, Sodus, and Fair Haven. 

The summer has begun, which means that Cohos are scattered lake-wide. Fishing can be pretty hot outside Oswego. As the surface temperatures warm up, fishing for Steelhead begins to heat up.

Lake Ontario is welcoming anyone with open arms. You can find Salmon and Trout anywhere along the coastline. The eastern part of the lake holds Salmon and Brown Trout, while the west end is all about Steelhead.  

Salmon are staging in the southeast corner, preparing to head to the Salmon River. Head there for your pre-spawn catch. Or if you haven’t had enough of the lake, target Lake Trout instead of Salmon. They can be found anywhere!

All New York’s ports are great for Salmon fishing. The wild fish are heading to the streams. Check Mexico Bay in the Southeast corner. Or battle your autumn Salmon in the rivers’ mouths. 

Trolling for Steelhead can be a nice end to the season. And if you manage to land Silver Salmon to make a mixed bag, than you can definitely call it a success. If it’s too rainy on the Lake, Salmon and Trout can run to the tributaries a bit faster. 

Anglers head to Salmon River to get their own dose of Coho and Silver. Washington Steelhead in the tributaries is a thing for those who is not ready to wrap up the season yet. Rainbows are feeding aggressively - pack your rods and go fishing. 

December Steelhead is something that keeps anglers busy. The lake’s tributaries hold big fish and a lot of snow! Get yourself an early Christmas present and go fishing. 

Lake Ontario Fishing Calendar

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What People Are Saying About Lake Ontario

"Full day steelhead trip on salmon River."

Paul Platukis fished with Dreams Come True - Drift Boat on November 11, 2018

Book a drift boat trip and learn the techniques of fishing for those big fish. Also, you get a first hand view of the river.

"Walleye and Salmon with FishMaster"

Nicolas Demougeot fished with Fishmaster Ultimate - Lake Ontario on October 2, 2018

Tail end of the season is "supposedly" slow but was not in my case. Walleye and Salmon still biting a plenty and NOBODY on the water!

"Half Day Trip Captain Mike."

Dirk Heine fished with Fishin' Clinician Charters on September 30, 2018

Be prepared for a good time, first call service & great food.

"Drift boat trip with Captain Rick Pecci"

Terri Flowers fished with Dreams Come True - Drift Boat on September 29, 2018

Do some research on the weather the water temperature. If you are booking this kind of tour make sure you ask your captain questions. They will prepare you.

Top Targeted Species in Lake Ontario

Rainbow Trout (Steelhead)

Lake Trout

Brown Trout

Salmon (Chinook)

Top Lake Ontario Destinations