Mid September - What's next on Lake Ontario?
As we get into the back of September, this becomes a common question. At this point many ( we never really know how many) of the mature salmon have entered the rivers/harbors & the rest will trickle in over the next few weeks.
So what does this mean for fishing opportunities over the next couple months?
Yes you can try to fish high potential spots for the remaining matures, but expect lower catch rates. The best bet is to target "next year's " crop of salmon & steelhead. Those fish will be anywhere that the bait is. On most days you can try to target 100-150 FOW and see what is out there. Generally the fish wont be overly deep. 30-60 feet down will often be zone, depending on where the temp break (thermocline) will be. Those with a down speed/temp unit (Fish Hawk) have the advantage of finding that. If not much is happening, continue trolling deeper. A spread of regular sized spoons would allow you to troll around 2.5-2.8 MPH to cover water quickly. You could mix in a mag spoon or a 8" flasher/fly too if you wanted. Popular spoon color choices are Mixed Veggies, NBK, Lemon Ice, Orange Crush & Caramel Dolphin.
Another fun option is to jig for Lake Trout. These fish are very plentiful & often easy to locate. Look at your Navionics charts for significant structure/contours along the south shore. A 7'-7.5' medium-medium heavy spinning or casting combo would work well. Popular baits are jigging spoons & 3-4' swim baits. Lake trout on a lighter set up are much more enjoyable to catch then on the heavy trolling gear. Keep in mind the season for them closes Sept 30-Dec 1 in FMZ 20.
A word of caution. As the fall season goes on, there will be less fellow boaters/anglers out there, so choose your days wisely with the weather if you plan to venture offshore.
As the weeks go on, more brown trout will begin coming in too, and we'll discuss that further later!