Open Water Fishing In February
What to do for Fishing opportunities in mid Feb these days?
Its been some weird weather for fishing lately for sure. With little to no ice around here, it has local anglers wondering what to target and where.
No doubt, Trout are always a popular target this time of year. Where & how can vary often with many options.
Brown Trout & Rainbow Trout (aka Steelhead) are always available.
In the early fall they enter rivers & harbors at different times. Different classes & strains of fish will "run" and spawn at different times. Browns are generaly done spawning by early December while Rainbows can and will spawn at any time from mid fall to May. After they both spawn they will drop back out to the lake. Based on our location along Lake Ontario, we have lots of spots to choose from to fish for them. During the winter months these fish will often cycle in & out of the local harbors, marinas and river mouths. While they will always happily eat eggs that are naturally around from spawning fish, these fish are generally on the hunt for shiners, smelt, small shad or alewife, and even gobies.
For shore anglers you can cast spoons, jigs or swim baits. Or you can either bottom bounce 3 ways rigs or float fish with minnows, streamers, plastics, beads, yarn or roe. Boat anglers will typically bottom bounce these baits on the 3-way rigs.
Also with the way the weather has been lately, those that want, can even troll. There will be fish cruising the shallows feeding actively. Areas around the creek/river/harbor mouths will be best. Light line, planer boards, with small sticks baits & light flutter spoons will do the trick.
Another species to target is Walleye. There are lots of options where the season is open. Spots like the lower Niagara river and the Grand river from Dunnville to Lake Erie are open until March 1. Where the Upper Niagara/Lake Erie & if you want to travel, the Detroit River is open year round. Bucktail jigs and jigs with plastic swim baits are top baits. As we all know, walleye are active feeders when the sun goes down, so keep that in mind when conditions allow.
Hopefully this helps some of you, as we navigate the next few weeks. As we have learned the last few years here in southern Ontario. There is excellent year round fishing both open water & ice, you just have to adapt & pivot. Whatever you choose, be safe.