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Lake Ontario is on Fire!
Aaron Shirley posted a topic in General DiscussionA few weeks ago, I joined my friend Glen with his buddy Alan for browns on the shorelines of Lake Ontario. It was a great day out, as we caught a bunch of feisty browns in shallow water. Storm Thundersticks were the hot ticket trolled at 1.8mph. A great way to kick off the open water season! Glen and I fished with Tony on the north shore of Lake Ontario this past Sunday after Glen and Tony fished for lake trout on Saturday. It was an absolutely beautiful weekend to be out, and the fishing was fantastic! Glen and Tony did well catching lakers on Saturday, and managed to boat a behemoth over 25 pounds to currently lead the SCGF spring derby in the lake trout division. The guys asked if I wanted to join them on Saturday as well, but I declined as I didn’t have a derby ticket. I had a feeling! I bought my ticket on Saturday, and headed out with them on Sunday morning. Glen with his derby leading laker We got out Sunday bright and early, started setting lines and it didn’t take long to find the kings. Riggers and Mag Dipsys were the ticket. We didn’t get a bite off a standard Dipsy or planer boards. All the action came at 2.3mph at the ball on custom Big Erns done by Mike Blake. Mike does the nicest custom colours I have ever seen, and it regularly pays off for us. I also love the Shoehorn spoons, as they also have great colours and run well at slower speeds in the spring. As a bonus, the Shoehorn spoons are compatible with Big Erns. My favourite set up is a mix of Big Erns and Shoehorn spoons early in the season. The water temp was 38F to 39F from top to bottom most areas we fished. We all had a blast hooking up with almost 30 fish mostly kings. We even had a couple double headers, but it was a steady pick for the most part. At one point, it was hard to keep the hottest Big Ern down in green/silver with black dots. Some kings didn’t even wait for it to be let fully out before nailing it! The three hottest spoons. I get the feeling this will be a great year on Lake Awesome! It was great times with great friends. It doesn’t get any better than that. We are all thinking about making the next trip out again! Good fishing! Aaron
Aaron Shirley posted a topic in General DiscussionI had a chance to take out a couple of friends Tony and Glen to Lake Erie for walleye recently. We hadn’t fished Lake Erie for walleye in years, so some preparations were in order. Tony headed over to my place one evening for a beer and to help rig our gear. It helped a lot, thanks Tony! After tying up 14 worm harnesses, spooling 30lb Sufix braid on 4 walleye sized Hydros and RSCII reels, making leaders and getting the dusty walleye gear out, we were all set. I ended up making up some custom Colorado blades painted and taped up, and my son helped me tie up another 6 worm harnesses the following day. We enjoy our time together doing ‘arts and crafts’ LOL. We left early so that we could get out for first light and shake off the walleye rust with our set-up. We also had a major storm a couple days earlier and a cold front. We got set up with 4 small sized 000 Dipsy Divers on a 0 setting and worm harnesses, and ran them from 90- to 220 back and clipped on in-line planer boards. It’s a good thing the walleye line counter reels hold over 1000-feet of 30lb braid, as we had almost 500-feet out after the in-line boards were deployed. We rounded out our set-up with two large sized 001 Dipsy Divers right off the boat on a 2.5 to 3 setting with worm harnesses. We started in 65-feet of water with some tips from a couple friends I spoke with and headed deeper. We didn’t get into much and had to go into search mode. We started switching up colours and trying spoons and stick baits as well, even though the eastern basin of Lake Erie is predominantly a worm harness bite. After a while we got into a few walleye and marked some waypoints. We found a good group of walleye schooled up in one tight area, and ended up working the 4 waypoints hard by late morning. The weather was great, the waves were perfect and we were catching walleye and having a great time. We had to watch the rod tips carefully, as the white bass were hitting and tougher to tell a fish was on the line. The deeper Dipsys off the in-line boards did well 225- to 250-feet back, and the big size 001 Dipsys off the boat did well 140- to 170-feet back on a 2.5 and 3 setting. It was a good thing I spent more time tying up more custom harnesses with my son, as the white/yellow/green black dot harnesses were working well. We did get some on watermelon and blue and white as well as a few others. Stick baits took a couple bites, but harnesses were best. We tied up the worm harnesses with 30lb fluorocarbon approximately 24” in length. The reason I prefer 30lb fluorocarbon is that the clevises turn on the fluorocarbon causing a weak point over time, and 30lb Sufix is a perfect solution to help prevent break-offs over lighter line. We also ran a 7-foot fluorocarbon leader in 15lb test from the Dipsy Divers to the worm harness or stick bait and spoon on all Dipsys. We found the walleye suspended in the water column from 35- to 65-feet down over 65- to 75 feet of water. Our speed seemed best at roughly 2.6mph. We got into a bunch of walleye, white bass and even a steelhead. We all got to take home some fresh walleye and had a blast out fishing! Good fishing! Aaron
Lake Ontario is Hot!
Aaron Shirley posted a topic in General DiscussionI had a friend Glen out on Monday for some spring trolling on Lake Ontario. We caught a lot of fish and had a blast! We couldn't keep the lake trout off our lures, and we also got some great brown trout, coho and chinook salmon. A few double headers had us busy as well. We had an incredible day with a mix of sun and cloud, warm temps and calm water. I absolutely love it! We launched at Port Dalhousie on the south shore and fished stained water from 20-feet to 40-feet in depth. We thought about going in tight for brown trout, but we were getting browns where we were fishing anyway, so we stayed a bit deeper hoping for kings. We only got 2 chinook in a double header, but the lake trout and browns kept us busy. The best water temps we found were 43F. The colder clearer water was not productive. The stained warmer water was full of fish from top to bottom. Four-inch Shoehorn spoons did the most bites off divers, although we did get some fish off mono and stickbaits with inline Church planer baords. We let out approximately 120-feet with a deep diving lure such as a Reef Runner and Storm Thunderstick, then clipped on the board and let out another 250-feet. We got most of our fish off the Shoehorn spoons in yellow/green colours. Our best speeds were roughly 2.4mph. Good fishing! Aaron
Trolling Lake Ontario for Trophy Spring Browns
Aaron Shirley posted a topic in General DiscussionI had an opportunity to get out trolling for winter/early spring brown trout on Lake Ontario a couple of times recently. I had a great time and caught some nice fish. There is something special about trolling Lake Ontario in March with ice-covered piers and shoreline while most anglers aren't even thinking about their boats yet. Very few brave souls engage the icy elements and tricky launch ramps with salt and ice chisels to get out early in the year for trophy brown trout. Most of the time, I don't see anyone all day. The launch ramp is the most difficult part of the equation most times. Some ramps are simply not available or frozen up, requiring extensive chiseling and salt to launch. A four wheel drive truck is helpful, especially at the end of the day on an icy ramp. With the right conditions, a cold day in March can warm you up in a hurry when you tangle with a trophy sized brown trout! The shoreline from 5- to 15-feet of water seems best with in-line planer boards and shallow floating stick baits. The Storm Thunderstick has been my go-to lures of choice most days. I typically start with 60-feet of line out, attach an inline planer board, then let out another 160-feet or more. I then add another board inside approximately 75-100-feet out from the boat. I try various lures until I get bites on any given day. I find speeds of under 2mph is best in the cold water. Brown trout are available in shallow sandy areas on Lake Ontario in good numbers early in the year. If you can find stained green water on a beach or creek mouth, brown trout may be present. Brown trout are located all over Lake Ontario, but few anglers take advantage of them in March. April can see a bit of pressure for spring browns. The early spring can be a good time to catch big brown trout, and having little wind is a big factor when venturing out in the cold elements. I keep a close eye on weather and head in quickly with unstable conditions. Even then, I got screwed the other day. All weather reports said NO WIND all day. Well, it picked up bigtime and I had to pound back in big waves in icy cold conditions over 25k's!!! Not the most fun part of my trip, but it was worth it with the quality of browns I got. I spent well over an hour chiseling out a boat ramp this morning. Still about 2" of ice in the harbour, but I should be able to chisel that out when I launch the boat to get to open water. Maybe another hour worth of chiseling ice from the boat to get out. Hopefully I get to take advantage of my hard work this week, my arms are still jello! There are not many boat ramps free of ice yet, so you may need to take a drive with a chisel and shovel. I checked out 4 boat ramps today before I went to work on one. The only one of four that was even close to being ready. Good fishing! Aaron
FMZ20 Council (Lake Ontario)
Aaron Shirley posted a topic in General DiscussionFor those of you that are not aware, I joined the FMZ20 council late last year as a volunteer. As a council member, I would like to hear feedback on Lake Ontario fisheries, negative or positive, any ideas you have etc. Feedback on stocking or regulations etc. Feel free to send me a PM anytime regarding anything you would like regarding Lake Ontario. All the best, Aaron
Float Fishing Channel Cats!
Aaron Shirley posted a topic in General DiscussionItalo and I joined Jason and Tyler for a film shoot on an Erie tributary for channel cats on Friday. This would not be a typical shoot with 4 of us in the boat all float fishing. I worked all night on midnights and got out at 8am. I headed home, made coffee, took a quick shower, grabbed my gear and left to meet the guys. We got a late start at about 11am, but we were hopeful we would tag some midday cats. I rigged up a 10.6" medium heavy steelhead rod with a baitcaster and 20lb braid and 16 gram slip float. Inline weight, bead, swivel to about 16" 20lb fluoro lead to a 5/0 octopus hook. Pretty simple and really cool way to fish cats! I started off fishing shrimp, while Italo tried shad and the local boys had a cooler of vacuum sealed sucker chunks. I fished shrimp for hours without a fish, while the guys got some on sucker. I switched up and finally got a couple. We moved around from spot to spot trying the deeper areas with undercut banks and timber. It seemed the cats were not grouped up and spread out over the river. It was pretty cool to see a float drop and tag a feisty channel cat. The guys told us that many central Erie tribs have channel cats that are available from boat and shore. Typical rigs on bottom can work, but float fishing is the preferred way to target them. Unlike the Grand River, the channel cats come in much later and the fishing is good in May and June, and sometimes into July. This year, June and July has been good. Channel cats are common 4- to 8-pounds with several over 10lbs and up to 20lbs! It was a bit slower than when the guys fished a week earlier. They believe the cats are starting to migrate back out to the lake now after spawning. We got cats up to about 13lbs. Italo had the hot hand getting 4 cats, while the rest of us got a couple each and missed a couple bites. Here are some photos of cats that we got into. I'll definitely be floatin' cats again! Good fishing! Aaron
Healey Lake - Mactier
hutch4113 posted a topic in General DiscussionHi Everyone, Rented a cottage on Healey Lake this year. Wondering if anyone has been on this lake, and can tell me what to expect? I understand there are LB/SB and Pike - and maybe Walleye? Last report I could find on the Board was from 2007 - but nothing was posted on how the fishing was, etc. Anyway - always fun to try out a new lake. I will try to post what I get - if anything. Heading up 2nd week of July.
Trolling Bronte on Lake Ontario
Aaron Shirley posted a topic in General DiscussionI had the pleasure of having Greg Klatt and his son Mitch out on Lake Ontario yesterday. It was a beautiful day out to enjoy some trolling. Mitch had never caught a salmon before, so my goal was to get him into a nice king or two. We started in 50 fow and marked very little until we got into 75 fow, but not much to hold us there. We ended up in 150 fow quickly, as the picture on the sonar looked best. We got a lake trout right away down deep on a Coyote flasher and fly off the rigger 140 feet down. I believe Greg has that photo. We then got another hit shortly after. This time it was a king down deep on the same set-up and same depth and Greg got to tangle with it. It got slow after that as we got out a bit late for Lake Ontario kings, but we kept at it and got rewarded. We got several cohos up higher, but I don't think we got any or many photos of them. If we did, Greg has those as well. We marked a lot of hooks 40 to 80 feet down over the deeper water, but for some reason they had lock jaw. The bait balls were deep hugging bottom but very few hooks down deep. Even though the picture looked good, we moved shallower as we were not hitting kings. When we got into about 83 fow we marked some great bait balls, and not all hugging bottom. Shortly after trolling by this bait ball, the 300 copper reel starting singing as the in-line board got rocked back. This time an SD fly did the trick and Mitch boated his first ever king! Mitch was happy with this bad boy We got into some more cohos without photos, then we had to take a photo of Greg and this fish. It also hit the same set-up off 300 copper. I was so busy on the boat, I didn't notice it was such a nice bow until I saw the photo lol. The same copper set-up fired again with a crazy king cart-wheeling far behind the boat taking Mitch to task. It proved to get the better of him though as he did a long-line release lol. Unfortunately, we only got another coho after that to wrap it up off a 400 copper in over 100 fow. We called it a day late afternoon. We didn't tag a lot of kings, but we had some fun on the water with some cohos and a nice bow to keep our interest. I was a pleasure to have the guys out for something they don't normally get to do. Great company on the boat, and I'm sure Mitch was happy to boat the biggest king. It was a nice first king We found white and black green to be our best colours. All flashers and flies. Spoons and meat didn't fire once. The fish seem to be really scattered in the west end of the lake. Hopefully that changes soon and we light them up! Hopefully Greg has a few photos to add. Good fishing! Aaron
Lakes with crown land?
backwoodslover posted a topic in General DiscussionHey! I was wondering if anyone knows of any GOOD lakes with crown land for camping this summer? I'm not too picky about location but possibly northern ontario area? preferably with good fishing and not a whole lot of other people on the lake as we prefer some peace and quiet, also not too big of a lake as we are going to be using just the canoe this year. I camped on Loom Lake, and Wesltemkoon lake last summer. Both were awesome! Loom lake was nicer in terms of peace and serenity BUT the fishing there was minimal. Westlemkoon certainly had more to explore and better fishing and I'd go there again in a heartbeat if I had a boat with a little motor on it haha. I enjoy "roughing it" I dont want a sissy camp with showers and plumbing and so on. Just crown land, with good fishing. there must be some good places that I have yet to learn of
Simcoe Whitefish are on Fire!
Aaron Shirley posted a topic in General DiscussionI got out to Lake Simcoe recently with some TonyB and friends for a good group of six of us. One of the nice things about ice fishing is the social aspect of being able to get out in larger groups, and sometimes meet new people. You can't do this in most fishing boats. We headed out slowly just as it was getting light out, making sure to check ice conditions as we went. We got to an area that looked good in 100 feet of water and set up without a soul around. Before we knew it we were completely surrounded by hundreds of anglers and our sonars had a lot of interference. The fish must have been in the area recently with the amount of anglers there. We tried all kinds of things with only a couple bites and lazy looks on sonar to show for our efforts after a couple hours of daylight. We had to move... but where? Everywhere we looked around us had quiet anglers not getting much. Without any clues as to depth or location, we had to make a big decision. We thought about two things; moving shallow or deep away from everyone. Nobody wanted to make the call in our group at first, but we eventually decided as a group to make the trek out to deeper water well away from any anglers. We moved out to 123 feet of water and looked on sonar. We immediately saw several fish on sonar at once and we spread out and set up. It didn't take long and Johnny got into a nice laker. Once we were all set up and jigging, the action was fast and furious. It was non-stop action one after another! My tip-up line with an emerald shiner and jigs were both taking shots, although jigging was by far the best approach. It is so much fun watching fish teased into biting on sonar. It never gets old! A jig and pause worked well at times, as did reeling up a foot or two and pausing, then reeling up again and pausing. They hit on the pause and you can totally read their behavior on sonar to realize which approach would work best on individual fish. We lost a few absolute beasts that pulled almost all our lines out at times making for an even more exciting time. These are the days that we live for. Pure adrenaline action-packed fun where everyone in your group is hammering fish!!! Sadly, I had to leave midday, even though the action was still hot. That was a very tough thing to walk away from, but I am a man of my word and family comes first. It was ok, I got more fish in a couple hours than many full days spent on the ice at times. I was content, and we all had an absolute blast. The heavy snow and mild weather this week will spoil the ice. We only had approximately 3.5- to 4-inches of black ice on the weekend, so it will not be safe for a while. Make sure you take all precautions when you think it is safe enough to venture out. Wearing a flotation suit and carrying ice pics is a good idea. So is a buddy system and a floating rope. Enjoy the photos These are from my phone. My wife broiled the whitefish I brought home for something different, and it was great! Much healthier than frying it in oil as well Good fishing! Aaron