Spring fishing for trout and salmon in Lake Ontario is awesome. During the winter the trout and salmon will collect up on the western basin of the lake. They tend to frequent the area known as the Niagara Bar. This is where the Niagara River enters into Lake Ontario. The water depth ranges from 10 to 70 feet. The strong river currents and the fact the winds are not as strong here in the winter provide a more stable temperature for the fishery in the winter and early spring.
In the spring the Niagara Bar is a fish magnet. The kings and lakers are waiting at the river mouth and will ambush the schools of smelt as they head up the river to spawn. Once the smelt are done spawning the Salmon will start to migrate back across the lake and by August many of them will wind up at the eastern end of the lake off of Oswego and the Salmon River. These fish are acting on the homing instincts that they are born with.
In recent years many of the marinas have instituted a program of pen reared fish. These are fish that are held in local waters and are released a few weeks later so they have had time to imprint on the local water . It is these fish that will return to these ports in the fall and provide great sportfishing all across the southern shores of Lake Ontario.
If you are looking for a trophy to hang on the wall, chances are you can get one while fishing from a charter boat. Most captains are on the lake daily and are well aware of current hot spots and lures. They also work together and share info to help keep the clients happy. Should the weather turn bad and your trip end prematurely most captains will pro rate the trip or in some cases reschedule another day.
The Charter Boats season usually starts in early April and runs until the end of September. Spring fishing in April and May is usually done by trolling stickbaits and spoons off of planner boards. As the water warms up more in May and June the fishing will slowly move off shore. For the rest of the summer Downriggers, Dipsey Divers, and Leadcore Lines, will become the main methods of targeting trout and salmon. July and early August will find most of the best fishing off shore. Near the end of August the fishing will move inshore again as the trout and salmon begin to stage for spawning runs.
The Charter Boats on Lake Ontario are well equipped with the best fishing tackle money can buy! They also have the latest in electronics, with GPS, radar, fishfinders, cell phones, some even feature underwater cameras hooked to the downriggers that show the fish chasing and hitting the lures. Some captains also have a VCR hooked up to record the fishing action under the water for you. A few of the charter captains even provide free fishing photos or will record your trip with a camcorder upon request.