Lake Ontario Fishing

lake ontario fishing

Are you a seasoned angler looking for a challenge? Fishing King Salmon in Lake Ontario can give you the thrill of a lifetime.  Lake Ontario fishing should be one of the items on your list if you want to test your fishing skills. It is not only one of the biggest lakes in the world, but it is also home to many fish species and beautiful scenery.

Every year, thousands have been enjoying the experience of fishing in Lake Ontario either on the Canadian side or US side of the lake. If you plan to try Lake Ontario fishing, I will provide you with some lake Ontario fishing tips to save you time and money.

Fishing poles on boat

In this article, you will learn:

  • Some facts about Lake Ontario
  • What kind of fish are in Lake Ontario?
  • The Right Equipment and Lures
  • The best time to fish Lake Ontario
  • Where to Fish Lake Ontario
  • Frequently Asked Questions

Some facts about Lake Ontario

Lake Ontario is the five Great Lakes but the smallest of them. Lake Ontario is bordered to the north, west, and southwest by the Province of Ontario, Canada, and in the south and east by the State of New York. The lake has nearly 2,000 islands; however, they mostly uninhabitable.

What kind of fish are in Lake Ontario?

Lake Ontario fishing will expose you to different types of Trout and Salmon. These include:

Lake Ontario fishing will expose you to different types of Trout and Salmon. These include:

 Chinook or King Salmon

If you want to sport fish, this will be your favorite. It is big enough and doesn’t give up without a fight. It moves to different parts of the lake as the weather changes. If you want to catch them, it is essential to research their location first before you head out for Lake Ontario fishing.

 Lake Trout

If you want something easy to catch without losing your mind, Lake Ontario will treat you to Lake Trout. They love cold water, and therefore you will find them hiding close to the bottom, especially when in summer; and, very shallow in winter. They are very predictable; hence, all you need is some bait, knowledge about them, and some skill. They make Lake Ontario fishing seem effortless

Atlantic Salmon

They are few in Lake Ontario than the other salmons, but you can be lucky.

Brown Trout

With good and bright colors of bait, you can easily catch the brown trout anytime; all you need to use is your eyes and a depth finder to know where they are, and you will have a treat of Lake Ontario fishing.

Rainbow Trout

Compared to the other Salmons and Trout, you will find rainbow trout or commonly called steelhead are closer to the surface. The best color of spoons to use is red and Orange.

 Coho Salmon

They love bright colored baits and often move around the lake depending on the season. Once you master their behavior, you can easily catch them. They are quite big, though.


The Right Equipment and Lures

Yes, in as much as Lake Ontario fishing is enticing, if you are not used to a big lake, you can be a bit scared. So you have to make sure that you are using a big boat that will stand the waves, have a depth finder to know how deep the fish could be, and a fish finder to ensure that you don’t spend your entire day without catching anything.

Just like any other fishing spree, you will need to have your bait right. Make sure the colors match what the fish like and very close to the native food. Plugs, spoons, flies, and peanuts of several colors will go a long way in making Lake Ontario fishing more successful.

That way, it will be easy to lure them. You could use down triggers, wireline, copper line, planer boards, and Lead core.

The best time to fish Lake Ontario

Temperature is critical in lake fishing. Each type of fish in Lake Ontario has its favorite weather and season. This is why you cannot catch them all at the same time.

The best time to catch Chinook salmon is in July, as they are actively feeding and feed throughout the day. You can also catch them in August and September.

 Coho salmon are primarily caught in April, July, August, and September.

Atlantic Salmons are rare, and so catching them is always a surprise.

Lake Trout are expected in April, May, and June. If you are after monster brown trout, then June is the time to catch an enormous adult’s trout as they move closer to shore and shallower water.

Whatever the season, there is always something to catch in Lake Ontario; all you need is the will, the right technique, skill, lures, and baits. If you are new in the region, you can easily ask the anglers around to help you with any information you feel will make Lake Ontario fishing more fun and doable.

Where to Fish Lake Ontario

Oswego, NY

Oswego is a popular fishing destination hub on the US side to fish for Brown Trout. It is a favorite spot for the family fishing trip because the area has calmer seas, the trouts are easier to catch because they are closer to shore.   

Lewiston, NY

This town is located in Niagara County, New York, and shares the western border with Canada.  Lewiston is a great jumping-off point for Brown Trout, Salmon, Steelhead, and smallmouth bass.

Henderson, New York

Henderson Harbor in the eastern side of Lake Ontario offers some of the best spots to catch Salmon, Lake trout, Brown Trout, smallmouth bass, largemouth bass as well as Walleye.

There you can hire a fishing charter boat if you want to go troll fishing.

The tributaries are great Lake Ontario fishing spots to fish for a variety of species.  

Black River, Watertown NY

The Black River is a 125 mile-long river that ends in Lake Ontario’s eastern end. There you can catch Chinook and Coho Salmon from September to November. Steelhead fish from October to April and Brown Trout all year long. You can also fish smallmouth bass and Walleye from September to March. 

Lower Niagara River, NY

The Niagara River flows from Lake Erie to Lake Ontario for a distance of 36 miles. The river has two-part the upper and Lower, due to the Niagara Falls in between. In the lower part of the river, you can fish all year long. There you can catch Chinook salmon, steelhead, or rainbow trout and walleye fishing.

Salmon River, Oswego County NY

Salmon River, located in Oswego County, New York, is a sportfishing destination. There you can catch Chinook, Coho, and Atlantic Salmon as well as Brown Trout and Steelhead.

A word of caution about Lake Ontario

Lake Ontario is over 7,500 square miles of water, and the weather can change instantly. It is recommended to hire a fishing charter to guide you to avoid getting lost or any accident.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the biggest fish in Lake Ontario?

King salmon or chinook is the best fish species in Lake Ontario, follow by brown trout and coho salmon a third.

Is it safe to eat fish from Lake Ontario?

It is safe to eat fish from lake Ontario; however, it is recommended to limit the consumption as the lake is still polluted.

Do I need a fishing license in Ontario?

A fishing license is required to fish on Lake Ontario from the US side and Canadian sides. On the US side, a permit for NY state resident cost $5-$12 and from $10 -$50 for a non-resident. The Canadian side from $12.21 -$79.71 for Ontario resident and from $31.02-$245.07 for non-Canadian residents

What is the best bait for salmon fishing?

Many season angles find using these baits to be very successful for salmon fishing besides using salmon eggs. They are herring, smelt, and shrimp. If you are fishing for Chinook salmon coon and sand shrimp will get you great results.

Final Thoughts

Fishing in Lake Ontario can be an exhilarating fishing experience for the whole family.  The variety of species such as King Salmon, Brown Trouts, Steelhead, Smallmouth bass,  and  Walleye makes it possible to fish year long. You can catch several species at the same time, depending on the season.

I have provided you with some lake Ontario fishing spots such as Oswego, Lewiston, Black River, Lower Niagara River, and Salmon River.

 Lake Ontario fishing is an experience you don’t want to trade with anything. It is the destination and thrill that every angler should look forward to.

Are you new at fishing? Do you feel overwhelmed when walking to your local sporting to buy your fishing gear? Do you know what type of fishing techniques to use to catch your first fish? These are some of the challenges that beginners face.

 I have a FREE e-course that will teach you what you need to start fishing for bass, the techniques used by professional anglers, and the tools you need to get started.

Click here to get access to The Definitive Guide To Tackle Bass Fishing e-course so you can build your confidence to fish anywhere.

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