Jump to content

Great Lakes Jigging

Recommended Posts

Hello All,


Today I tried a great experiment inspired by canuck.  Last year he told me about great, fast action with the lake trout in Lake Ontario.  While lakers are a Finger Lakes staple, they get no respect in Ontario and most boats go for sexier stuff like chinooks and steelhead.  Well if I can be happy catching them in Canandaigua, Seneca or Keuka, i can be ecstatic catching them twice as big, right?


Canuck gave me vague instructions as to where to look for them.  I took my 16 footer on this calm morning and found fish right away.  I set up a bottom bouncing troll, and quickly caught my first Lake Ontario fish in years.  In fact, the only LO fish i ever got were in others' boats where my only job was to reel them in.  So today was a true milestone. 


The lakers are so fat - big round guts on them.  They do seem to average twice the size of typical finger lakes fish.  There were jillions of marks down there - as many as I have ever seen in Keuka.  but the bite was tough.  I started the day with many missed fish, which to me is a bad sign.  Light strikes are halfway house to no strikes.  But I worked on them and got steady action.  When trolling slowed down, I set up jigging.  they didn't chase my jigs much at all, but with that many down there I found a taker now and then.  What great fights!  These fish seem much better matched to my tackle.  I finished the day with 6 fish - 3 trolled, and 3 jigged, many missed fish.  23 to 30 inches.  I was so stoked I wanted to stay the whole day, but that heat was wicked.  And at noon when when the wind died to nothing, these ankle biting flies went after me until my sandalled feet bled.


  I  wondered why more people didn't jig LO lakers, but after today it made sense.  The big boats most guys fish from are not good jigging platforms.  It would take a drift sock that a paratrooper could use to slow a big craft down.  Well I intend to spend some time out there.  Imagine when all those fish are in the mood to strike!  It is just as far as my drive to Geneva, and I don't have to pull any big hills like I do when going to Woodville.  The prospect of rough seas is scary, but since I am in pretty close, the coast and the Devil's Nose will protect me from a south or west wind.  Can't wait for my next trip!


Pete Collin



Link to comment
Share on other sites

Great report Pete. For years I fished out of Sodus in my 13 ft. Whaler and even fished out in the shipping lanes from time to time for steelies/salmon (younger and more foolish than now if that is possible :) ) but you really have to pick your days and have a good backup motor and radio etc. There are sometimes advantages to having smaller craft...like navigating in the shallow water during derbies  and turning and rocking your boat during the doldrums to entice the fish etc..

Edited by Sk8man
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Great report Pete. A tremendous fishery up there!

I also experimented up there and loved it. The excitement of fresh water to explore and the fish are so fat and strong. I found them more energetic pound for pound than the finger lakes fish. Good luck !!! The more trips you make the less intimidating it becomes.

Good luck

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Indeed. I have often posited the notion of jigging for lakers in the Big O. Especially when you often see them "paving the bottom" in depths sometimes 300fow or more. And not in a really small boat. Just stop trolling on a calm (or near calm) day out there and when we are marking them by the hundreds. Rig up something with some good weight to get lures down with some braid or flouro and give it a go. Absolutely love jigging for them on the Fingers, as they put up a much better fight "still fishing" than trolling. Plus they seem to be resonably easy to hook up to. And there r much bigger lakers in Ontario. But, alas, as I am always on someone else's boat, I never get the chance to try it. Usually just get some "oh yeah  :dull::wondering: " response from the captain and other crew!  :speechless:    Go for it man, and post any more good (or not) results..... :yes:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...