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Char_Master

New Guy to the Site and New to Lake 'O (Advice Welcome!)

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Hello, everyone. I'm Sean, from Pittsburgh, PA, and I'm hoping to make a trip up to Lake Ontario with the boat within the next month or so. My home port is Erie, PA, fishing Lake Erie's eastern basin for Lakers, Steelhead, and Browns in the open water as well as Northern Pike and Gar in Presque Isle Bay. Walleye and Perch, Lake Erie's staple species, bore me, not much fight to them haha. I fish out of a 22' Sea Ray usually using a 6 rod spread (max I legally can in PA with just two anglers in the boat, and it's all I have room for!).

Anyway, Lake Erie can be great in the summer for open water Chromers, but Lake Trout have a reputation for being very difficult to catch in the summer here and I still don't understand what the Browns do this time of year. Looking on the Internet on various other forums and sites has revealed to me that Lake Ontario offers great summer fishing for a wide variety of Salmonids, all of which I'd love to catch. So, I decided it was time that I finally take the two hour drive north from Erie and see what our neighboring Great Lake has to offer.

As I said, I've never fished Lake Ontario before, so I have no idea what to expect being as Lake Erie is so much different. On Erie, finding 150 FOW can take over an hour of driving on the boat and it's rare to find surface temps below 74°F in July and August. Erie can also get very rough, very fast. Last August for instance, at one point the waves were 2' with 3' swells, 20 minutes later they were 5-6' with 7-8' swells and building! From what I've heard of Lake Ontario, there is access to deep water relatively close to shore and it takes longer for the waves to build with high wind speeds, which is good news to someone like me who is unfamiliar with its waters.

As for when and where I plan on coming up, I'm hoping to fish out of Olcott sometime between the middle-end of July and beginning of August for four days (probably Friday-Monday). If anyone can recommend a good date in that frame of time when there's a not a tournament occurring (the last thing we need with fishing a new lake is fierce competition), I'd greatly appreciate it.

I'd love to pursue as many of the Salmonids on Lake Ontario as possible, but my primary target when I come up is going to be the Chinooks/Kings, which are not present in Lake Erie and I have never caught. Lakers are my overall favorite fish to catch on lakes (Brookies in streams), so I'll defineity be taking a couple hours each day to target them as well. Finally, although I probably won't be targeting them as much as Chinooks and Lakers, I certainly wouldn't mind seeing some Cohos, Steelies, Atlantics, and Browns mixed in as regular by-catch with the other two, if there's a certain way to up my odds of catching some.

If you guys have any tips, advice, or knowledge to give me as far as fishing Lake Ontario in general, when to come, what areas to fish, and how to go about catching my target species, I'd very much appreciate either a post here or a private message if you'd rather not publicize your secret info :). And don't worry another tourist taking all your fish, I'm mainly a C&R guy and would only be keeping a King or two for the freezer to last the family all year haha.

Thanks for having me on your forum! (I promise, I don't always ramble like this!!)

-Sean P

Edited by Char_Master

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What gear do you have? Riggers...copper...dipsy rods? Im not an Oak expert, but i know they have great lake trout fishing all spring and summer. I fish Sodus, and to be honest, Kings can be anywhere from 80 to 700 fow. Usually if the weather is stable and the lake is seat up kings are from 150 to 300, 80 to 130 down. Keep in mind...this is VERY general...but a decent start. Check the site here for reports. Lake trout can usually be found anywhere on the lake with a sandy bottom, bounce your downrigger balls anywhere from 120 to 170 with cowbells behind them. Good luck!

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What gear do you have? Riggers...copper...dipsy rods? Im not an Oak expert, but i know they have great lake trout fishing all spring and summer. I fish Sodus, and to be honest, Kings can be anywhere from 80 to 700 fow. Usually if the weather is stable and the lake is seat up kings are from 150 to 300, 80 to 130 down. Keep in mind...this is VERY general...but a decent start. Check the site here for reports. Lake trout can usually be found anywhere on the lake with a sandy bottom, bounce your downrigger balls anywhere from 120 to 170 with cowbells behind them. Good luck!

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Thanks for the reply, ryonybony! I've got two rigger setups, two braid dipsy setups, and two planer board setups with 10 colors of leadcore, but if I don't want all of the lead out I'll often just flatline with the board rods so I can adjust the depth of the lures. Edited by Char_Master

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You may have some issues with the braid dispsys and fleas.  Most people use wire on the dipsys to avoid that issue.

Edited by pvelyk

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The leadcore might be a little shallow that time of year. They wont be in the way...but might not be deep enough. You might consider another set of dipsy rods or copper. Good luck!

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Will Kings ever go for stickbaits/Crankbaits? I could always run some deep diver reef runners or bay rats on the lead and that'd get me 70' down, most likely. Even spoons get 50' down with 10 colors. How deep do the Salmon suspend in late July/early August? Edited by Char_Master

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You may have some issues with the braid dispsys and fleas.  Most people use wire on the dipsys to avoid that issue.

They're an issue on Erie, too, but I actually have more problems with them on my downrigger cables and mono rigger lines than I do with the braid.

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Typically in the 40 to 80 range you can find steelhead and often the smaller kings. If thats what you have...run spoons off leadcore, get the dipsies and riggers deeper...and you can find fish. It takes some patience, but just do your best to get a good spread of depth. With 6 rods, you can cover 50 to 120 pretty easy with dipsies and cheaters. Typically in late July and early August, my favorite fishing is really deep out of Sodus. I find 500 to 700 fow and fish 80 to 130 down. I run sliders and some higher stuff and get a good mixed bag of steelhead, small kings and even a few majors. Can make for a really fun day. This was a typical day...about 3 or 4 hours of fishing out deep taking the kids. Again...all of this is assumptions from the past. Can change, but a good starting point. There are a few captains out of the Oak that share on here. Crazy Yankee is great and posts on here often...and there is another guy who does a quick video often giving updates, forgot his name, but good info. I believe they have a webpage for fisherman and thats where you can find it.

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Typically in the 40 to 80 range you can find steelhead and often the smaller kings. If thats what you have...run spoons off leadcore, get the dipsies and riggers deeper...and you can find fish. It takes some patience, but just do your best to get a good spread of depth. With 6 rods, you can cover 50 to 120 pretty easy with dipsies and cheaters. Typically in late July and early August, my favorite fishing is really deep out of Sodus. I find 500 to 700 fow and fish 80 to 130 down. I run sliders and some higher stuff and get a good mixed bag of steelhead, small kings and even a few majors. Can make for a really fun day. This was a typical day...about 3 or 4 hours of fishing out deep taking the kids. Again...all of this is assumptions from the past. Can change, but a good starting point. There are a few captains out of the Oak that share on here. Crazy Yankee is great and posts on here often...and there is another guy who does a quick video often giving updates, forgot his name, but good info. I believe they have a webpage for fisherman and thats where you can find it.

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I'm thinking I'll probably run four spoons (definitely a mag NBK for Kings and Steelie Stomper for chromers) and two flasher/flies to start and go from there. I've got some pretty heavy spoons I can run off the lead like magnum DWs and even large casting daredevles, but they tend to work better at slow speeds. From what I've heard, Salmon speed is 2.5-3.0 mph, correct? I'll fish 150-500 FOW I'm thinking and run lures from 50-120' down for the Salmon, maybe one or two at 20-40' later on if I have an itch for steel and bottom bounce in 120-130 FOW for Lakers. Do you ever pick up any Cohos out on the lake? Edited by Char_Master

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Would you recommend picking up some mag dipsies for Lake 'O? Right now I'm running size 1 divers for Erie Lakers and Steelhead, but they require a lot of line to get below 50'.

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Speed can vary...but usually yes...2.4 to 3.0 works. I tend to go slower with flashers amd faster with spoons. And yes...pick up the mag dipsies. Well worth it. Usually ill go a 1 setting back 250 to 350 to start...then vary from there.

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Speed can vary...but usually yes...2.4 to 3.0 works. I tend to go slower with flashers amd faster with spoons. And yes...pick up the mag dipsies. Well worth it. Usually ill go a 1 setting back 250 to 350 to start...then vary from there.

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Okay, so maybe around 2.5-2.6 mph for running both flashers and spoons in a spread? 250 out with mag Dipsy at that speed? I feel like I'd snap my diver rods doing that haha.

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I am not sure what you run...i run Okuma dipsie rods. They work awesome. I never fished lake erie...but i can say on Lake Ontario i change speed often until i find one that works. I uave run 2.0 in the morning and 3.1 in the afternoon and vice versa. Best advice i can give...keep working the back of the boat. Dont go crazy and change eveything every 5 minutes...but dont go 5 hours and not change anything. Get some typical go to lures...UV stingers...greens/blues...flasher fly combos...read reports on here...work the water and you will find some success. Another thing to keep in mind, most people post on here when they catch fish. I try to post all my trips...good and bad. I know Nick(out of sodus as well) does the same. Dont get discouraged if you read great reports on here and you dont do as well. Just enjoy the battle. There is nothing like fighting a king.

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I am not sure what you run...i run Okuma dipsie rods. They work awesome. I never fished lake erie...but i can say on Lake Ontario i change speed often until i find one that works. I uave run 2.0 in the morning and 3.1 in the afternoon and vice versa. Best advice i can give...keep working the back of the boat. Dont go crazy and change eveything every 5 minutes...but dont go 5 hours and not change anything. Get some typical go to lures...UV stingers...greens/blues...flasher fly combos...read reports on here...work the water and you will find some success. Another thing to keep in mind, most people post on here when they catch fish. I try to post all my trips...good and bad. I know Nick(out of sodus as well) does the same. Dont get discouraged if you read great reports on here and you dont do as well. Just enjoy the battle. There is nothing like fighting a king.

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For Dipsies, I use 9' Okuma Classic Pro GLT Dipsy Rods with Tekota 600LC reels, so they should work fine, I'm just always amazed by how much pressure those rods can take! I tend to check each lure every 20-30 minutes out of habit to check for hitchhikers that don't trip the releases on Erie (White Bass, smaller Drum and Trout, etc) and change lures about every hour or so if they're not getting any love, so no problem there. My go to spoons are always MI Stingers, but I'm not sure if I have any with UV finishes, although that just gives me an excuse to spend more money :). I'll pick up a pair of flasher/fly combos soon since I've never used them before. I assume run the same colors on them as you would for spoons. Thanks for all the help, ryonybony, I appreciate it and will continue to do further research on here and the Internet before my trip up to the lake.

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As of now I'm thinking we're going to make our trip up to the lake from July 29th to August 1st. Long range forecasts are never very accurate, but as of now it's saying winds will be 10 and 18 ENE on Friday, 2 and 5 NW on Saturday, 15 and 29 ENE on Sunday, and 6 and 17 E on Monday. I'm not familiar with Lake Ontario's wave patterns, but with predicted winds like those, is it likely I'll be able to get offshore to Salmon and Laker grounds for at least three of those days in a 22' boat? We can always fish inshore for Browns if the winds get too bad, but this is primarily a Salmon and Lake Trout trip. Also, if the winds do follow those patterns how big approx. would the waves be? I know on Lake Erie with 15 and 29 mph winds from the ENE, there'd be 4-5' waves with 6' swells within an hour or two at that speed.

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During that time...just check the forecast a day or 2 out. Really...if the temperature doesn't drop a bunch, there is probably no front and the waves wont be too bad. Looking at it now is pretty much useless. As for the waves, yes...they can be just like Lake Erie. They cak build fast, but if you are prepared and checl the weather, you should be safe.

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Heading up Friday morning and hoping to fish until Tuesday afternoon. Not asking for secrets, but does anyone have any recent (current/past week) general reports and info for a new guy to the lake? I also don't have a depth probe (coming next year) so that may be problematic, but it hasn't stopped me yet!

My plan as of now is to start out by running to 150-200 FOW straight north of Olcott for the first few hours in the morning for Chinooks, maybe even troll out to 250-300 FOW if the bite is slow. 2.4-2.6 mph SOG to start, otherwise speed up to 2.8-3.0 mph SOG. I'm going to use a four rod spread to start (I don't need a 25#r trashing my spread!), running two rigger rods and two diver rods. I'll probably stick one rigger down at 110-120' in the ice water for big matures with a flasher fly combo and the other down 70-90' with a spoon to try to get any Salmon, considering I've never caught a Chinook I'll be happy to get the first fish of any size in to the boat. Unfortunately the mag dipsies I order didn't get here in time so I'll be using my size ones with spoons and flasher flies, which I can probably get down to 60-70' with enough line out, but I theorize they'll mainly be Steelie catchers this time around (PS, does anyone have size 1 dipsy charts? The charts I use only give data for up to 198' of line out and I can put 250-300' out no problem).

After Chinooks I'll most likely search for Lakers in 120-170 FOW slow trolling with Cowbells, Dodgers, and Spoons using a six rod spread (riggers, divers, 10-colors) 1.5-1.7 mph SOG. If that doesn't work, I'll try faster trolling with all spoons. 2.4-2.8 mph SOG. After that, jig for a while with casting spoons and swimbaits in 80-120 FOW.

At some point during the trip I'll probably search 300-500 FOW with high spoons and stickbaits for Cohos and Atlantics too, both fish I'd like to catch that I never have. Thinking 2.8-3.2 mph.

Edited by Char_Master

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Well, day one was a bust. There were 4-5'rs in the morning and we just got back to port in 1'rs. Started at about 10:00 AM in 130-230 FOW trolling spoons and flasher flies 60-110' down at 2.4-3.0 mph. Nothing, headed back to 35 FOW to try to jig up whatever small fish I saw on the finder (White Bass?), nothing. Headed back out to 300-350 FOW trolling spoons 2.4-3.0 mph SOG 40-110' down. Nothing again, ended the day at 7:00 after trolling in 130-140 FOW for Lakers with cowbells, Dodgers, and spoons at 2.1-2.3 mph SOG, (seemed much slower underwater going with the waves). N.O.T.H.I.N.G. The worst part was that in 9 hours of trolling, we only marked 4-5 fish all day other than white bass or similar fish by the pier heads. Probably just one of those days, but I did see a few people come back with full coolers.

Does anyone have any advice or tips to give as I'd like to get into fish of any kind tomorrow? If so, they would be greatly appreciated!

Edited by Char_Master

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Day two went a bit better. Too rough to troll in the morning yesterday so I tried the channel wall and landed 2/3 nice Brown Trout casting Stickbaits and Plugs. Headed out on the boat once it calmed down a bit and did a nearshore troll for Browns. Got a 5#r to the boat and had a 12-14" fish flop off 10' back. Ended the day trolling for Chinooks in 120 FOW without a hit. Released all the Browns.

This morning tried 250 FOW and was rewarded with a 23" 4.5# Salmon on a flasher fly, finally. Wouldn't revive so he's in the cooler now. Hoping to get out for more (and with any luck, larger) Chinooks this evening if the rain ever stops. Not fast action to be sure, but there's a few fish to be caught anyway.

Edited by Char_Master

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Has anybody been catching Lakers out of Olcott? Hard to find info but from what I've heard from a couple others, they all migrate east towards Rochester this time of year. I'd like to get in to some even if they're sparce, but don't want to waste time trolling for them if there's NONE around.

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Hey everyone, sorry I never got around to posting a full trip report, but I had a great first time on Lake 'O. The Chinooks were not very cooperative but everything else was! Due to the odd weather that occurred while we were there, the fishing didn't get good until the last two days, but those two days were amazing. It was astonishing to see surface water temps from 71.6° all the way down to 33.4° due to the lake flipping! I've never experienced such a temperature change in my life! I also noticed that the swells on Lake Ontario are much smoother than Erie's. We were successfully trolling in wide 6-7'rs one of the days where on Erie we'd be getting pounded by choppy whitecaps with waves that size. Anyway, I loved the fishing and I'll without a doubt be back to Lake Ontario next summer, although most likely in a more eastern port such as Rochester where I can catch Lakers as well, as we were not able to find even one fishing out of Olcott.

Total fish haul:

3/5 Brown Trout

3/7 Steelhead

2/2 Chinook

0/1 Atlantic

PS, I fell in love with Atlantic Salmon on this trip after having a 20#+ fish stripping 395' of line in about a minute on almost full drag before spectacularly jumping and throwing the hook at me. I'm already craving this species!

Edited by Char_Master

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