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Good day United,

I started fishing last year on Lake Ontario in July and August on my first new boat. I got lucky enough to land a couple salmon. It was so exciting, but the truth is it was pure luck. I spent hours trolling and trying to learn my electronics and gear. I’m running a Hummingbird helix 7 and 2 electric downriggers. Also running 2x 10lb shark weights. 
I have young boys and they are slowly losing interest in fishing because their dad can’t seem to land the fish!! This year I’ve tried to target steelhead with spoons and flashers at 25-40 feet, and I’m still getting skunked.
My question: Is there a setup and depth that is a “catch all” for a few species? 
Appreciate any help you may offer. 
 

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Posted (edited)

Steelhead are highly nomadic and roam all over the place. During the summer months they may be found in 200 ft of water or 600. June is usually considered a "transitional" month on Lake O with the water temps starting to set up the thermocline and the fishing is often unpredictable for nearly any trout or salmon species and each year it can be different too. To further complicate the issue the lake generally warms from the western section then toward the east and from shorelines outward toward depth and it is not uniform throughout the lake and migrating baitfish  spawn and then go deeper so the steelies may basically be anywhere in the lake. It often takes a lot of trial and error searching for them and some of the time they are caught as accidental catches like the Atlantic salmon as well while specifically fishing for King salmon and may be found with the juveniles or teens especially mixed in. If you are going to be fishing mainly shallow areas (e.g. within 100 ft.) you would probably be better off targeting lakers and browns  percentage-wise to keep the kids interested.

Edited by Sk8man

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Good day United,
I started fishing last year on Lake Ontario in July and August on my first new boat. I got lucky enough to land a couple salmon. It was so exciting, but the truth is it was pure luck. I spent hours trolling and trying to learn my electronics and gear. I’m running a Hummingbird helix 7 and 2 electric downriggers. Also running 2x 10lb shark weights. 
I have young boys and they are slowly losing interest in fishing because their dad can’t seem to land the fish!! This year I’ve tried to target steelhead with spoons and flashers at 25-40 feet, and I’m still getting skunked.
My question: Is there a setup and depth that is a “catch all” for a few species? 
Appreciate any help you may offer. 
 

Yes, 100 feet of water. Deep enough to hold a variety of fish, shallow enough that with as few as four rods you can cover a decent section of the water column. Keep it simple. Three spoons that are speed friendly, ok both a little slow and a little fast. Don’t worry about what color, let the kids pick them. Spin Dr and fly on your deep rod. Do gradual S turns as you go from 90 to 110.
Fish could be shallower or deeper but if you had to pick one depth 100 would be it in my opinion.
Other option if you fish out of an area with traffic pay attention to where the charter guys are going. Don’t crowd them or get in their way.
Keep an eye on the graph, fish the marks too. Two of the four rods where you see marks, one below and one above.
Keep trying, you’ll catch a monster and the kids will love it.



Sent from my iPhone using Lake Ontario United
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If you have kids, you need to fish species that are the easiest to pin point and easiest to entice.  Lake Trout fit both of those criteria.  They are in the same water day in and day out and really easy to catch when they are offered the correct tackle.  

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Yea I’m with Brian, go after easiest fish to get your hands on. As a matter of fact break loose one day, (not sure of ages), get some worms, bobbers etc and get over to north end of Cayuga. Sunnies all day with a mix of bass. Kids would love it. If their older, and you think it’s under them, go for the lakers.


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And they are usually on the bottom in 100 foot.
Gambler Rigs. Deadly on lakers and user friendly. Brian and his company are awesome. Will set you up right and tell you how to use them.
Kids want action? No brainer.
Make sure your wash down hose is operable.


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I don't know where you are fishing but I would definitely fish the western basin if possible. .set your lines at different depths and stick with the stuff that works. google ace charters he has a lot of good tips.dont try and do to much until you get it figured out.  

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Great advice guys! Thank you. Thank goodness for grocery stores or I would starve as a fisherman. Lol

So it sounds like I am now fishing for lake trout. If what I understand... fish in about 100 feet of water. Target the bottom. I have the capacity to run a spread of 4 lines total, 2 downriggers and 2 dipsy’s. I’m fishing the north shore near Newcastle/Bowmanville. 
Run spoons with flashers? Or just spoons. Can you please clarify lead length from weight to flasher. (I’m sure this varies based on preference, but I’ve read 8) feet and as much as 60 feet) 
Or run flasher/flies that deep?

 

Really appreciate the help!

 

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Sorry. Last line should have read ...I’ve read lead lengths from weight to flasher from as little as 8 feet to as much as 60 feet. 

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12 feet


Sent from my iPhone using Lake Ontario United

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I run 2 downriggers 

 

My setup for water 50 ft plus is 

 

One flasher back 25 on one rigger 

 

Two spoons stacked on the other rigger , one 10 ft above , one 10 ft below the flasher set back the same or slightly farther . 

 

1 or 2 dipsys with flashers or spoons . 

 

 

Fish the flasher at the bottom level of the bait or in 48 to 50 deg water . 

 

Sometimes I run all flashers . There are,days I start that way and put 1 flasher on each downrigger . And 1 on each dipsey . Then change to spoons if no hits . 

 

If targeting kings all flashers can be good , especially mid summer on . But this time of year the spoons catch all species . I like to run one flasher all the time somewhere . There are,days they spook the fish so I keep one on a dipsey . 

 

 

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One thing that helped me a lot was when I was fishing with my buddy and I saw Keating on Kings in his cottage and asked if I could borrow it. You can get his books and videos at his website. Dan Keating Google it.😁 He also has multi specie books.

Fishing with the same guy also lowered my learning curve. If you don't know someone that knows this game, book a charter and tell the captain you want to learn. Some guys also have on the water salmon schools. What you'll learn will lower the curve and in the long run and save you money in the long run. It's a big lake and knowing how to narrow down where you're going to find fish is a major factor.

 

 

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That’s was a great article. 
Thanks for all you help everyone. I went out today and landed 2 steelhead. I ran 2 dipsy’s high with spoons and 2 riggers low with flasher flies. The high dipsy spoons hit both fish.
Not many boats on the water where I am. That in itself may tell me something. 
Would you say the early morning is the best time of day for action?

Brian

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I love first and last light. Yes they tend to bite better early but I also find on a full moon that can be reduced, bright moon leads to fish taking advantage of it. When the bite slows down in the morning it's time to change tactics and many times what you're running. Keep a log lure,time, depth, direction you're trolling, cloud cover, barometer etc. You'll find a pattern and it will help you determine what depths your spoons and flasher fly combinations tend to work better. A lot of things determine where fish will be in the water column. Bright sun, clouds and what the wind has been are things to pay attention to.

Kings are eating machines you find bait and they usually won't be far away.

Do you have a fish hawk or other speed temp probe?

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Thanks for the info! I went out this week with my 4 boys. We ran 2 flasher fly’s on the riggers Deeper 50-70 ft and spoons off the dipsy’s a bit shallower 20-40ft. Stayed around 100ft of water. We caught 4 nice steelhead and a king. Soooo exciting for my boys. Dad too!!! Lol

 

I don’t have a fish hawk. I’m still stinging from the initial setup cost of everything else  When the sting wears off I may consider it. might be awhile. 
Right now all I have is surface temp. Hummingbird Helix 7. 

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Great job!


Sent from my iPhone using Lake Ontario United

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Some questions:

Does anyone keep pre-tied leads of fluorocarbon to run from the dipsy to the spoon? If so, how long and how do you store them? 
Thx Brian

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Look into investing in a surface speed ad on for your depth finder . It will help a lot . I used this for years . 30  to 60$ 

 

It's not a fish hawk but its the next best thing . 

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Posted (edited)
On 6/12/2020 at 9:02 PM, Renrag said:

Some questions:

Does anyone keep pre-tied leads of fluorocarbon to run from the dipsy to the spoon? If so, how long and how do you store them? 
Thx Brian

We keep our dipsey leaders wrapped around short 8-10in.  pieces of foam swim noodles.  Both ends of leaders are secured in the foam with 1in. roofing nails. We keep 15lb, 20lb and 40lb. All around 8ft long. You can use a Sharpie to mark on the foam which is which 

Edited by UNREEL
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Now I buy my pre tied leaders from troubles on this site. Check the classifieds. You can't tie them any cheaper. But I always save my empty spools from fishing line. Put a rubber band around the spool and connect the snap from the leader and wind it up. I will connect them together wind them all up inline and end with a rubber band to hold them. If I need a 8' #25 leader I grab the spool with those leaders. If I need the 12' #40 leaders I grab the spool for them. I could keep 50 leaders on each spool and not take up space or tangle them all up. Noodles I use for flys and such but never leaders.

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