Thu. Feb 29th, 2024
Why Lake Ontario is the land of fish dreams

Today’s post comes from multi-species angler and writer Ashley Rae of

There is a certain magic in any day you spend on the water.

For me, this is especially true when I go out on Lake Ontario. It is without a doubt one of my favorite bodies of water to fish.

It’s vast, beautiful, deep and fun to understand. Best of all? Grow some huge fish. What couldn’t be loved?

Due to its size, the wind can pick up quickly on Lake O. Lake Ontario deserves our respect and we appreciate any opportunity to get out and explore.

Variety of species

Couple holds huge walleyesPhoto: Daniel Notarianni

Some of my most memorable fishing experiences involve Lake Ontario.

I grew up in Napanee, on the Bay of Quinte, located on the north shore. I caught my first salmon, rainbow trout (migratory rainbow trout), and brown trout while learning to fly fish on various tributaries of Lake Ontario in the Greater Toronto Area.

I have seen some of the biggest smallmouth bass of my life while on the lake and have caught some real beauties as well.

Last spring, I caught my best common carp while fishing on the north coast. The fishing opportunities are endless and the rewards can be great.

Parks along Lake Ontario

Boy fishing in Darlington

There are several provincial parks located directly on the shores of Lake Ontario:

Each of these parks offers unique fishing opportunities for both new and experienced anglers. There is something for everyone, from shore fishing to boating and other small boat opportunities.

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Novice anglers can take part in the Learn to Fish program in Darlington. The program offers a free two-hour hands-on fishing lesson. Anglers will learn all the basics needed to fish on their own.

Searching for walleye

Man and woman hold two walleyesPhoto: Daniel Notarianni

Of all the species in Ontario, walleye has to be one of my favorites, and Lake Ontario is known to be home to some major monsters.

Although many have already winterized their boats, there are still anglers enjoying the late fall walleye season through December.

Summer and early fall are great times to be on the lake in search of Walleye. As the season progresses, fish will migrate to the Bay of Quinte to spend the winter.

These fish will eventually spawn within the bay during the spring, and many will return to the lake once the spawning cycle is complete.

Ashley installing a planer boardPhoto: Daniel Notarianni

I have been fortunate to spend quite a bit of time targeting Walleye this fall, and it has been a memorable season.

This time of year, trolling is a very effective way to cover water and locate actively feeding fish. Having a fish finder or sonar on your boat helps locate fish and show where they are in the water column.

The Precision Trolling Data app is very useful for calculating lure running depth for a wide variety of crankbaits on the market. Knowing career depth allows you to experiment and then replicate when you find success.

Walleye feed in the fall in preparation for winter, so they are often found not far from the bait. Bait often looks like large, dense “clouds” on sonar.

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A popular tool for fall trolling is an inline planer board. These boards clip onto your line, allowing you to move lures away from the boat, where fish may be less wary. Planer boards also help you stay organized when running multiple lines.

If you haven’t already, you need to experience Lake Ontario fishing!