Best Tips for Finding The Fish Species of Lake Ontario

Angler shows off a big pike, one of the many fish species of Lake Ontario.
John Stone with a beautiful 44” 20lb 9 oz pike he caught off of Gull Island with Capt Bob Dick

Spring Time Means Variety

Most fishermen begin their day by targeting a specific fish species of Lake Ontario.  They get geared up to catch brown trout or maybe walleye – maybe lake trout or maybe rig up for northern pike, pickerel, or catfish.

On Eastern Lake Ontario which is known as the “Golden Crescent” is a special place as you are able to fish a variety of species instead of just targeting one, all in the exact general location.  When you are trolling and a rod ‘fires’, it could be fantastic brown trout fishing, walleye, northern pike, pickerel, catfish, and sometimes lake trout.

Where and How to Fish in Lake Ontario?

The First Place to Check for Fish Species of Lake Ontario

One of the first places is right in Henderson Bay. Early spring along the east shoreline is best in 6 – 15 feet of water up to Wescott’s State Park and around Campbell’s Shoal. Later in spring most move to the 20-35 foot depths using deeper diving lures. Bass and Gull Islands can be productive.

Black River Bay

Nationally known Black River Bay can be a hot spot once the bait moves in.  Brown trout and lake trout will follow the bait and mix with a good supply of walleye, northern pike, pickerel and catfish…  Both the north side of the bay near Pillar Point and the south side of Sackets Harbor can produce in 6-20 feet in early spring and 20-60 feet in later spring.

Chaumont Bay

Between Pillar Point and Point Peninsula is the entrance to Chaumont Bay.  That is a deep belly that can hold lots of bait and fish.  As normal in the early spring shallow water is best with deeper water better later.  Many anglers target trophy walleye in this area in the spring and some have finished or won the brown trout division in the local derbies while actually fishing for walleye.

Bob Dick and Coach Jim with a nice walleye, one of the highly sought after fish species of Lake Ontario.
Capt Bob and Coach Jim with one of the many walleye he has landed on Lake Ontario.

Point Peninsula

Around the head of Point Peninsula is a green buoy.  That can be excellent fishing just like any fishing if you are there at the right time.  Fishing the shoreline back towards Chaumont Bay is prime. Heading north toward Hidden Harbor on and off the shoals can be excellent.  Just east a few hundred years from the green buoy is Middle Shoal.  This is where the 40-55 foot depths surround a ½ mile-long shoal that can hold plenty of bait and a variety of fish.

Heading into Chaumont Bay, browns and lake trout aren’t as prevalent but walleye, northerns, pickerel, drum and catfish make for some great action some days.  There are many shoals and bellies to fish in Chaumont Bay, Three Mile Bay and Guffin’s Bay so you should definitely have a map or GPS.

Herrick and Johnson Shoals can produce a variety of fish. Definitely, a map of the area and a GPS should be used in all these areas.

A map marking where you can find some good fishing for the fish species of Lake Ontario
The best spots to find many of the fish species of Lake Ontario in Henderson Bay.

Tips for Catching a Variety of Fish Species in Lake Ontario

Many novice fishermen always ask about fish in Lake Ontario “What should I use to catch a variety of them? ” or “Where to fish in Eastern Lake Ontario?”  Many Charter Captains out of Henderson Harbor use a variety of lures but most agree on a few.

Husky Jerks

What is the favorite place for fish in Lake Ontario (one of the best fishing lakes in NY)? These are Husky Jerks in either shallow or deep divers, size 11’s or 13’s with the best colors blue-silver, black-silver and fire tiger.  Some other favorites in the same colors are Bagley’s, Bombers, Thundersticks and Rapalas.

Michigan Stinger Spoons

One all-around favorite for any type of fish species of Lake Ontario are Michigan Stinger Spoons.  They are excellent whether trolling at slow speeds or fast speeds and have a big selection of colors for cloudy, sunny or colored water conditions.  They range in sizes from stinger-stingray or magnums that will catch any freshwater species in the Golden Crescent area (known as Eastern Lake Ontario).

Charter captains and local fishermen use many freshwater fishing methods to pursue these fish.  Four of my favorites are:

  1. Flat-lining
  2. Downriggers
  3. Planer boards
  4. In-line planers which all produce

When using any of these freshwater fishing methods, it’s a matter of practice, practice, and “patience”.

Conclusion: Do Not Target One Species of Fish

Day-to-day fishing changes, week-to-week fishing changes, so instead of targeting one species of fish, sometimes it is good to be in an area where you possibly could catch a number of many fish species of Lake Ontario.  It is always good to have fun trying!

Original Article By Captain Bob Dick

About The Author

Captain Bob Dick owns and operates Moby Dick Charters out of Henderson Harbor on Lake Ontario. Captain Bob specializes in sport fishing for many fish species of Lake Ontario including: trophy walleye, browns, lake trout, king salmon, northern pike and smallmouth bass. He has lived and fished the eastern end of Lake Ontario and tributaries his entire life and is a member of the NYS Outdoor Writers’ Association.

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