Reliable Tips for Eastern Lake Ontario Fishing

Eastern Lake Ontario Fishing for Beginners 

Woman standing with a large smallmouth bass while fishing on Eastern Lake Ontario.
Jenny Marriot of Oklahoma agrees that Lake Ontario smallmouth bass fishing is tops.

Throughout July, August and September I get many calls and emails from novice fishermen about summer fishing asking – what do I fish for, where do I fish, and what do I use?

Lake Ontario’s Eastern Basin Offers Unique Fishing Opportunities

Many fishermen are not familiar with what the the great lakes, the eastern end of Lake Ontario included, are like or what they have to offer.  This is a unique area in that it offers not only wide open Lake with areas of flat sandy bottoms but also rocky points, shallow to deep walls and many islands with exceptional structure which in turn holds a ton of bait.  It is always essential to have a map of the area a Global Positioning System and, of course, a marine radio.  

Species of Fish in Lake Ontario

Most agree that July has the best variety of species of fish in Lake Ontario. This is a hot time to fish for brown trout, king salmon, lake trout and bass.  Walleye enter the picture in early August extending through September.

Brown Trout Fishing 

Angler Poses with a large brown trout while fishing on Eastern Lake Ontario
Brown trout remain one of the main attractions for Eastern Lake Ontario fishing.

Some of the best places to enjoy Lake Ontario fishing for brown trout are “the trench” just outside Henderson Harbor, Stony Point wall and around the “finger” four miles off the Stony Point light.  Depths can change as water temperatures change but generally fishing 60-125 feet down with downriggers in 100-165 feet of water is most productive.  Our favorite lure is Michigan Stinger spoons.  Michigan stinger spoons can be trolled at slow, medium, and fast speeds with excellent action.  Some of our favorite patterns for Michigan sSinger spoons are Sunkist, yellow jacket, hud special (Houdini), brown trout, orange shanster, die hard, gator, nuclear killer and Michael Jackson.

King Salmon Fishing On Lake Ontario

Two fishermen stand side by side with their two king salmon caught while fishing on Eastern Lake Ontario.
Summer fishing on Eastern Lake Ontario means king salmon action as this double king catch shows.

 Lake Ontario fishing for king salmon really picks up in the same areas as brown trout in July.  Most captains use the same techniques as for browns but perhaps go to the bigger Stingray Michigan Stinger.  As it gets into August and September, most switch to flasher-fly combinations.  Great success has been had using Pro Troll Pro Chip 8 flashers followed by Michigan flies in green dolphin or Michigan state colors while salmon fishing on lake ontario.  “A-Tom-Mik” flies in pro-am, hammer, sweet pea, and mirage patterns also work well.  Once you get into the late August-September time frame, many are fishing tight to bottom.

Walleye Fishing

Man stands holding a walleye while fishing on Eastern Lake Ontario.
Late August and September are good times for trophy walleye fishing on Eastern Lake Ontario.

Trophy walleye fishing on Eastern Lake Ontario starts in August and can be hot in September.  Best places are off Calf Island spit, little Galloo Island, big Galloo Island and gas buoy.  Most run planer boards or in-line planers with leads of 100-200 feet.  Working water in the 20-60 foot depths usually is best when fishing on and off points and humps.  Reef Runner lures have always been a favorite of most walleye fishermen, but we like Husky Jerks in size 12 & 14 and Thundersticks.  Deep diving baits are best.

Black Bass Fishing

“Home of the black bass” has been on a sign leading into Henderson Harbor since the 1930s.  There are hundreds of places to fish this feisty fighter which many consider pound for pound, inch for inch, the mightiest fighter of them all!  Most like fishing crabs, minnows, leeches or worms with ultra lites getting the best pounce for the ounce.  The best places for black bass fishing on Eastern Lake Ontario are the same places as for walleye, Also, try Ray’s Bay, Sawyer’s Bay, pillboxes, Gull Island, Bass Island, Chaumont Bay, Black River, Campbell’s Shoal and Bull Rock Point to name just a few.

Lake Trout Fishing

Man stands holding a 22lb lake trout caught while fishing on Eastern Lake Ontario.
Lake trout, like this 22 lb. trophy,can be taken all summer while enjoying Eastern Lake Ontario fishing if you know where to find them.

Eastern Lake Ontario fishing for lake trout has been fantastic in July and early August.  Many fish in the 12-24 pound range, with an occasional bigger one, are taken.  The best place is north, south, or west of “the finger” off Stony Point lighthouse.  Many anglers like using cowbells in watermelon, monkey puke, fire tiger and chartreuse-silver colors followed by glo-green peanuts or Spin & Glo’s or Flat Fish and Fire Plugs. 

 We like using flasher-fly combinations the same as you use for king salmon. Fishing with downriggers close to bottom in 110-160 feet of water produces results.  Always keep an eye on depths around “the finger”.  Out off the “finger” you can bump bottom with no problem since it is flat.

Catfish Fishing

Don’t hesitate to try some fantastic catfish fishing on Eastern Lake Ontario –  in the Black River out of Dexter and Sackets Harbor.  The best place is the deep hole by the islands heading toward Black River Bay.  The best baits are usually chicken livers and shrimp.  Stop and see Judy Kirch at B&J Bait on the water in Dexter for the best information.

Where to Find Information on Lake Ontario Fishing

The best place to call for information on Eastern Lake Ontario fishing is Henchen’s Marina in Henderson Harbor.  They usually have updates on current fishing reports to get you pointed in the right direction.  Many novice fishermen, with pen and pad in hand, hook up with charter captains to learn techniques and, species of fish in lake ontario to fish for, and places to fish in order to get a jump on the knowledge needed to go out into the big lake. 

An Anglers’ Paradise

I have commented previously as to how can anyone not love this great area we have here?  When you watch the news and see those vicious tornadoes, mudslides, tsunamis, forest fires, earthquakes and hurricanes, it sure makes me appreciate this area even more.  A snowstorm or ice storm does not seem that bad after other tragedies of loss of life and property.  We also don’t have those critters that bite, sting or eat you like gators, spiders, poisonous snakes, grizzly bear, scorpions, and sharks.

I hope these few basic tips help the novice get a start fishing on Eastern Lake Ontario but always remember to have fun and take a kid fishing!

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 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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