• Lake Ontario Trout and Salmon Fishing…, 2014 Fishing License Changes

    Posted on April 2nd, 2014 admin No comments

     

    Salmon and Trout Fishing on Lake Ontario, July 4th at the Oswego Harbor Lighthouse

    It’s a rarity in this day and age for the cost of anything to go down or for a regulation to change for the better, but that’s what happened to New York State fishing licenses.  Here is a summary of changes and fishing license fees you’ll be able to take advantage of this season.

    New Fishing License Year – Annual licenses are now valid for one full year from date of purchase  Instead of fishing licenses being valid from Oct. 1 thru Sept. 30, as in the past, your fishing license is now valid for one full year after purchase.  In the past, if you fished with Fish Doctor Charters on, say, July 1st and August 30, 2013, you would have had to purchase an annual license for ___  and it would have been good only thru Sept. 30, 2013.  With the change in licensing, if you fish the same dates in 2014, the annual license you purchase  on July 1, will be valid thru June 30, 2015, giving you 9 additional months to fish. 

    Annual Fishing License  – Resident and nonresident fishing license fees have been reduced.  “Juniors” from 16 to 69 will pay $25 and seniors, only $5.  An annual nonresident license is now $50.

    1-day Fishing  License Fee  – Many Fish Doctor Anglers fish only one trip each season and purchase a 1-day license.  The cost of that license, which was $15 for non residents and ___ for residents  in, 2013, has been reduced to $10 for nonresidents and $5 for residents

    Resident Senior Annual Fishing License – Now only $5, this fee was reduced from ____ in 2013.  

    General Fishing Licenses(effective 2/1/14)

    Type

    Resident Fee

    Nonresident Fee

    Annual

    $25 (ages 16-69)

    $50

    $5 (ages 70+)

    7-day

    $13

    $31

    1-day

    $5

    $10

  • Stocking Diversity Is the Key

    Posted on March 25th, 2014 admin No comments

    It’s amazing how good the trout and salmon fishing continues to be in Lake Ontario, year after year, and I have often pondered on what makes this world class fishery click.

    The answer is many things. The first is foresight by the fishery managers and scientists who recognized the potential of the Lake Ontario as a salmonid fishery, laid out the plan and sold it to license buyers and government bureaucrats. Following that initial step, an international management team involving New York State, the Province of Ontario, Canada, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service was crucial to the program. Air and water pollution abatement by the US and Canada, sea lamprey control, the basic productivity of the lake itself, plus sound fishery management and consistent stocking, all contributed to today’s multimillion dollar salmonid fishery.

    An important componentof the fishery and a primary reason for its consistency is the diversity of the stocking program.  Each year six species of trout and salmon, totaling about 3.5 million are stocked by New York State, including 1.7 million kings salmon, close to a half million each of lake trout, brown trout, and steelhead, along with lesser numbers of coho and Atlantic salmon, domestic rainbows.  The Province of Ontario, Canada stocks about half that.  In addition, in recent years millions of wild fingerling king salmon, mostly from the Salmon River, have added to the fishery.  This diversity of stocking is vital to maintenance of Lake Ontario’s high quality fishery, year after year.

    Since fishery biologists first began to manipulate Lake Ontario’s fish populations through management and stocking, these populations have fluctuated up and down.  Around,  2000, the lake trout population was thriving.  That ended abruptly when a variety of hatchery problems reduced stocking drastically for several years. The population crashed, but recently recovered after successful management efforts.  If lake trout were the only species managed in Lake Ontario, the salmonid fishery would have completely collapsed. As it was, fishermen continued to enjoy great fishing in the lake, the slack taken up by healthy pupulations of other species.

    Since I first began fishing Lake Ontario in 1977, salmoid  populations have fluctuated.  Not every stocking is 100 percent successful every year. Size and health of stocked fish varies year to year.  The alewife forage base fluctuates.  For many years a burgeoning population of cormorants took a toll on brown trout and steelhead stockings. That has no changed after the introduction of gobies, a bottom dwelling exotic that now comprises 96% of the cormorants’ diet. The improvement in brown trout and steelhead fishing has been dramatic.

    Fortunately for anglers, with six different species of trout and salmon stocked in Lake Ontario, when one particular population decreases, experience has shown one or more others is usually doing the opposite or holding it’s own. The world class fishing that results is one of the reasons Lake Ontario is considered one of the finest, accessible trout and salmon fisheries in North America.

     

  • Lake Ontario Trout and Salmon Fishing…, Rigging Whole Bait

    Posted on January 24th, 2014 admin No comments

    Few anglers question that trolling with meat, whether whole bait, cut bait, or Sushi Flies, is one of the deadliest techniques for catching monster Great Lakes Chinook salmon.  Each of these meat rigs catches fish, but “matching the hatch” with whole alewives, the primary salmonid forage in the Great Lakes, makes a lot of sense.  The secret to success with the “real McCoy” is properly rigging and tuning it.

     

    You can buy fresh frozen vacuum packed alewives and whole bait rigs directly from Great Lakes Tackle Supplies. Contact Walt Thompson <greatlakestacklesupplies.com>. You’ll find the bait heads are easy to use, but there is a learning curve involved with rigging and tuning it.   Here are some rigging tips you might find helpful;

     

    1. You’ll need bait, rigs(prettied plastic heads/leaders/hooks), flat toothpicks, a coil of .019(or so) wire, and wire cutters.
    2. before you do anything, just behind the eye of the alewife, you’ll feel a bony bump…, crush that slightly so the bait slides into the bait head easily and all the way…, no space between nose of bait and end of head.

     

    1. slide the head of the bait all the way into the bait head, take the end of the wire and insert it thru the hole in one side of the bait head, thru the bait, and out the other side. Slide/twist the wire back and forth to “open” the hole in the bait. Remove the wire without moving the bait inside the baithead…, insert the toothpick in the hole you just made with a pushing/spinning motion, and it will easily follow the hole you just made with the wire right thru the bait head. Snug it up, break it off.

     

     

    1.  use a flat toothpick that will fit easily thru the holes in the bait head.

     

    1. Now the key to tuning whole bait and keeping it tuned…, slide a section of wire thru the bait along the backbone, on the side of the backbone toward the outside of the bend. Push the wire right up into the bony head of the bait. You want the bait to be straight when you do this. The straighter the bait when you get done, the easier it will be to tune(bend) it properly. The wire helps maintain the correct bend in the bait as you fish it. Pic shows inserting wire after hook is placed, but I like to do it before hooking bait.

     

    1. Hook the leading beak hook thru the bait as shown in the pic, with the tail treble swinging free at the tail of the bait.

     

     

    1. Check the tune in the water boatside, and adjust the bend according to your trolling speed. You want the same basic corkscrew rolling motion as with cut bait.

     

    With time, you’ll be able to tune a whole bait from a tight roll to a wide roll. Get it right, and a whole bait is very speed tolerant. Also, you can tune them to troll at almost any speed, i.e., fished clean, you can rig them as part of a spoon spread, etc. The bend you see in the attached pic is for a slow troll.

     

    Once you’ve done this a few times, it won’t take long to rig/tune whole bait. The rigging/cleaning table mounted permanently at the stern of my boat is invaluable for this. I precut wire sections and keep toothpicks handy. I carry my whole bait in a separate cooler in a plastic contair of salt brine…, thaw the bait in the morning when I get up, place it in the salt brine, and carry it aboard in the cooler. I place a ziplock of a few frozen bait in my cooler, and early in a trip fish them fresh as they thaw.

     

    I like clear heads for running clean bait and the standard color(as with cut bait) for fishing with attractors.

     

    When the fish are aggressive and biting spoons, flies, etc., I don’t fish bait unless I’m fishing for a derby winner. When the bite slows, the bait goes in the water. Familiar Bait alewives are also deadly for everything else that eats alewives, including big lakers and browns.

    A properly rigged whole Familiar Bite alewife

  • Lake Ontario Trout and Salmon Fishing…, Snow Baby, Snow!

    Posted on January 10th, 2014 admin No comments

    This April brown was caught in the colored plume of the Oswego River on a "dirty water" plug.

    Most of us like to look on the bright side, especially folks who fish.  If the fish aren’t biting, they should start any minute.  If they don’t start biting, well, it’s a nice day to be outside.  If it really isn’t a nice day outside, well, your garden needed the rain anyway.  You know, like we’ve all heard before, “A bad day of fishing is better than a good day at work!”

     

    Well, those of you in northern New York may be having a little trouble looking on the bright side this winter.  What weather swings…, frigid cold, lake effect, more cold, more snow, then a January thaw that may cause flooding.  What’s next?   More snow and rain?    If the weather pattern we’ve been seeing continues, you can count on it, since we’ve got over 2 ½ months of winter left.  This is bad news if you’re tired of shoveling snow and shuffling around on ice, but for the  spring brown trout fisherman on Lake Ontario, it couldn’t be better.

     

    The Oswego and Niagara Rivers are New York State’s two largest Lake Ontario tributaries emptying directly into deep water areas of the lake..  I moor my charter boat at the mouth of theOswegoRiverinOswegoHarbor, right in the city ofOswego, NY.  .  The river’s watershed is huge, stretching all the way south to the southern drainages of the largestFinger Lakes, Cayuga, Seneca, and others.  It also includesOneida Lake, one of the largest inland lakes inNew York, as well as theSyracusearea, and tens of thousands of acres of farm land.  When the snow melts in the spring runoff from this drainage basin funnels down theOswegoRiver, increasing the flow into the lake.  The spring runoff, warmed by the sun, carries with it nutrient laden water, the food of plankton, which attracts baitfish like smelt and alewives as it enters the lake.  Following the baitfish…, predators like brown trout, rainbows, chinook and coho salmon, and Atlantic salmon.

     

    Since the year, 2000, the two winters with the highestSyracusesnowfall were 2000-01 with 191.9” and 2003-04 with 181.3”.  I’m guessing it’s not a coincidence that my two best springs for chinook salmon fishing offshore of Oswego Harbor were 2001 and 2004, when flow in the Oswego River was high from the huge snow melt.  I didn’t keep an accurate log of my salmon catch in 2001, but I did in 2004…, 201 chinook salmon in 31 trips.  The only reason these fish were just outsideOswegoHarbor…, the attraction of theOswegoRiverand it’s plume of warm water that extends out into the lake, like a magnet to baitfish, trout, and salmon.

     

    High river flows have the same effect on brown trout fishing in the Oswego Harbor area, but for a different reason.  Spooky,  browns are much easier to catch in colored water.   When river flow is high and the discharge plume outsideOswegoHarboris turbid with visibility as little as 3 to 5 feet, baitfish aren’t as easy for brown trout to locate and chow down on so browns feed longer.  In addition, light penetration thru turbid water is reduced, so the sun doesn’t shut down light sensitive browns.

     

    If the cold, snowy weather in Syracuse and central New York continues, we should be looking at and some super fishing for kings and browns out of Oswego Harbor.  Sorry folks, but from where I am in South Carolina, I’m joining the chorus singing, “Snow Baby Snow!”

  • Lake Ontario Salmon and Trout…, Fishing Michigan Stingers at Oswego Harbor, March 2013

    Posted on March 31st, 2013 admin No comments

               

    As Mike Furnare stood at the stern of my charter boat onMay 6, 2011, just east ofOswegoHarbor, he couldn’t believe his eyes when he looked down in the prop was and saw the long dark shape 2’ below the surface ofLakeOntariowith the spoon we were trolling in it’s mouth.  Before Mike could move, the 11 lb. landlock was in the air eyeball to eye ball, the hammered silver/red Michigan Stinger clearly visible in the corner of it’s jaw.  After some wild acrobatics by that big salmon and some huffin’ and puffin’ by Mike, the fish finally came to the net.         

    In early spring, Michigan Stingers are a go-to trolling spoon aboard the Fish Doctor, but not necessarily as they come out of the box.    In the 3 ¼ inch size,  it’s a perfect smelt and yearling alewife imitation. 

    It’s the 3 ¼” Stinger that ’s so deadly for early spring browns, kings, steelhead, and landlocked salmon in the Great Lakes.   This slender, ¾” wide spoon, is available in flat and hammered silver, brass, and copper finishes, plus about every conceivable painted color.   With some tuning, it can be trolled effectively over a range of speeds from 1.5 mph to over 4.0 mph.

    I fish Stingers on everything,  flatlines, planer boards, leadcore, riggers, Dipsys, and Slide Divers.  With the stock #2 treble hook and no bend, it trolls well from 2.3 – 3.5 mph.  But especially in April, when the water temperature is cold, and I’m trolling Stingers for brown trout at speeds as slow as 1.5  mph, I substitute a smaller, #4 chrome, wide bend treble for the #2 treble to produce a snappier action.  This spoon with a size #4 treble fishes best with a small #1 crosslock snap and light line.  For browns, 6 – 8 lb. leader works well.

    At faster trolling speeds, use the stock #2 treble and replace the crosslock snap with a coastlock snap swivel.  Lure action can be changed by ncreasing or decreasing the bend in the tail of the spoon.

    You’ll vind  browns will like lots of  Stinger colors, including the basics…,  Black Alewife”(S62),  “Tuxedo”,  “Bitter Lemon”,  “Rainy Day Spoon”(SH30), and many others.

    For early spring Atlantics at faster trolling speeds,  the same Stinger colors and finishes that catch browns also work for salmon, but hammered silver, copper or brass Stingers with a fluorescent orange or fluorescent lime green paint stripe or a diagonal strip of red/orange tape are effective.   In April, when landlocks  follow spawning smelt and juvenile alewives  inshore, I “match the hatch” with the 3 1/4”MichiganStinger

    Match the hatch with the 3 1/4" Michingan Stinger.

     

    If you’re interested in trying Michigan Stingers in your home waters, check out the Stinger web site at <www.mistinger.com>.  Don’t be surprised by the myriad of colors on the site, but focus on the basic patterns I’ve learned to use and you won’t go wrong..

  • Lake OntarioTrout and Salmon Fishing – Tweaking the Deadly Sutton

    Posted on March 23rd, 2013 admin No comments

    The #44 Sutton..., tuned properly, it's absolutely deadly for Great Lakes trout and salmon.

    As a LakeOntario charter captain with 30 years of experience under my keel, I’ve been asked many times, “If you had only one spoon to use inLakeOntario for trout and salmon, what would it be?”  Well, to answer that, I’ll take it one step farther.  If I had only one spoon to use for trout and salmon anywhere on a flatline, leadcore or copper line, or a downrigger or Dipsy , it would be an ultralight flutter spoon called a Sutton, in Size #44.  If I could select a few different sizes of Suttons, I would add the #31, #71, #88 and #38.

     

    The first time I fishedLakeOntarioin September, 1977, with my fishing partner Mac Collins,  five out of the six kings my partner and I caught were on a flat silver #88 Sutton.  Since then, Sutton spoons in a variety of sizes and stock finishes, plus customized versions I concoct myself, have caught every species of trout and salmon inLakeOntariofor me including, cohos, steelhead, lake trout, domestic rainbow trout, landlocked salmon, several thousand brown trout, plus walleyes and bass. 

     

    Suttons, by far, are the most popular trolling spoon for trout and salmon inNew York’sFinger Lakes, where they originated many years ago, unfortunately, they are no longer available.  They have one of the finest silver plated finishes on the market. 

     

    Suttons are available in both ultralight flutterspoons and heavier casting spoons.  They are available in a variety of finishes including flat and hammered silver, brass, copper, silver/brass, and silver/copper depending on the model and size.

     

    My favorite is the ultralight flutterspoon because it can be tweaked to troll properly at speeds from 1.5 – 3.0 mph.  These spoons come from the factory with a light treble hook which produces good action at slow speeds.  For my purposes onLakeOntario, I replace the treble on all Sutton spoons with a single Mustad siwash hook.  On my favorite, the  3” long #44 Sutton, I use  a Size #1, #1/0 or #2/0 depending on the speed I’ll be trolling for different species and the spoon action I’m trying to achieve.  With the factory bend and a single # 1 hook, the #44  rigged with a #1 crosslock snap on a light leader will start to spin at 2.0 mph.  Small crosslock snaps improve the action of any flutterspoon at slow speeds.  Rigged with the same small crosslock snap, but a 1/0 Siwash hook, the #44 will start to spin at 2.3 mph.  Rig a #44 Sutton with a #2/0 Siwash hook and a #2 Sampo coastlock ball bearing snap swivel it will wobble up to about 2.7 mph.  Flatten the spoon thru the middle and bend back a 3/8” length of the nose of the spoon, and it will wobble up to about 3.0 mph. 

     

    For brown trout, tune a Sutton to wobble.  King salmon prefer a spoon that wobbles, but will hit spinning spoons when they’re aggressively feeding.  Domestic rainbows sometimes prefer a flutterspoon that spins.  Vary the size of the Sutton you’re fishing from the smaller, 3” #44 and #31 to the larger #71 and #38 depending on the size of the bait fish trout and salmon are targeting. 

     

    One of my my favorite Suttons in LakeOntario’s gin-clear water when it’s sunny is the stock hammered silver/brass finish.  A 1/16stripe of fluorescent orange paint along the silver edge of a hammered silver/brass Sutton produces more fish in colored water under sunny skies.  A flat silver Sutton with a diagonal stripe of light blue lazer tape is one of my favorites for brown trout in clear water and low light.  Your own custom touches of tape and paint are sometimes just what the doctor ordered.

     

    I’ll never forget that firstLakeOntariotrip with Mac Collins.  As he removed a crumpled #88 Sutton from a big king’s toothy maw, I suggested the spoon was ready for the garbage heap.  “No way,” Mac said.  “This baby is just starting to get a little character!”  Mac put another “peppermint twist” in the spoon, rigged it on a downrigger and promptly caught another king on it.  If you’re lucky, you may find Suttons online.

  • Lake Ontario Salmon and Trout Fishing…, 2013 Ice-out

    Posted on March 11th, 2013 admin No comments

    On March 11, 2013, Lake Ontario and Oswego Harbor are ice free.

    If you northern New Yorkers and New Enganders are still shoveling snow, chopping thru 2 feet of ice on your lakes, and watching thermometers drop to 0 degrees or lower every other night, Cheer up!  There is life elsewhere on the planet, including Lake Ontario.

     

    We get lots of calls asking, “When will ice-out be so we can come fishing, Capt. Ernie?”   Well, fact  is Lake Ontario never freezes over completely and some winters doesn’t even skim over along the shoreline.  This was one of those ice free winters, and I heard recently, even Lake Champlain didn’t freeze…, unusual.  Check the Camera 9 webcam at Oswego Harbor, and you’ll see the lake and harbor are ice free.

     

    Questions about Lake Ontario iceout are common.  It’s hard for anglers who have been shoveling snow insubzero weather all winter and who seldom see ice-out until late April or mid-May to realize Lake Ontario never freezes over completely.  Even in the most bitter winters, shoreline ice cover, at the very most, extends out no more than a few miles out from the coastline.  The inlets and harbors on the New York side of the lake that provide boat access are normally locked in with ice until late March or very early April.  One exception is theNiagara River which is always ice free.  Another, isOswegoHarbor, which is either ice free or becomes ice free in late winter.

    The latest iceout I ever remember was April 10, and that was a situation where during a colder than normal winter, ice extending several miles out from shore, blew ashore after a heavy nor’wester, clogging the mouth of the harbor.  The earliest I’ve ever trolled from a boat on the lake wasFebruary 14, 1998, during an El Nino winter.  Extremely mild weather that year kept the water temperature much warmer than normal and produced fantastic late winter fishing for browns and domestic rainbows.

    This winter the weather along the southeastern shoreline ofLakeOntariohas actually been relatively mild with less snow and slightly warmer temperatures than normal.  Accumulated snowfall inFulton,NY, just south ofOswegoandOswegoHarbor, where I moor my charter boat, was 149 inches onMarch 5, 2013, compared to some years when snowfall totals exceed 300 inches.  Average temperature from December thru March is normally around 29 degrees and subzero weather is rare. 

    The Oswego area has missed the nasty 2013 snow storms which have hammered parts of New England.  On March 5, NOAA weather satellite maps showed midlake surface temperature of Lake Ontario was as high as 35 degrees in midlake.  The long term average this time of year is about 34 degrees.   According to  www.weatheroffice.gc.ca, Environment Canada, on March 5, 2013, LakeOntario is “Ice free except…, lake ice in the Bay of Quinte and in the bays along the northeastern shore.”  Oswego Harbor is already ice free, but most other ports may be iced in until late March.  Water temperature in the Oswego River on March 11, after a weekend of snow melt was 38 degrees.  You can bet that baitfish and the trout and salmon predators that follow them have already started to concentrate around this warmer water off the mouth of the Oswego River.

    No matter what the weather does from now until spring, there will no be no ice cover onLakeOntariothis winter.  Our spring charter fishing season will start in early April, as usual.   As we speak the brown trout fishing in Oswego Harbor is already beginning to happen, with reports of a few anglers catching late winter browns casting from the harbor walls.

     

     

    No matter what the weather does from now until spring, there will no be no ice cover onLakeOntariothis winter.  Our spring charter fishing season will start in early April, as usual.   As we speak the brown trout fishing inOswegoHarboris already beginning to happen, with reports of a few anglers catching late winter browns casting from the harbor walls.

     

     

     

  • Lake Ontario Trout and Salmon Fishing…, Slide Divers

    Posted on February 23rd, 2013 admin No comments

    Slide Divers..., deadly!

     

    If you troll for trout and salmon, and haven’t tried the Slide Diver or the Lite Bite Slide Diver you should.  It is a real fish catcher onboard my chart fishing boat, the Fish Doctor, and was really been smokin’ during the fantastic, 2012, April-May king salmon fishing we enjoyed  in the Oswego area of  Lake Ontario.

     

    Anglers who troll for trout and salmon are familiar with directional diving planers like the Dipsy Diver.  These planers attach directly to monofilament,  braided, or wire line and take your bait or lure down to target depths. The adjustable rudder on many of these  diving planers directs them to port or starboard of the boat.   These types of planers use water pressure against the angled surface of the diver to take the diver and the attached leader and lure to depth. 

     

    A drawback to standard diving planers…, the length of the leader training them is limited to a maximum of about eight feet or whatever length an angler can handle when the planer is reeled to the rod tip while landing a fish.  This is where the Slide Diver parts company with all other available directional and nondirectional diving planers.

     

    Slide Divers differ from all other diving planers and  are a major part of my trout and salmon arsenal aboard the Fish Doctor for one reason.  They are inline planers, that is the line passes through them and can be locked in place any distance ahead of the lure.  This allows a lure to be fished at any distance behind the Slide Diver, a huge advantage when trolling for boat shy trout or salmon just below the surface.  In many cases, a trout or salmon in the top 30 feet or less of water won’t hit a lure fished on a 6’to 8’ leader behind a diving planer.  Set that lure back 20’ or more and lock your line in place in a Slide Diver, though, and you’ll catch fish. 

     

    The Lite Bite Slide Diver is an improved version of the Slide Diver that has a different trigger mechanism, allowing even the smallest trout or salmon to release the trigger, avoiding dragging small fish behind the planer undetected.

     

    The setup I’ve used this spring on Lake Ontario to fish Lite Bite Slide Divers is a 9’ medium heavy rod with standard guides, and an ABU Garcia 7000 Synchro line counter reel spooled with 40 lb. test Berkley braided line. The braided line is slipped through an 8 mm. bead and attached to 6’ of 15# to 20# test fluorocarbon leader with a barrel swivel.   The rudder on the Slide Diver is adjusted to the #3 setting taking the diver as far away from the boat as possible.  Spoons are normally fished 20 to 40 feet behind the Slide Diver.  When any size fish hits the spoon, the trigger on the diver releases and the diver slides back to the bead ahead of the swivel, 6’ ahead of the spoon.

     

    You will appreciate one of the greatest  advantages of the Slide Diver when a steelhead or landlocked salmon hits and goes aerial, leaping across the surface.  Instead of dragging a solidly attached diving planer along with it, increasing the chance for the hook to pull free, the inline Slide Diver  slides freely on the line, never allowing the fish to pull directly against the diver.

     

    Chris Dwy and Bill Purcell will attest to the effectiveness of Slide Divers after fishing them aboard the Fish Doctor onMay 7, 2012, to boat a limit of king salmon and brown trout.  With the last king of their limit thrashing in the net, three more kings hit.   Chris and Bill had a triple on, two on Slide Divers.  All three kings were released unharmed to thrill another angler another day.

     

    There is a bit of a learning curve involved with using Slide Divers, but they are so effective for trout and salmon, the time it takes to learn to use them is well worth it.

  • Lake Ontario Trout and Salmon Fishing…, Tuning the Flutterdevle

    Posted on February 14th, 2013 admin No comments

    Three of my favorite spoons for browns are the Sutton, Michigan Stinger, and  Eppinger Flutterdevle, especially the genuine silver plated ones  that I’ve been told are no longer manufactured.   If you can find used or new ones, they are worth their weight in gold for spring browns, if you know how to tune them.

    When I took my first Flutterdevle from the box, I scratched my head as I checked out the almost perfectly flat spoon.  With little or no action except at very high trolling speeds, I wasn’t impressed.  I fiddled around with Flutterdevles for almost two years with very little success.  It wasn’t until Karen Eppinger, the company’s president,  sent me a properly tuned Flutterdevle with an “S” bend that I finally started catching brown, after brown, after brown on it.  To tweak a Flutterdevle with an “S” bend, just smoothly(no sharp bends!)bend the tail of the spoon in the direction of the existing cup, and bend the nose of the spoon in the opposite direction. 

    An “S” bend gives a Flutterdevle an excellent action over a wide range of speeds.  Increase the bend for slow speeds, and straighten it for higher speeds.  To fish the size #31 Jr. Flutterdevle  at speeds of 1.5 to 2.0 mph, use a #1 crosslock snap on light leader and a no. 1/0 Mustad Salmon Hook(single).  At trolling speeds from 2.0 to 2.7 mph use a no. 1 coastlock snap swivel,  switch to a size 2/0 single hook, and flatten the “S” bend slightly.  Watch the action of a Flutterdevle in the water, boatside, at your selected trolling speed and tune it to produce optimum action.

            In just the past four years, aboard the “Fish Doctor”, #31 Flutterdevles have accounted for many, many browns from late March through midJune in the top 20 feet of water.   It is most effective, however, fished on a monofilament leader of 6 lb. test and lighter in clear water and 8 lb. test in turbid water, and takes fish from  planer boards, downriggers, and flatlines. 

    A selection of proven Flutterdevles for Lake Ontario brown trout

    The hammered silver finishes with paint stripes of lemon/lime, and red/orange; prism stripes of blue, green, or blue/green; ham. Silver with a black edge, and other colors in the ham. silver spoon all stock are top producers.

  • June, 2012 Lake Ontario Trout and Salmon Fishing, The Best!

    Posted on July 4th, 2012 admin No comments

    In our last blog, we answered the question we’re often asked, “What is the best time to fish Lake Ontario?”  The answer, hesitantly because of all the variables like weather, annual changes in trout and salmon behavior, and other factors…, was June.

    Well, I guess once and I while you just get it right, because fishing last month, June, 2012, for king salmon, steelhead, and brown trout may just have been the best fishing I’ve ever seen any month, any year since the first June I fished back in 1978!!

    What fishing!  Limit catches of kings and steelhead were the rule thru about June, 25.  The steelhead scattered a bit, but the number of kings increased as they moved even closer to shore.  Because of all the attention anglers were focusing on kings, browns nearshore have gone untouched, and fishing for them has been as good as it gets.

    Alewives are wall to wall, and a Lake Ontario fishery researcher emailed this comment to me.  “Preliminary results from the alewife survey in April indicated that alewife remain in great condition, adult abundance and biomass improved and it appears that they pulled off a good year class last year.”  The condition of the king salmon and brown trout “second” that.  Steelhead are also in super shape, and there appears to be a very strong year class of 4 to 8 lb. fish, probably 3-year olds.

    We’re looking at not only “football” browns, but “football” kings.  I’ve never seen kings as healthy.

    The prospects for the rest of the season…, out of sight!  2013 prospects…, off the scale!!!

    Brandon, boated this 25.9 lb. "football" king on the afternoon of 7/2/12 aboard the Fish Doctor.