• Lake Ontario Trout and Salmon Fishing…, April 24, 2019, Fish Doctor Trout and Salmon Fishing Report

    Posted on April 24th, 2019 admin No comments

     

    Co-captain Kevin Kellar shows off a nice king aboard the Fish Doctor, 4/22/19.

    As I eased the Fish Doctor past the west end of the detached breakwall, just outside Oswego Harbor, I heard co-captain Kevin Kellar say, “Fish on, boys.  Grab that center rod!”  25 feet below us a yet to be seen king salmon had chomped down on an aqua Howie fly and I could hear the reel moaning as as the 3-year old king headed NE, stripping line from the reel.

    That’s just a sample of what has been going on aboard the Fish Doctor since April 18, our first day on the water, a fantastic beginning to the 2019 season. 

    Fishing for brown trout has been steady, as usual, around Oswego Harbor, but the king salmon fishing has heated up earlier than normal.  So far best depths have been 15-40 feet of water for the kings and larger browns.  Browns and kings have been coming on everything we’ve put in the water, flat lines off the boards, lead, slide divers, minidivers, and riggers.  Along with the browns and kings, a few lakers, cohos, and Atlantics have been stretching the lines.

    All of the water the Fish Doctor has been prowling so far has been off  from and east of Oswego Harbor, but we’ve heard reports of kings being caught on the color line as far west as West Nine Mile and Fairhaven. 

    The browns have been hitting standard spring items, including spoons, stickbaits, and occasionally flies.  Michigan Stingers in the standard size and Scorpions have been the best producers in black/silver, black/silver glow, brass and green, copper goby, brown trout Chucklet, and others,  There is always a chewed up old black/silver 3F Evil Eye in the water, deadly in the spring.  Old reliables like the black and silver F-11 Rapala always catch browns.  To date, the larger browns have been coming offshore in 15-40 feet of water.

    Kings have been in 15-40 feet of water, with the most boated so far this season 8 or 9 on 4/22.  On April 19, it took a while to find them, but our PA crew was 4 for 5 on kings with in the last 1 ½ hrs we fished. .  Dodger/flies, spoons, black and silver F-11 Rapala flat off the boards, are all  working.  The best spoons for kings have been standard size Michigan Stingers and 3F Evil Eyes in the same colors as for the browns.

    Surprisingly, some of the kings have hit small spoons, #3 Needlefish, Eppinger Chucklets on flat lines off the boards and minidivers.

    All of the browns we’ve cleaned onboard so far have been feeding on gobies, but on 4/22, we did see a released lake trout spit up a 3-4 inch yearling alewife, the first alewife we’ve seen this spring.  Hopefully that is  a good sign of what might be a strong 2018 year class of alewives.

    All in all, it looks like another great spring season out of Oswego.  You gotta love the early kings in shallow, with little or no travel time to get to the fish. Especially when many of them are being caught on ultralight Fish Doctor ShortSticks and Altum 12 reels spooled with 10# main line and 8# leaders. 

    Yeah, it does take a little longer to land them on ultralight gear, but what a way to battle a souped up spring king!

  • Lake Ontario Trout and Salmon Fishing…, The Two Biggest Ever LOC Derby Kings

    Posted on March 23rd, 2019 admin No comments

     

    This 38 lb. 14 oz. Fish Doctor grand prize winning LOC Derby King pales in comparison to Kolasienski's 42 lb. 11 oz. monster.

    On the evening of Thursday, August 26, Travis Kolasienski was fishing with his dad Ed, friend Steve Williams, and his Uncle, Dick Carey, a 15 year veteran on Lake Ontario.  They were trolling north of  Oswego Harvor in Dick’s boat in 110 feet of water. Fishing was slow until one of the rods fired.  When Ed Kolasienski grabbed the rod and set the hook, he offered to give up his turn to his son.  When travis said, “No than ks Dad, I”m going to catch a bigger one!”, it set the stage for his the biggest fish of his life.

    Just a few minutes after his dad landed a 34 lb. king, a second rod fired.  Travis snatched the rod from the rod holder and set the hook into what felt like a log.  It was a king he’ll never forget.  The 45 minute fight was followed by a 10 minute flat-out boat ride to shore in Dick Carey’s 24-foot Thompson. They arrived at the weigh station just minutes before it closed at 8:00 p.m. 

    Travis still gets excited when he tells the tale.  His big money fish that earned him $20,000 hit hit a monkey puke Oki flasher trailed by a glow green Rhys Davis bait head with a herring strip.  They were trolling it 65 feet down at 2.0 mph with only a ple of other boats nearby.    


    When I asked Travis for advice to would-be LOC Derby winners, he commented, “Whew, it’s not easy!   Fish with someone like my Uncle Dick and my Dad who know what they’re doing.”  He also mentioned that luck plays a big part in it, since they fished the same area off Oswego with the same technique during the 2000 LOC Derby, and caught no derby-size kings. 

     In, 1999, LOC Derby competitition was stiff, to say the least, with well over 6500 entries for 18 days. With the top 10 fish entered all over 40 lbs., and the grand prize winner at 42 lbs.  11 oz., it would take a serious second place king to win the derby’s Salmon Division.  That’s exactly what Gary Lawrence caught.

    Gary fished the Mexico Bay area of Lake Ontario out of Catfish Ck.  On the last Wed. of the derby,  Gary was fishing with Jack Mazzie and Mike Orapello on Jack’s 23’ Bayliner, the “Sandy Lee”.  Because he had been catching his biggest kings in the afternoon for several weeks, he  made a point to be on the water on the evening of Wed., Sept. 1st.   At 6:30 PM, off Nine Mile Point, with only one other boat nearby, Gary hooked and landed his big king on an 11” purple Hot Spot trailed by a plain glow bait head and herring strip.

    Because of an inaccurate digital scale that weighed Gary’s fish at 35 lbs., he almost fileted the big king.  When he decided to have the fish mounted, taxidermist Fran Mosher of Animal Art Taxidermy talked him into entering the fish.  When Gary did, he couldn’t b believe his eyes. The scale read 42 lb. 3 oz. and his king  king became history, rather than just another salmon filet on the table.  His big king missed the $20,000 grand prize by 9 oz!

    These two king salmon are mthe largest ever entered in a LOC Derby.

  • Lake Ontario Trout and Salmon Fishing…, Cooking kings

    Posted on July 10th, 2018 admin No comments
    Filleting king salmon onboard the Fish Doctor on the way back to the dock

    Because the king salmon fishing has been sooo… good out of Oswego Harbor since late April, your charter captain has been filleting and packaging lots of kings for Fish Doctor anglers to take home.  One of the most common questions as I’m cleaning salmon at the stern of my charter boat is how I recommend cooking them.

    Well, there are hundreds of ways  to cook salmon, some simple like grilling them, some more complicated like  king salmon florentine(mmm, mmm!), but here’s a really quick, simple, and delicous recipe that is one of my favorites.

    First, go online and “Google Simply Asian Sweet Ginger spice” and order a jar.  Some Walmart stores carry it.

    Take a fresh salmon filet and cut it in strips about two inches wide.  The salmon filet from a good size king will be about an inch or more thick.  Rub the  steaks with olive oil, then sprinkle on the Simply Asian Sweet Ginger spice to taste.  Place   the steaks on a broiling pan and broil on high until just barely cooked.  Overcooking will make the filet dry and tough.

    Quick and dirty broiled king salmon…, deeelicous!!!

     

     

  • Oswego Salmon Fishing Charters…, Oswego Salmon Bite Smokin’

    Posted on July 10th, 2018 admin No comments

     

    A limit of nice kings on June 25, 2018, for Bill and Dave.

    If  you’re thinking about booking a salmon fishing charter, do it now, and book it out of Oswego!  The Oswego king salmon bite since late April minutes out of Oswego Harbor has been one of the very best ever.

    Oswego Harbor is the largest and best protected Lake Ontario harbor with plenty of deep water right out the front door.  Just a week or so ago, kings were concentrated in water as shallow as 65 feet where we were getting our first bites just before sunup.  Right now as postspawn alewives are beginning to move offshore, most of the action has been in 100 feet of water or deeper.  Occasional browns and steelhead are also being caught along with the kings.

    July is a perfect time to book a charter for kings.  They are still feeding actively, mint silver, and delicious eating.  Both morning and afternoon fishing is good.

    The only hitch at this point is that many charters are booked heavily, especially on weekends, so you will want to contact them to book a trip ASAP.

  • Lake Ontario Trout and Salmon Fishing…, June Fishing Charters the Best?

    Posted on June 13th, 2018 admin No comments

    Lennie Beebe battling an early morning king salmon aboard the Fish Doctor in early morning on June9, 2018

    One of the most common questions I hear is, “What time of the season is the best fishing?”  Well, it would take a book to answer that one, but in a nutshell;

    It all depends on what you want to fish and what type of tackle you enjoy.  If you want to fish for brown trout in shallow water, you generally must fish in April, May, and early June.  If you like  ultralight gear the answer is the same when we’re trolling on or near the surface with noodle rods and 8 to 10 lb. test line.  If you want the biggest kings and cohos of the season, you should fish in late August and early September.

    Good fishing any time of  the year depends on conditions.  If weather patterns and especially winds are consistent, with no major changes, fishing is consistent.  Get a big blow and it changes everything.  Fishing can be the best all season, but one major weather change, especially high winds, can change everything.  If you’re fishing when a major cold front comes thru.  Don’t expect a good bite.

    That said,  especially over the past 5 years, I think the best fishing of the season, especially because of the beautiful weather, calm seas, and multispecies catches, occurs in June.

    A few days ago , on June 9, 2017, I had a plan based on what I had been seeing and catching the previous few trips.  I talked with  Leonard Beebe and his  sons Adrian and Len that morning before we left the dock, and explained that there had been a lot of bait(alewives) and plenty of kings a little northwest of  the Oswego lighthouse and we should not have to go far to find them.  With consistent weather conditions and light winds, I guessed the kings had not moved far.

    We  never put the boat on plane as we left the mouth of harbor the compass bearing steady at 330 degrees.  My eye was on my Fish Hawk surface temp.  When it dropped from the 60s to the high 50s in 65 feet of water I started setting riggers, and slide divers.  Before  all of our lines were in the water a screaming drag on a slide diver rod shattered the early morning calm.  King on!

    For the next 5 hours action was steady and by 10:30 a.m., Leonard and his boys boated 13 kings up to 19 lbs., Keeping a limit of 9, most of them caught on rigger rods with line as light as 12# test.

    I wasn’t surprised.  King salmon fishing in June, 2017, and in many months of June before had been just as good.  Exactly one week earlier Karl Schmidt and his fishing buddies had done exactly the same catching one king after another their whole trip.  Two years earlier on the same first Saturday of June that Karl has fished for over 20 years, Karl and his crew had 10 kings and one lake trout in the boat by 6:30 a.m.

    On the way back to the dock, as I was filleting the kings that Leonard and his boys had caught, I was thinking…,  does salmon fishing get any better than that?

    Maybe June IS the best!

  • Lake Ontario Trout and Salmon Fishing…, Catching June Transition Kings

    Posted on June 4th, 2018 admin No comments

     

    Karl Schmidt with a June transition king, one of 8 boated on the morning of 6/2/18.

     

    It was early June as I eased my charter boat out of Oswego Harbor in search of king salmon and steelhead.  One eye was on the seas and the other on my compass and electronics.  My Garmin 3500 told  the story below us, my eyes read lake conditions, my compass bearing would lead us to the offshore hot spot we had fished the previous day, and perhaps most important,  my Fish Hawk speed/temp unit was continually recording  surface water temperature.

    I watched as the 72 degree surface water temperature inside the harbor dropped to 67 degrees just beyond the Oswego lighthouse, and then slowly decrease as we cruised offshore.  5 miles northeast of the harbor, we found what we were looking for, a break in surface temperature from the high 50s to high 40s in less than 100 yards.  My chart plotter showed we were very near the waypoint where we had boated steelhead, lake trout and king salmon 12 hours earlier.  

    The scumline along the break was obvious, with weeds, sticks, and other debris floating in it.  Even more obvious were the gulls that stretched along it picking insects from the  surface.  Not far below  that, I knew there were baitfish and predators, a classic June transition hot spot.

    The June transition is seasonal and all about warming late spring weather.  As late spring air temperature increases, surface temperature warms inshore, pushing trout and salmon offshore.  Meanwhile, because of the huge volume of 200 mile long, 50 mile wide, and 802 feet deep Lake Ontario, surface water temperature offshore remains optimum for kings,  steelhead and lake trout.  It is also  the time when alewives, that have wintered in deep water in mid-lake,  are moving onshore to spawn.  King salmon and steelhead  follow them, remaining in cold  water offshore. 

    There is no time of year when king salmon and steelhead are more active and more surface oriented than in June.  The only problem…, they can be very scattered and tough to locate.  June kings and steelhead are much more scattered than they are in midsummer when a thin band of rapidly decreasing water temperature separates a a warm upper layer and cold deeper laye, concentrating trout and salmon deep. Once you pin point aggressively feeding offshore kings steelhead in June, though, they are easy to catch.

    Locating kings in June is more about hunting than fishing, using a combination of old fashioned fishing savvy and state of the art fish finding electronics.  When trout and salmon are this scattered it is important to use a fish finder capable of locating fish, bait, and plankton at planning speeds.  When kings and steelhead are in the top 15-20 feet of water and can’t be detected effectively with standard sonar, experience reading offshore surface water to located feeding birds, current lines, and thermal bars helps pin point king salmon concentrations.

    In June, my mind set is…, “Find kings and you will catch them!”  At no other time of the year are they more actively feeding.  With no urge to spawn this early in the season, their two priorities are to be comfortable and to keep their bellies full.  Comfort meant optimum water temperature, available in June anywhere in the lake from the surface to the bottom.  Keeping their bellies full means feeding on alewives, their primary forage.  Find alewives and you find kings.  Find kings and get ready to open your fish cooler!

    With the proper equipment on your boat,  June kings and steelhead can run, but they can’t hide,  even in the  great expanse of Lake  Ontario. It may take more effort to find these these silvery battlers when they are scattered, but a cooler full of delicious late spring salmon and steelhead is well worth the effort.

    When transition kings and steelherad are in the top 30 feet and scattered, my “High, Wide, and Handsome” spread includes 3 to 5 riggers, two slide divers, and a total of 6 leadcore sections usually ranging from 2 two 7 colors, covering the depths from 8’ 28’., 3 on each of my Megaboards planning out +100’ on each side of the boat, boat traffic permitting. 

  • Lake Ontario Trout and Salmon…, The Oswego Rules!

    Posted on May 11th, 2018 admin No comments

    One of many browns, plus rainbows and salmon boated in and around Oswego Harvbor on 5/11/18.

    There are a lot of ports along New York State’s Lake Ontario shoreline where trout and salmon are caught in the spring, but it’s tough to beat fishing out of the port of Oswego.

    Second largest tributary emptying into the lake, the Oswego River and it’s warm, rich plume that impacts several miles of the lake’s shoreline is a magnet to baitfish, alewives, and, following, them, predators…, trout and salmon.

    Last time the Fish Doctor was out deep in 150 fow, offshore surface temp was 38.5 degrees.  Inshore, surface temp in Oswego Harbor was in the mid50s.  Today, in 60 fow surface temp was 40 degrees and harbor temp was 60 degrees.  Browns and salmon we boated were stuffed with alewives.

    In a tough NE wind, it was too bumpy to fish the main lake, so every boat out of Oswego fished in and around the harbor, boating browns, rainbows, Atlantics and a few kings.

    Elsewhere on the south shore of the lake from the Niagara River to the Salmon River it was either impossible to troll or very, very lumpy.

    No wonder Fish Doctor anglers say, “The Oswego Rules”!

  • Lake Ontario Trout and Salmon Fishing…, 2018 Prospects

    Posted on January 14th, 2018 admin No comments

     

    A 10 lb. domestic rainbow boated in June, 2017

    Yours truly tends to be a bit verbose  in the winter when time  is more available than during the 24-7 charter fishing season. Sooo…, with charter customers asking,  “What do you think fishing will be like this season?”, let’s take a short and sweet look at this by species ranked 1 to 10.

    King Salmon –   8-10   But, this depends on when kings show  up in Oswego.  If we start catching them in late April or early May like some years…, 10.  King salmon fishing in 2018…, I’ll give it an 8 overall with some outstanding fishing in late, June  near shore and offshore in July and early August.

    Spring Cohos –  5   Some years  we catch decent numbers  of spring cohos well into June, but other years  nomadic leave Oswego  in late April and early May.  The word is…, unpredictable.   

    Late Summer Cohos – 7  Not so with late season cohos that always show upin eastern Lake Ontari9o in late August and provide decent fishing  until the run the Salmon River in late September.  Late summer coho fishing in 2017…, 8.    2018…,  ?

    Brown Trout –  10    Look for exceptional spring/ summer fishing for larger than average browns.  We caught more yearling browns in 2017 while fishing for browns and cohos than I’ve seen in years.  2-year olds were plentiful and larger than normal in the spring and summer harvest was down because all the attention was focused on kings.  Expect plenty of  2-year olds and some jumbo 3-year olds, along with the occasional monster.

    Lake Trout(April 1 – June 1) –  10    Every spring just outside Oswego Harbor  lake trout fishing is as good as it gets, but lakers leave the Oswego area in late spring. Summer lake trout fishing out of Oswego is almost nonexistent.  If you want summer lakers, head north to Stony Point.

    Steelhead   -  ???    Excellent in June the past few years, including 2017.  Fishing in July and August 2017 was better than normal because we were fishing kings way offshore in “steelhead country”!  Steelhead fishing is all about conditions, but in mid to late summer, you can always find them offshore.

    Domestic Rainbows – ???    Normally caught incidental to brown trout and salmon fishing, domestics were more abundant and larger than normal in 2017.  Where most domestic rainbows are still less than the legal 21″ limit by early May, domestics were averaging 22-23 inches at that time in 2017.  Dandy bonus fish.

    Atlantic Salmon – 1!     We see very few trophy Atantics each season, but they are spectacular!

     

  • Lake Ontario Trout and Salmon Fishing…, King Salmon Satellite Tagging Study

    Posted on December 5th, 2017 admin No comments

     

    graphs of taged king salmon "Super Dives" and night time foraging

    In 2018, Cornell fisheries researchers, fished aboard the Fish Doctor in July and August to collect king salmon for marking with satellite tags.  These so “called “pop-off” tags are programmed to physically pop off a salmon at a predetermined time, floating to the surface to be tracked by satellite.  Recovered tags provide a wealth of information.

    Not only do recovered tags show location relative to the tagging site, they also record every second depth, water temperature, acceleration rate.

    Although most of the tagging results have yet to  be released, one of the first tags placed on a king collected on the Fish Doctor off Oswego showed up at the mouth of Coburg Ck. in Canada four months after tagging, yielding both expected and unexpected information.

    Yes, this particular king salmon, as expected, inhabited cool water, generally in the high 40 to low 50 degrees F., whichput it around 60 to 80 feet deep most of the time.  However, it made some surprising instantaneous dives to as deepas 300 feet for no apparent reason, and also made routine forays to the surface at night where temps were often +/- 70 degrees F., presumably in search of alewife forage.

    There is much more to come on the results of this forage, so stay tuned!  Check out this link to a video taken onboard while collecting and tagging kings aboard the Fish Doctor <http://www.greatlakesboating.com/2017/11/hightech-salmon-in-lake-ontario>

  • Lake Ontario Trout and Salmon Fishing…, Salt Ice for Fresher Fish

    Posted on June 29th, 2017 admin No comments

    This June 26, 2016 catch of trout and salmon aboard the Fish Doctor was kept fresh on salt ice.

    The only charter boat fishing out of Oswego Harbor that cleans trout and salmon onboard before returning to the dock is the Fish Doctor, AND…, we are very fussy about keeping fish as fresh as possible.

    That starts with bleeding and rinsing every trout and salmon that comes aboard the Fish Doctor.  The next step is putting the fish in our onboard cooler with salt ice to keep fish as fresh and cool as possible until they are fileted.

    Salt ice?  Yes, salt ice, 1 gallon jugs of water to which 3 heaping tablespoons of salt have been added.  Adding salt to water before freezing it lowers the freezing temperature of the water, meaning the ice will actually be colder than frozen fresh water.  When salt is added to water, the temperature drops: A 10-percent salt solution freezes at 20 F  and a 20-percent solution freezes at 2 F.

    That’s why you see the liquid in the bottom of a Fish Doctor cooler at the end of a trip frozen to the bottom of the salt ice jugs.  Not so with a frozen  jug of regular fresh water.

    Bleed fish, keep them rock hard on salt ice, filet them fresh taking care not to get any slime on the filets, and you’ll have the best tasting fish possible that keep much fresher for much longer in your frig or cooler..