• Lake Ontario Trout and Salmon Fishing…, HotChips, the most overlooked Great Lakes flasher!

    Posted on July 26th, 2018 admin No comments

    ProTroll's HotChip, the most overlooked Great Lake salmon and trout flasher. Perfect for high speed offshore trolling in midsummer!

    So, it’s midJuly and the bait is moving offshore, kings and steelhead following.  Everything is scattered big time as far out as the Canadian border.

    So, you’re going to troll along at slow poke speed and try to catch kings, right.  Nope.  Unless you get lucky and set down on a huge concentration of bait and fish, you’re going to have to cover some water.

    To do that, you’re going to fish, like everyone else, an 8″ ProChip flasher with a rudder and a fly or the same flasher with bait, that basically doesn’t work well at speeds over speeds over 2.7 mph.  Wrong!

    To kick it in the butt and cover more water, my solution to catching widely scattered kings and steelhead way offshore is to pick up the speed to 3.0+ mph using rudderless flashers like Pr0-Troll’s HotChip with flies(leader lengths 19 – 21 inches, and tuned Stingrays with a larger treble and heavier swivel.  High speed trolling is not the best program for catching moster kings, but it’s perfect for most kings out there and absolutely deadly for steelhead.

    High speed trolling also helps locate bait concentrations and the kings and steelies that feed on them.  Once you find them, that’s the time to slow down and fish for a monster.

     

     

  • 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…, Take A Lady On A Fishing Charter

    Posted on June 4th, 2018 admin No comments

     

    Harry and daughter Ashley enjoying time together aboard the Fish Doctor in May, 2018

    Back in the old days, the ladies stayed home, cooking, sewing, cleaning, and raising kids, while the gentlemen worked, hunted, fished, and trapped. My only sister Bonnie grew up in that era while her four brothers, Bernard, Bob, Bill, all avid outdoorsmen, followed tradition in our dad’s footsteps.

    That’s just the way it was, back in those days.  As the oldest child in the family, I regret that I did not realize how much Bonnie loved the outdoors.  I learned way too late that she would have been thrilled to be included in family outdoor activities. 

    Years later in the mid 1980s I had the pleasure of fishing not only only with my sister Bonnie, but her daughters Melodie and Jennifer.  Bonnie and her two girls still talk about their trip on my charter boat  fishing for lake trout and landlocked salmon in Lake Champlain.  None of them had any experience fishing with downriggers, but learned quickly.  All caught fish, and enjoyed themselves immensely.

    To this day, this family experience is one of the reasons I encourage ladies of all ages to come aboard my charter boat.  I do my utmost to make fishergals feel comfortable fishing and enjoy their time on the water.  Times have changed and I see more and more avid lady anglers fishing every year, and this season has been no exception.

    On May 18, 2018, as I watched Ashley Brooks and her dad Harry step onboard, I knew there would be no problem with Ashley enjoying her trip.  Harry had introduced Ashley to fishing years ago and they had fished with me before.  Their timing was perfect because the king salmon bite had been hot and heavy.  The  time Ashley and her dad spent on the water was precious and their memories lasting.  But not all ladies are as experienced and confident fishing as Ashley.

     

    .

                   I always encourage ladies to join in on the fun, and explain that there

                     is nothing difficult or complicated about fishing on a charter boat.

     

     

    When Kevin Conte and his niece Tiki stepped onboard on the morning of April 25, 2018.  Tiki had never trolled for trout or salmon in Lake Ontario before, but her uncle Kevin had. Tiki had fished with Kevin before but was not experienced with downriggers, slide divers, leadcore line and planer boards. It wasn’t long  before she was in the cockpit with Kevin helping me set lines.  As I explained to Tiki, “This isn’t rocket science. You just have to learn a few simple techniques.”  Before the 8-hour trip was over, Tiki had learned how to set lines, hook her own fish, and finesse fish to the net, including some mint silver early spring king salmon and brown trout. 

    Later this spring when I answered the phone one even ing, heard a lady’s voice on the other end.  Gals often call to book a family trip for their husband and children or other family members.  In other cases  ladies calls to book a trip for their husband and and one or two other couples.  Often, they mention they plan to come along to be with family and friends but do not intend to purchase license to fish because they are inexperienced.   

    Whenever I hear this, and I hear it quite often, I always encourage ladies to join in on the fun, and explain that there is nothing difficult or complicated about fishing on a charter boat.  All it takes is a little friendly instruction about what to look for when a fish strikes, how to set a hook, and how to handle a fish on rod and reel.   

    Most times ladies are convinced to give fishing a shot and usually end up enjoying the fishing trip far more than they would have just sitting in the boat watching the others fish. 

  • Lake Ontario Trout and Salmon fishing…, Lake Ontario Charters, When and Where

    Posted on April 5th, 2018 admin No comments

     

    A successful early June Lake Ontario trout and salmon fishing charter

    So, you’ve heard about the unbelievable fishing in Lake Ontario for king salmon up to well over 30 lbs., plus brown trout, steelhead, and lake trout all reaching weights of over 20 lbs.  You’ve decided you’re going to book a charter on this 200 mile long by 50 mile wide inland ocean in 2015.

    Whoa!!!  Stop right there.  Don’t make one more move until you’ve considered two things…, when, and where.  Both are extremely critical to the success of your charter fishing trip.  There are lots of uncontrollable variables like weather and the mood of trout and salmon on any given day that will affect your success or failure.  But, when and where you fish are factors you can control.  Wise decisions about each are the difference between time and money wasted or memories of an awesome fishing trip that will last forever. 

    Lake Ontario is about 200 miles long, it’s southern shoreline winding 326 miles along the northern edge of New York State.  Fishing along the coastline varies, with some areas producing better fishing for certain trout and salmon species at different times of the season. 

    To keep things simple, let’s break the lake fishing season, which generally runs from April 1 to Sept. 30 into four categories, early spring(April/May), spring transition(June), midsummer(July and August), and early autumn(September).  Now let’ take a look at the hottest fishing areas along New York’s coastline during these periods.

    Early Spring – The minute anglers get on the water in late March and early April they’re catching trout and salmon, mostly cohos.  Although every port along NYS’s coastline produces cohos in early spring, the west lake is the best bet for “silvers” in May and Jun.   If you’re looking for spring king salmon, wait until after  the first of May and fish from Oswego west.  Because of the  heavy spring flows of sun warmed water from the Oswego River, the port of Oswego usually  produces king salmon fishing in May when  Fish Doctor anglers have put as many as 201 May kings in the cooler in 31 trips .  However, spring  salmon fishing out of Owego is not as consistent as in the western end of the lake. 

    For spring brown trout, three of the very best Lake Ontario ports are Oswego, Fair Haven, and Sodus, where charter  captains target Lake Ontario’s world class “football” browns. 

    Spring Transition – By June, king salmon are scattered lakewide fishing in out of the port of Oswego is  revving up as kings follow spawning alewives inshore.  Offshore steelhead fishing starts to heat up in June, as nearshore surface temperature warms.  Some years, like 2014, when conditions are right, steelhead fishing in late spring is fantastic.   June also produces some of the best fishing of the season for tropy brown trout,  east of Oswego Harbor where two out of the three recent 30+ lb. New York State record browns were boated.

     

    Midsummer –   In July and August, every Lake Ontario port  along New York’s 360 mile long coastline, including Oswego,  produces good salmon and trout fishing.  The big difference among ports by early August…, tens of thousands of king and coho salmon beginning to stage in the southeast corner of the lake, as they prepare to spawn in the Salmon River, the Lake Ontario tributary with the heaviest salmon stocking and the greatest production of wild king salmon.  This is when anglers flock to the port of Oswego. 

    Early Autumn – In late August and September, stocked and wild salmon are returning to their rearing streams, and all New York’s Lake Ontario ports produce salmon fishing.  Again, though, the largest  concentration by far, of king and coho salmon is in Mexico Bay in the southeast corner of the lake, making ports like Mexico Point and the Salmon River early autumn hotspots.

    That’s why you’ll  find the Fish Doctor moored in the Lower Little Salmon River just upstream from Mexico Point,  from midAugust through the end of September, at the front door to Mexico Bay, minutes away from , more staging adult king and coho salmon than anywhere else in Lake Ontario.

  • Oswego Brown Trout Fishing…, Releasing Dropback Spawners

    Posted on February 4th, 2018 admin No comments

     

    A dropback brown about to be released

    I cannot remember who caught the brown trout, but I do remember it coming on a Michigan Stinger fished on  leadcore off  the board just outside Oswego Harbor. What I will never forget is that it was the longest brown trout that has  come aboard the Fish Doctor in 40 years of fishing Lake Ontario.  The monster brown was released to swim another day because she was a drop back spawner. 

    When the fish hit, the leadcore rod just bowed over slowly and the backing pulled  out of the Scotty release.  No run, no tugs, no head shaking, just a heavy , steady pull as it came to the boat, much like an early spring northern pike, lethargic.  When I finally saw it, I almost mistook it for a big steelhead, but not quite.  It had too much bulk.

    As the net slid under it, I could see what we had, a monster spawned out female brown trout in the 16-18 lb. class.  I measured it quickly…, well over 36  inches, then slid it back in the water in the landing net.   The big hen  had expended all  her energy spawning and had remained in a river, probably the Oswego, way too long into the winter, not feeding.  When we hooked her, she had not been in the lake long enough to chow down and put some “meat” on her bones.

    The angler who caught her could not believe it.  “Wow, that’s the biggest brown I’ve ever seen!”  “Yup!”, I  replied, “She’s a monster, but she’s  in tough shape, thin, with eroded fins after spawning and basically  inedible.”  With the fish still in water in my landing net off  the stern of the boat, recovering from the battle, I explained that the 3-4 pound 2-year old browns were far better eating,  and that the big brown in the net had the potential, if it was released, to weigh well into the mid-20 lb. class by mid-August.

    The angler took the high road, “Release her!”

    …and, in my opinion, to improve Lake Ontario’s brown trouit fishery,  that should be the fate of every thin, poor condition, beat-up, drop back spawning brown trout that is.  The condition of the flesh of these fish and their low oil content makes them close to inedible.  So, why keep them, unless…, a paying customer decides to do so.  Even then, many of charter customers would be more than happy to release the fish in favor of  a eating brown, if they knew it was tasteless and realized it’s potential contribution to the trophy brown trout fishery. 

    Why are most of these emaciated drop back spawners chucked in a cooler, and hung on a meat rack for photos.  Being as tactfully said as possible, let’s just say it’s seldom for the benefit of the angler who boated them. 

  • Lake Ontario Trout and Salmon Fishing…, Coping with Clear Water Browns

    Posted on February 3rd, 2018 admin No comments

    A monster Oswego brown trout on ultralight, clear water tackle.

     

     In the past 25 years fishing conditions have changed drastically in Lake Ontario, and so have consistently successful angling techniques, especially for shallow water browns in April and May. 

     In the early 1970’s, when I climbed aboard legendary charter captain Ron Ditch’s charter boat at Henderson Harbor to show him how to fish his new downriggers for lake trout, his  chartreuse downrigger weight disappeared 2-4 feet(that’s not a typo!) below the surface.  Those turbid water conditions persisted through, 1993, when zebra mussels showed up in the lake. 

     In mid-May of 1995, on a glassy calm day I dropped a chartreuse rigger weight into the depths, and it disappeared at 36’.  Now that’s a major change!  Subsequently, to cope with the gin clear water conditions and catch fish consistently new fishing techniques have evolved that will help first time spring brown trout trollers catch more fish.

     Although we still fish turbid water after westerly or northerly blows and around the mouths of rivers like the Oswego during high spring runoff, much of the time  water conditions are gin clear.  This is especially true during calm weather and when spring tributary flow is low.   Coping with these clear water conditions for shallow water browns in April and may can be especially challenging.  This is when finesse combined with an understanding of brown trout behavior becomes  the name of the game. 

     Before the introduction of zebra mussels, in turbid water conditions, to catch browns you  simply had to chuck almost anything chartreuse over the side and tow it around on as heavy a line as you wanted. It was “Heave, ho, and away we go!” Today, try the same tactic in shallow clear water, and you will end up whining back at the dock.   One way to avoid that is the use of a stealthy presentation with light line and terminal tackle matched with a light action rod and reel.

     My spring brown trout rods are spooled with 10# test main line, hi-vis Trilene  Solar on the planer board and flat line rods and clear Berkley Big Game on rigger rods, each terminating with 8’ of lighter leader.   Some captains I know effectively use main line as heavy as 15# mono, plus a lighter leader.   The more durable main line, along with a less visible, lighter leader results in a deadly brown trout combination.  I personally like the finer diameter main line, especially on planer board and flat line rods,  because without adding any weight, thin diameter line allows  stick baits and spoons to fish deeper than larger diameter line. 

    For light  lining spring browns on planer boards, flat lines, and riggers, I use two different rods with the same reels.  I build my n planer board rods on a 9’ graphite, 3-4 weight, slow action St. Croix fly rod blank  and my rigger rods on 6-7 foot moderate action e-glass blanks.  Both styles of rods are built with non-slip EVA foam grips, quality reel seats and Fuji casting guides for use with levelwind reels.

     In the past, I’ve used either Penn 855LC digital line counter reels or, more recently, ABU Garcia 5500LC line counter.  This season I’m switching to ABU Garcia Altum 12 digital line counter reels, because of their greater line capacity and improved digital line counter.

     When using terminal leaders as light as 6# – 8# test, levelwind reels  must have a silk smooth drag or or you will curse your ultralight gear as a hog brown heads for the horizon with your lure and only part of your line trailing from hit’s toothy maw.   Fill your reel to the brim with quality line.  You’ll need it when you hook  a monster. 

    Yes, times have changed when it comes to fishing for shallow water brown trout in Lake Ontario.  Heave- ho techniques with heavy line and terminal tackle are a thing of the past.      

  • Lake Ontario Trout and Salmon Fishing Charters…, Why do Captains Hate Vibram Soles?

    Posted on January 31st, 2018 admin No comments

     

    A small stone like this jammed in a cleated sole will cause major damage to the deck of a boat.

    If you’re a charter captain or, worse yet, a mate on a charter fishing boat, you do not need to read this.  You already know the answer to the question!

    However, if you are one of  hundreds of thousands of anglers who fish aboard a charter boat and think that the Vibram soled boots you wear for hiking, hunting, logging, doing construction work, or whatever are “the nuts” for fishing, please read on.

    If you want to immediately wear out your welcome on a charter boat, just step aboard with Vibram or cleated soled boots or shoes…, bad way to start your trip!  Why is that?

    Well, there are two main reasons, safety and the potential damage to the boat deck.  Why safety?  Answer…,  as far as I know, there is nothing as slippery on a wet fiberglass or teak deck than hard, cleated soled shoes or boots.  If  you have ever stepped on glare ice with Vibram type soles, you know exactly what I mean.   All captains are concerned about safety of their passengers and none of them want to see a charter customer injure themselves by slipping and falling.  It’s tough enough to stay on your feet on a wet, slippery, slimy deck in flat water, but in rough seas it’s worse.

    Secondly, cleated soles pick up everything you walk on, including mud, sand, grass, sticks, dog poop, etc., but small stones that jam in cleated soles can really damage an  expensive,  gel coated cockpit deck.  Imagine taking a Phillips screw driver, putting 150 to 200 lbs. of  pressure on it, then scraping the tip of it across a cockpit deck.  Arrghhh$$$

    I’ll never forget one of the first charter trips of the season  I,  after spending several thousand dollars the winter before on a new fiberglass floor in my cabin and cockpit.  An unknowing angler climbed aboard wearing Vibram soled hiking boots.  Rather than say anything, I sucked it in, thinking, “Oh, well.”  After a busy trip with 5 anglers aboard my crew for the morning had departed,  and it was time to swab the deck.  When I looked down, my jaw dropped.  The brand new and very expensive floor was covered with deep gouges.

    Any comfortable shoe or boot with soft, uncleated soles that don’t leave scuff marks are the way to go.

  • Oswego Trout and Salmon Fishing Charters…, Spring Charters

    Posted on January 5th, 2018 admin No comments

     

    Oswego brown trout, April, 2017.

    If you live in northern New York or New England where winters are long and cold and spring arrives oh, so slowly, it’s hard to believe what a difference there is in spring weather along the New York shoreline of Lake Ontario.

    So it was when I answered the phone one early April evening.  “Hi captain Ernie!”, I heard holding the phone to my ear.  It was Phil, a long time customer from the Adirondack mountains in northern New York.  After some “hellos” and “How are yas”, he said, “Just wanted to call and reschedule our April 10th trip.”  “Why is that, I asked?” “Because of the snow and ice.”, he replied.  “What ice and snow?”, I questioned. 

    With northern Adirondack lakes still frozen solid and two feet of snow in Phil’s front yard, it was hard for Phil to believe I was looking at bare ground and had been catching brown trout, coho salmon, lake trout and a few rainbows in Lake Ontario out of Oswego Harbor since April 2nd.

    Spring comes much earlier to the south shore of Lake Ontario than parts north.  Up to 20,000 cfs of Oswego River runoff  flowing into the lake flushes ice cover from Oswego Harbor and it’s marina.  With a 5,090 square mile watershed draining snow free central New York and the rich farm land of the eastern Finger Lakes, the nutrient laden early spring flow warms quickly, a huge attraction to baitfish and trout and salmon as it enters t icy Lake Ontario, which seldom freezes over.

    Quality and diversity best describe Oswego’s spring charter fishery.  Charter fishing starts as soon as the marinas are ice free, usually some time from late March to no later than midApril.  Even in the spring of 20q15, after one of the coldest winters on record, I launched my charter boat on April 10th.

    As soon as marinas inside the lower harbor are ice free, most most charters target near shore brown trout.  Spring coho salmon may also be abundant in late March and early April.  Lake trout, rainbow trout, and Atlantic salmon are also caught on fishing charter trips trolling the shoreline.  Browns remain inshore in shallow water until around midJune when water temperature reaches the mid60s in the shallows.

    Although often overlooked in early April some of the best lake trout fishing of the season is in deeper water where lakers stack up on bottom.  A diet of wintering alewives produces heavy bellied togue, the largest to date from Lake Ontario, 39 lbs. 8 oz.

    By late April, brown trout fishing continues and lake trout move closer inshore.  Coho salmon usually head west out of the area by late April and early may when king salmon move in, attracted to the bait filled plume of the Oswego River.

    In recent seasons, kings have arrived off the mouth of Oswego Harbor as early as April 13 in 2012 and as late as May in 2016.  King salmon fishing in May is fair to outstanding depending on conditions, and salmon fishing continues throughout spring.  IN one of the best spring salmon season I recall, my anglers boated 201 kings in 31 trips in May.

    Spring steelhead fishing, year in and year out, is usually best in June, as it was in the last half of June, 2016.  Steelhead are usually found well offshore, but in 2016, along with large numbers of king salmon, steelhead followed spawning alewives inshore and were easily accessible, just minutes from the mouth of Oswego Harbor, a fishing bonanza.

    No matter how you cut it, because of the influence of the Oswego River, Lake Ontario’s second largest tributary, the quality and diversity of spring trout and salmon charter fishing in Lake Ontario out of the port of Oswego is tough to beat.

  • 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…, Plan Ahead to Book in 2018

    Posted on September 5th, 2017 admin No comments

     

    Planning ahead for a prime time date produced a limit catch of kings.

    It was the evening of August 12, 2014, and I was just about to hit the sack after morning and afternoon charter fishing trips on Lake Ontario.  The voice on the other end was a father who wanted to book a late August or early September fishing trip for him and his two daughters.  Telling him my late season calendar was completely booked was disappointing to him and frustrating to me.  Not only should he have planned further ahead to book a charter,  he should have done a little homework. 

     Planning and preparation are crucial in booking a charter trip anywhere.  Call early for best dates and don’t be afraid to ask questions.   Good captains are proud of their reputation and fishing services and will gladly answer your questions.

     Ask what size and type of boat the captain fishes.   Safety is the top priority. Your captain must be U.S. Coast Guard licensed and fully insured.    You will rarely find a veteran Ontario captain fishing less than a 28 footer.  Your charter fishing vessel should be fully equipped with USCG required safety gear, plus radar, a VHF marine radio, a chart plotter, and the best of fishing gear. 

    Ask if your captain fishes full time or part time, and how many trips he fishes per season.  Time on the water is important in locating and catching fish consistently.   

    Ask about lodging.  Many charter captains either provide their own, or arrange it for you at cabins, lodges, bed ‘n breakfasts, or  motels.   Captains also know the   best places to grab an early morning cup of coffee or a good meal.

    Ask for and check references.  Check the captain’s web site.   When you ask about price, remember you usually get what you pay for.   

     As easy as it is to arrange a trip by email, a quick phone conversation will help you feel out your captain.  When personalities aren’t compatible, it’s tough to have a good time even if fishing is outstanding.

     Tell the captain what you expect.   He will tell you if your expectations are reasonable.  Do you want to fish on a boat with the help of a mate, or would you prefer a hands on experience where you and your friends get involved in  rigging lines, and hooking your own fish?  

     Work with a captain to schedule your trip during prime time  for the species of fish you want to catch.  In Lake Ontario fishing for trout, salmon, walleyes, and bass  peaks at certain times.  If you want to lake fish for browns with light tackle, your captain will recommend a trip in April, May or early June.  If your sights are set on catching a king salmon, late spring or summer is best.

    Before you arrive at the boat, talk to your captain about what you’ll need.  Sun glasses, appropriate clothing, a camera, and a small cooler for lunch and beverages is standard.  Your captain will have an iced cooler on board for your fish.  Everyone 16 years of age and older will need a New York State fishing license, available online.

    When you arrive, be on time with the gear you need without overloading the boat.     Once you’re onboard, the rest is up to the captain.  Let him worry about details like tackle and techniques.    Any fish you catch and want to keep to eat or have mounted are his responsibility.    Most captains or mates gladly clean and package your fish free of charge, or provide fish cleaning facilities.  Wall hangers should be separately bagged, carefully stored on ice, and delivered to the taxidermist of your choice.

    When the boat leaves the dock, sit back with a cool drink, enjoy the ride, and relax, confident you’ve done everything you can to enjoy a great Lake Ontario charter fishing trip.