• Lake Ontario Fishing Charters for Families

    Posted on July 29th, 2009 admin No comments
    Family salmon  fishing charters on Lake Ontario can be a blast!

    Family salmon fishing charters on Lake Ontario can be a blast!

    On the afternoon of July 25 and morning of July 26,  2009, three generations of Morfords fished aboard the Fish Doctor for trout and salmon…, ages from 5 years old to 65 years old.  Everyone had a great time because they prepared properly for the trip.

    First, the Mom, who has fished aboard the Fish Doctor  with her Dad, Rick, from way back as a child and knows her children better than anyone else, recognized that they were ready for their first charter trip.  It’s not a question of age, but behavior and maturity.  Secondly, she and her Dad knew how to prepare the children for the trip, making sure they had been fitted with proper PFDs and had taken Dramamine well before the trip. Despite a slight chop, none of the children got queasy.

    Second, our charter boat,  the Fish Doctor is seaworthy and comfortable, with a walk-in head and enough bunk space top side so children and even an adult can take a nap, if they get sleepy.  With the Mom and marine-sargeant grandpa Rick maintaining order and discipline to make sure everyone was safe and well behaved, all the kids had a great time and caught some nice fish including a monster sheepshead and chinooks up to 18 lbs.

  • Preparing for Lake Ontario Salmon Fishing Charters

    Posted on July 29th, 2009 admin No comments
    Lake Ontario salmon fishing aboard the Fish Doctor in choppy seas on July 27, 2009, was no problem for

    Lake Ontario salmon fishing aboard the Fish Doctor in choppy seas on July 27, 2009, was no problem for Justin

    Salmon fishing charters on Lake Ontario can be  safe and  lots of fun for families, if everyone involves prepares properly for their trip. 

    Remember that for the safety of your child, children 12-years old and younger are required to wear a Type II PFD(personal floation device) at all times while onboard our charter fishing vessel, the Fish Doctor.   Although your Captain carries the USCG required number of youth size Type I PFDs aboard the Fish Doctor, they are very uncomfortable for children to wear over extended periods of time.  There are also two youth size Type I PFDs onboard, but to assure the proper fitting Type II PFDs for the children in your fishing party, parents/adults should bring proper fitting PFDs with them on charter fishing trips.

    Sea sickness is a serious issue that ruins many charter fishing trips on the Great Lakes.  Kids especially tend to get sea sick, but so can adults.  To avoid ruining your trip because of a a queasy stomach,  follow these simple rules;

    1. Be sure that everyone takes Dramamine before your charter trip, as directed on the packaging label.  Taking dramine after you get on the boat is too late.

    2. An alternative, if you tend toward motion sickness, is a medicated patch prescribed by your doctor and applied as directed, well before departure on your trip.

    2.  Get a decent night’s sleep before your charter trip

    3. Most folks pay dearly for excessive partying the night before your trip

    4. Avoid heavy,  greasy meals at supper and breakfast before your trip

    Proper preparation helps assure a fun fishing trip, with no problems.

  • Lake Ontario Salmon Fishing Report, July 22, 2009

    Posted on July 23rd, 2009 admin No comments
    Lake Ontario salmon fishing in July, 2009.

    Lake Ontario salmon fishing in July, 2009.

    Salmon fishing charters on Lake Ontario do not get much better than they were yesterday,  on July 22, 2009.  It was a double charter day for Fish Doctor charters with Mike, Carl, and Carl’s two son’s, Caleb and Collin in the morning.   Then a “special” 6-hour charter with 80-year old, Marcia Carlson, former member of the NRA board of directors, and her fishing buddies, Gary and Gary, Jr.

    The weather was gorgeous, flat calm and overcast in the morning and just as flat in early afternoon.  Later in the afternoon, a mild NE wind acting as a perfect air conditioner…., real comfy.

    It didn’t take long to find the king salmon in 170 feet of water in the morning, then deeper in 350 feet of water later.    The calm weather has resulted in a rising thermocline, with cool water at and below about 100 feet.  The biggest king, a 25-pounder was a long haul on an NK28 “Spook” on 500′ of copper.  The only steelhead of the trip, a 10-pounder, came on a Purple Thunder Mauler.    “Way Low”(white/double glow) flashers and a white fly, NK28 “Spooks”, and green/glow green ProChip 8s.  Were the best items in the morning.

    In the afternoon, before we could get our second rigger in the water, the action started with a lake trout, then switched to steady action with kings.  With no more room in the cooler which was stuffed with 23-27 lb. kings, our crew decided to call it quits early.  Before we reached the dock, Capt. Ernie had their catch fileted and packaged for them.

    The hot items in the afternoon were “Late Riser” ProChip 8s with a Pretty Jane fly, NK28 Spooks,  Michigan Stinger Sting Rays in the Mongoose pattern, and mag MI Stingers in the Maui Wowee.

  • Preparing for a Lake Ontario Salmon Fishing Charter

    Posted on July 20th, 2009 admin No comments
    Terry, with a 25 lb. king he boated in 6-footers on July 18

    Terry, with a 25 lb. king he boated in 6-footers on July 18

    It’s not always calm on Lake Ontario when you’re out on a salmon fishing charter, and that’s been particularly true the past few days in July.  On July 17, when Dan Walter and his crew headed out of Oswego Harbor, everyone had prepared for the trip by taking Dramamine, and despite an early morning chip of about  2 feet,  the entire crew enjoyed some great salmon fishing with no seas sickness.

    On July 18, it was a different story when Terry and his buddies from the Newport Social Order of Owls(really!) fished aboard the Fish Doctor.    With seas up to 6 feet and bigger, none of the group took Dramamine, and one of the group was sea sick most of the trip, spoiling his first outing for Lake Ontario salmon, despite a catch of nice kings.   Ditto for the following day with early morning seas in the 3′ – 5′ category, one seasick sailor, and an abbreviated trip, with salmon and steelhead hitting as we pulled our lines.

    The moral of this story…, prepare for you Lake Ontario salmon fishing trip.  Products like Dramamine and Bonine avoid the problem.

  • Lake Ontario Salmon Fishing Report – July 17

    Posted on July 17th, 2009 admin No comments

    Lake Ontario fishing charters are enjoying some of the best salmon fishing of the charter fishing season right now out of Oswego Harbor.  Just ask Dan Walters and his wife Laurie, who fished aboard the Fish Doctor on July 17 with sons Tyler and Zack, and they’ll tell you they caught some beautiful chrome silver kings up to 20+ lbs, plus a nice laker.  The kings they caught were really putting on the feed bag, crammed right full of adult alewives, with a pot belly to prove it.

    It took some patience and persistence, but once we found them in 200 to 4oo feet of water, the action was hot and heavy.  Green ProChips with baited glow green Sushi Flies were the hot item, along with an Oak Orchard favorite, the 42nd spoon.


    Lake Ontario Salmon Fishing was hot and heavy aboard the Fish Doctor off Oswego on July 17, 2009

    Lake Ontario Salmon Fishing was hot and heavy aboard the Fish Doctor off Oswego on July 17, 2009

  • Lake Ontario Salmon Fishing Report – July 15, 2009

    Posted on July 15th, 2009 admin No comments
    Lake Ontario salmon fishing is super right now.  This salmon hit a "Goldie Hawn" spoon on 7/1509

    Lake Ontario salmon fishing is super right now. This salmon hit a "Goldie Hawn" spoon on 7/1509

    If you’re thinking about a Lake Ontario charter fishing trip and you’re thinking about salmon fishing, the chinook salmon fishing out of Oswego is sizzling right now.  Even though the salmon bite was slow late last week and fishing conditions were tough over the weekends with strong westerly winds, that has all changed now.

    Limit catches were reported by several Oswego boats on June 14, and fishing was good again today, July 15.  On a brief midmorning scouting trip today, prior to a charter tomorrow, it took only 5 minutes to boat our first king salmon.  Within 15 minutes two nice browns were also caught and released.

    Good salmon fishing is all about weather and water conditions, with a bit of cooperation  from the fish as well, and it’s all happening right now out of Oswego.

  • Lake Ontario Salmon Fishing with Copper Line

    Posted on July 8th, 2009 admin No comments

    If you had been on board the “Fish Doctor” with Capt. Ernie Lantiegne with Fish Doctor anglers Jerry and John Romeo on the morning of July 8, 2009,  you would have been impressed with several things;

    1. Lake Ontario Salmon fishing in July is outstanding

    2. Lake Ontario’s chinook salmon are second to none in size

    3.  With every salmon and one lake trout boated all caught using the same technique, copper line  trolled off megaboards, there is no question that copper is deadly for scattered, offshore king salmon.

    4.  Dodgers and flies are still highly effective…, every fish we caught on 7/8, was  taken on this age old technique.  Ditto for 7/7.

    On our trip today,  the weather was overcast and the seas choppy with winds from the northwest.  Salmon and the alewife bait schools they feed on were scattered to heck and gone.  Recent heavy winds have pushed cold water deep, with 000_1425cold water in the 50′s down 100 to 140 feet, over 450 to 150 feet of water, respectively.  Water fleas are as bad as they get now, fouling even 30 lb. test mono, and almost ruling out wire Dipsys.

    In these conditions, we rigged 450′, 500′, and 600′ copper lines off the megaboards(oversized triple planer boards) and ran a set of white/white, white /blue, chrome/blue, and silver glo/blue dodger/flies on the riggers and boards.  Thank the Lord for .o37 diameter copper, which is basically water flea proof.  With fish scattered it is “pedal-to-the-metal” time, with trolling speeds running from 2.7 to 3.0 mph.

    The result, a respectable catch of kings from 16-20 lbs., plus a lake trout, that must have been feeling its “Wheaties”!  If you haven’t tried fishing copper line, you’re missing out on a fish-catching technique.

  • Lake Ontario Salmon Fishing – Deepwater Kings

    Posted on July 6th, 2009 admin No comments
    Salmon fishing on Lake Ontario with Fish Doctor Charters on 7/7/09, nice one Mike!

    Salmon fishing on Lake Ontario with Fish Doctor Charters on 7/7/09, nice one Mike!

    If you’re thinking about salmon fishing in Lake Ontario, especially the Oswego area,  you’ll be interested in this July 6 Fish Doctor Report.  Recent northwest winds over the past weekend, July 4 and 5,  pushed the cold water into the depths and the king salmon with it.   On the morning of July 6, shortly after leaving the dock at 5:00 AM I dropped a Penn rigger with a Fish Hawk X-4 probe on it into the murky depths.  Matt Spiles relayed back the critical info from the helm…, 58 degrees at 140 feet.

    Within 15 minutes, the chrome/silver prism dodger and aqua fly we had set on the #1 rigger fired 15′ back, 140 feet down.  The same dodger/fly would fire 5 more times before the trip was over.  We caught kings on the riggers as deep as 160 feet.  A 600 foot section of copper fished from a megaboard was also effective.  We saw schools of alewives on the fish finder 115 – 125 feet down in up to 307 fow.

    Sooo…,  at least for now, if you’re fishing in the Oswego area, think about starting no shallower than 170 fow.  If you’re fishing Mexico Bay, further to the east, I’m guessing the cold water was pushed down even deeper.

  • Lake Ontario Salmon Fishing Revs up in July

    Posted on July 3rd, 2009 admin No comments
    A double on salmon and brown trout

    A double on salmon and brown trout

    There’s no question about it, July is our favorite month to fish Lake Ontario.  Why?  Well, because it’s the easiest month of the year to locate kings, steelhead, browns, and lakers, all concentrated in an below the thermocline, usually deeper than 70 feet.  Remove the top 70 feet of 10,000 square mile L.Ontario, and cold water loving trout and salmon definitely are more concentrated.

    Add to this the fact that trout and salmon in midsummer are feeding actively…, gorging on alewives and smelt.  Later, by midAugust, both browns and adult king salmon start thinking about spawning, and it’s not unusual to see fish with rock hard stomachs that haven’t fed in some time.

    Add to this beautiful midsummer weather and you’ve got a winner!

    July, 2009, is no exception.  In late June, alewives that had just finished spawning were moving back offshore and concentrated in 60 to 90 feet of water.  With a thermocline starting  to form about 75 feet down, king salmon were starting to bunch up just outside the alewife schools in 90 to 180 feet of water.  On June 29 and 30, Rudy Heirling, Beau Roskow, and their fishing buddies George and Bruce, got a taste of the fishing to come in July, boating some nice lakers, and kings.  On July 2nd, kings up to 18 lbs. a steelhead, a coho, and some browns, all made up a nice multispecies catch, typical of the month of July.

  • Lake Ontario Salmon Fishing – Meat and Mylar

    Posted on July 3rd, 2009 admin No comments

    Fishing salmon with baited flies

    Fishing salmon with baited flies

    An hour into their afternoon trip, Mike Ducross and his buddies from Cornwall, Canada, were not quite as optimistic as they had been after watching my morning charter carry heavy coolers of 20–30 lb. Lake Ontario kings off the dock.  They had heard the war stories about how we had them dialed in all morning with whole alewives and big flashers, and knew we were returning to the very same “X” on my chart plotter.  The Sitex fish finder showed the kings were still there, but they were turning their noses up at our 2-rigger spread of 13” Slashers and whole alewives down 120 and 130 feet.





    With unwavering confidence in the big  silver and gold prism taped golden retriever flashers in bright midday light for staged kings,  I had opted for changes in leader length and bait head color, to no avail, before deciding on one last change before doing something drastic. 


    Still firm in my belief that when a big king bellies up to the sushi bar he’s looking for one thing, alewives, I reached into my bait cooler for a freshly salted alewife strip and  replaced the whole bait with a baited fly.  Minutes after dropping the rigger back to same depth of 120’ with the same 15’ setback, the rod fired.  Immediately I reset it the second time, and it fired again.  Meanwhile, the whole bait, 10’ deeper at 130’and 25’ back was just a slug.  While fighting the second fish, Mike  pulled the deep rigger, while I baited another Mirage fly, and we reset the rigger exactly as before,  130’ down and 25’ back.  Before we could untangle the second king from the net, the deep rigger fired.


    Four hours later, as the sun angled toward the horizon and light intensity at the riggers dropped, you guessed it, the program changed and the kings decided they absolutely loved whole alewives in a glow green bait head 60” behind a glow green splatterback HotChip 11.  


    Why a king salmon, with a brain the size of a pea,  would select a baited fly over a whole alewife one time and do the reverse the next,  I cannot imagine.  What I can say is it’s not the first time I’ve seen it happen, and I’ll be ready when it happens again. 


    Baited flies and, before that, baited hoochies or squids, in combination with flashers have been a go-to rig for me aboard my charter boat, ever since my first trip to Alaska  in 1990.   Fortunate to  be invited aboard several commercial salmon trolling boats,  the first thing I noticed on deck was  buckets of 11” plastic flashers, mostly white, green, chartreuse, and red.   Hanging on the rear of the cabins were rows and rows of  3 ½” hoochies(squids) in a myriad of colors, some for kings, some for cohos.  Closer inspection of the hoochies showed a piece of light brass wire, inside each hoochie, attached to the eye of a 6/0 single hook.


    The wire on these hooks was for attaching 3”- 4” herring strips inside the hoochie, which rarely go in the water for Alaskan kings without bait.


    The  trollers also showed me how they rigged whole herring, herring filets, and cut plugs, all of which they carry onboard, along with spoons and plugs, during an king salmon opening. To a man, they were adamant about how fussy king salmon were and how important it was to master a variety of techniques to consistently catch fish in all conditions. 


    I never forgot that lesson, and returned to Lake Ontario with  a new perspective on fishing bait for kings and  a conviction to do my utmost to become as versatile as possible in fishing for them .   



    Today, my favorite flashers with baited flies include, 8” ProChips, 11” ProChips and HotChips, and 13” Kingston Tackle Slashers in a variety of colors and finishes.  I use 36”- 48” leaders on 11”- 13” flashers and 19”- 30” leaders on 8” flashers.  Flasher/fly color combos are the same as for clean flies.


    Rather than the single hook used by commercial trollers, I prefer a tournament tie with a 5/0 beak hook and a #2 bronze treble.  The same tournament tie used with clean flies can be used with bait, but I prefer to extend the leader length between the beak and treble hooks about 1 ½” so the treble trails at the tail of the bait.  Although, the alewife bait strip can be hooked on the leading beak hook, even a properly prepped alewife bait strip softens quickly in fresh water and seldom will stay on a hook very long. 


    The secret to keeping an alewife bait strip secured inside the fly is to wrap it on the beak hook just behind the hook eye using soft .020” diam. brass wire.  Although the brass wire can be attached to the beak hook on a pretied Tournament Tie, I like to attach it before I snell the hook, by simply placing a 3” length of wire midway through the eye of the hook, pulling the brass wire down along the shank of the hook, and tying the snell, leaving about 1 ½ inches of each end of the wire extending to each side of the hook. 


    The head end of a correctly shaped bait strip,  tapered to about 3/8”,  is then laid skin down against the hook shank, and the brass wire is wrapped from opposite directions around the bait with enough tension to slightly bury the wire into the meat on the bait strip.  It is not necessary to twist the ends of the wire together to hold the strip.  The wired bait will remain in the fly as long as you fish it.  I prefer lightly dressed flies for use with bait strips. 


    From 18 years of experience fishing what have now become know on my charter boat as sushi flies, I’ve found that elongated diamond shaped bait strips about 3” in length and ½” to 1” wide, tapered to 3/8” at the head and ½” at the tail are about right.  The later in the season, the larger the bait strip, including strips with tails as wide as ¾”.  Bait strips are filleted from both sides of an alewife and trimmed to shape. The better the quality of a bait strip, the better it catches fish. 


    Availability of alewives to use as whole bait or bait strips has always limited the use of alewives for Great Lakes trout and salmon.  The Familiar Bite Co., which harvests, brines, and vacuum packs fresh alewives in 8-packs,  has now solved this problem.   To properly prep quality bait strips, filet alewives when fresh or immediately after removing partially thawed bait from a vacuum pack, trim them to shape, and place them in a ziplock bag of noniodized salt.  They will keep indefinitely refrigerated.  I carry  ziplocks of preshaped bait strips in a small bait cooler along with a brine jar of whole alewives and an ice pack.


    Years of experience and millions of Great Lakes king salmon have proven clean flies catch fish.  When it comes to inactive kings, though, especially staged fish or big, lazy fish, I’ve found that sushi flies are just what the doctor ordered