• Lake Ontario Trout and Salmon Fishing…, Midmarch brown trout fishing…, what comes next?

    Posted on March 18th, 2012 admin No comments


    Fishing spring brown trout in Lake Ontario. Emily and Owen show how it's done!

    With basically no winter, and the spring brown trout fishery in full swing in midMarch, it could be an interesting trout and salmon season on Lake Ontario!

    Just to update you on what this weather is doing to conditions on the east end of Lake Ontario, Capt. Jeff Lantiegne fished browns along shore in Mexico Bay on March 10, and the surface temp was 34 degrees.  One week later, yesterday March 17, it had increased to 43 degrees and the water was crystal clear.  Because of the warmer than normal winter, warmer water, and increased growth rate, 2-year old browns stocked as 8″ yearlings 10 months ago in May, 2011, are already up to 18 to 20 inches.  it’s only midMarch!!!  Check out the video of Jeff’s 3/17/12 trip http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OJXjOCKW … e=youtu.be

    We don’t have to guess.  Browns will be growing faster than normal from midMarch to mid April, and will grow larger than normal by late August, when the majority of them start to mature and quit feeding as they prepare for their early autumn spawning run in tributaries.  Ditto for older browns, with “only the Lord knows” limits on their size in such a productive lake.  With lampreys relatively scarce in 2011, we could be looking at a major crop of 12 – 20 lb. browns and bigger this year.

    Issue # 2…, there was no ice on Lake Erie this winter, so the ice boom at the head end of the Niagara River will not be holding back any ice, chilling the big Niagara, and keeping kings away from the river mouth and it’s plume out into the lake.  Most years, ice water in the Niagara pushes kings west into Canada, delaying the king salmon fishery in the area from the mouth of the Niagara eastward to Olcott.  This year could be different.

    And, what about the spring king salmon fishery off Oswego Harbor.  Some years it has been awesomem, including 2001, and later in 2004 when Fish Doctor anglers aboard my charter boat boated 201 king in 31 trips, just in the month of May.  In 2005, May fishing was almost as good for kings, and even better for cohos.  Last year, though, in 2011, there weren’t many kings off Oswego until late June.

    Time will tell, but I’m guessing the 2012 season will be much different than most!



  • Lake Ontario Salmon and Trout Fishing…, Tweaking the Deadly Sutton

    Posted on March 3rd, 2012 admin No comments


    As a LakeOntariocharter captain with 35years of experience under my keel, I’ve been asked many times, “If you had only one spoon to use inLake Ontario

    This Lake Ontario brown trout hit a hammered silver/brass #44 Sutton.

    for trout and salmon, what would it be?”  My answer, whether fished on a flatline, leadcore or copper line, or a downrigger or Dipsy, the 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 fished Lake Ontario in September, 1977, my fishing partner and I boated 5 out of 6 kings on a flat silver $44 Sutton.  In the 35 years since then, Sutton spoons in a variety of sizes in stock and customized Fish Doctor finishes 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. 


    Sutton spoons aren’t as available as they once were when produced inNaples,NY.  They were the most popular trolling spoon, by far, for trout and salmon inNew York’sFinger Lakesfor many years.  The originals have one of the finest silver plated finishes on the market.  Keep your eye out for used, original Suttons.


    Suttons 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” #44, I use  a Size #1, #1/0 or #2/0 hook depending on the speed I’ll be trolling and the spoon action I want.  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, this “high speed” version of the #44 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 this spoon 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. 


    Capt. Ernie Lantiegne has operated a charter fishing business on Lake Ontario for trout and salmon for 30 years.  He also worked as a fishery biologist/manager for the New York State Dept. of Environmental Conservation for 22 years.