• Lake Ontario Trout and Salmon Fishing…, A Different 2014 Salmon Season

    Posted on October 18th, 2014 admin No comments


    A limit of king salmon boated on May 18, 2014, just outside Oswego Harbor

     In a nutshell, the 2014 fishing season was, verrrryyyyy interesting!

     Brown trout fishing, as usual in the Oswego area of Lake Ontario, was super beginning in midApril when the Fish Doctor was launched.  Lake trout action in 30 – 40 feet of water just outside Oswego Harbor was nonstop.  The big news, though, was the  early king salmon fishing.  Attracted by a heavy flow of  warm water from the Oswego River flowing  into the icy, 35 degree water of the lake, kings produced steady fishing   a stone’s throw from the Oswego lighthouse beginning the last week of April. 

    By late May, hordes of alewives moved inshore and the king salmon feeding frenzy was on.  Fish Doctor anglers aboard my charter boat cashed in on the action, boating many kings on ultralight tackle, trolling stickbaits and spoons right on the surface from planer boards.  Most of the kings were caught in the top 30 feet of water.   

    Tangle with a feisty 15 lb. king on 10 lb. test line, and you’re in for a fish(not fist) fight!    Just ask Rev.  Thomas James,  who fished with me on May 26, 27, and 28.  The first couple days, we worked hard for the kings we caught and lost more of these tough battlers than we landed.  The third day, however, we zeroed in on the kings and there were no escapees.  The hottest rod on the boat was the lightest, a 6-foot custom  rigger rod with a Penn 965 International reel  and 10 lb. test Berkley Big Game line.  Set 65 feet down on the center downrigger, it was all we needed in the water, and a handful with kings up to 15 lbs. stretching the line.  By midmorning Rev.  James and his fishing buddy boated their limit of 6 kings, two 8 and 10 lb. lakers and released one king.  The trip was typical of many this spring with catches of up to 20-30 kings, steelhead, lakers, and browns per trip. 

    Ditto for June…, kings, kings, kings, a little further out, but still keying on the muddy plume of Oswego River flowing into the frigid lake water, where schools of prespawn alewives were stacked up.  On the morning of June 7, Karl Schmidt and his crew of Fish Doctor anglers boated 8 kings and a laker by 6:30 AM trolling along the edge of the river plume in 70 feet of water.  Black/silver, and black/green spoons were the medicine for the kings, along with some of Stingers new UV patterns.More than half of the kings boated have been wild fish, with no fin clips.  The remainder are adipose fin clipped st  ocked fish, resulting from an annual stocking of 1.7 million fingerling .

    Alewife spawning peaks in midJune, and aggressive, actively feeding kings key on the deepwater edge of this baitfish concentration.   As the lake temperature warms and alewives begin to move offshore to deeper, colder waters, kings will follow them, a typical midsummer pattern.  So it was in July, 2014, one of those years when the spoon bite far outshadowed the flasher/fly bite until August.

    That is when Lake Ontario trollers started scratching their heads this season.  At a time when adult king salmon normally move inshore, most adult kings were being caught in deep water, mixed with immature fish.  Later in August, when huge numbers of kings and cohos stage in Mexico Bay, far fewer fish showed up there.  Later, in September, when spawning kings normally  begin to swarm into the Salmon River and other spawning tributaries, fewer fish showed up these streams.


    Why adult kings stayed offshore far later in the season and why there were fewer king salmon staged in Mexico Bay are unanswered questions.  With runs of spawning kings showing up in tributaries like the Oswego River as late as late November in past years, there is still plenty of time for kings to show up.  The question is, will they, and if not, why?