• Lake Ontario Trout and Salmon Fishing…, When the Birds Aren’t Singing

    Posted on January 19th, 2017 admin No comments

    The older I get, the harder I try to be wiser.  It’s either an energy conservation thing or maybe just an effort to avoid wasted time.  With this wisdom gained from the school of hard knocks, before I leap I look and listen a lot more, particularly to weather conditions and especially to birds.

    Twenty years ago, when I had a day off and wanted to shoot a trophy whitetail I knew was holed up on the top of a 3600′ high Adirondack Mt., I just hiked up there in hot pursuit.  Today, before I begin the hunt, I ask, “Are the conditions right for finding, tracking, and killing that buck?”  Is the wind direction right?  Is tracking snow quiet enough to give me the advantage?  Will the deer be active? If not, maybe it’s a better day for giving my setters some exercise in a good grouse cover.

    The same thing is true for fishing.  When I fished drift boats on Lake Ontario tributaries, floating rivers for steelhead and salmon, the first thing I did before daylight every morning was check wind direction.  Next, at daybreak, I listened for birds singing.

    If the wind was easterly or the birds were inactive, I knew my clients might have a tough morning convincing fish to bite and geared up accordingly, often times fishing later in the day in hopes of a weather change of, if fishing steelhead or king salmon, switching techniques from drift fishing with bait like egg sacs for feeding fish to back trolling plugs which aggravate fish into striking.  As a lake Ontario charter captain with a calendar of prescheduled charters, fishing trips cannot be cancelled if conditions on any given day are not right.  Knowing fish may be in a negative mood helps me plan for the day, using tricks I’ve learned over 35 years fishing Lake Ontario to catch trout and salmon when they are snoozing instead of actively feeding.

    Sportsfolks know wildlife, including fish, are not active 24-7 and it pays to fish and hunt accordingly.

  • Lake Ontario Trout and Salmon Fishing…, Dipsy Diver Leader Length

    Posted on January 19th, 2017 admin No comments

    So you want to know exactly how much leader to run behind your Dipsy Diver to catch trout and salmon, consitently, right?  Me, too, even after 30 years of trolling the Great Lakes with them.

    The answer, I think, is, “It all depnds.”  That is, it depends on what you’re fishing for,d the conditions you’re fishing in, and what you’re fishing behind the Dipsy.  For a starter, let’s assume you’re using a clear snubber, which most, not all, Great Lakes captains use most of the time and talk about leader length from the swivel on the snubber to the snap swivel on the lure.

    Fact is, Iknow one captain who fishes leaders as short as 48″ when trolling spoons and attractor/flies or bait.  Others, mostly for spoons, fish leaders up to 25 feet long and half to handline fish to the net.  These are extremes.

    I have found that over the years I’ve fished Dipsys with spoons a 10′ leader with mono as light as I can get away with for the species I’m targeting works best for me.  With attractors and flies or bait, 8-10 foot leaders do the trick, but I’ve caught numbers of king salmon on 56″ leaders.  When I want to fish spoons further back than 10′, I switch to slide divers.

    As for leader, when trolling spoons, the lighter the better, and I never fish heavier than 20# test for anything, always with a clear snubber.  For attractors, I believe you can use as heavy a leader as you like.  I fish clear snubbers with both spoons and attractors for several reasons, but occasionally use dcolored snubbers for cohos and steelhead.  You will not find fluorocarbon leader in the lighter lb. tests on my charter boat because of poor knot strength.  I doubt that fluorocarbon leader increases hookups when fishing with divers.