• Lake Ontario Trout and Salmon Fishing…, Familiar Bite Alewives

    Posted on August 1st, 2016 admin No comments


    This Atlantic salmon hit a Sushi Fly behind a Whip Flash flasher

    As I stood at the rigging table in the stern of my charter boat wiring a Familiar Bite alewife strip in a Sushi Fly, my thoughts drifted back 50 years.  It was about then, sitting in an old wooden rowboat on a remote Adirondack pond that my Dad had showed me how to bait a single hook lake trout spoon with a fresh strip of minnow.  I remember him saying, “It’s the bait that makes the difference”.

     Some things never change, and for Great Lakes trollers, quality  bait can still be the difference between a long day on the water or a cooler full of trout and salmon, , especially when fish are a bit negative, spurning standard, unbaited spoons and flies.  In Lake Ontario, the bait of choice, of course, is the alewife, the fresher the better.

     A few Lake Ontario trollers now collect, cure, and freeze their own alewives, jigging them with sabiki rigs, a series of tiny jigs on a leader designed to catch species like mackerel, Pacific herring and alewives.  For those who do not catch their own bait, whole alelwives, cut bait, some of it from Pacific or Atlantic herring, and Sushi Strips are now available in sport, shops.

     But, and this is a huge “but”, there is a drastic difference in quality of this bait.  When it comes to whole alewives, the best available is from Familiar Bite, fresh, perfectly cured, frozen and vacuum packed alewives with silvery scales, bright eyes, and firm flesh that look  like they just came out of the water(and they did).   The worst alewives I have seen are from Dream Weaver,  discolored, shrunken eyes, soft mushy flesh.

     Confidence is everything, when it comes to the evolution of an effective trolling spread.   Thirty years of trolling bait on Lake Ontario has done that for me.  Trial and error, success and failure, it has all gone into the equation of a salmon spread I now use routinely combining whole bait, Sushi Flies, and artificials.   But when it comes to bait, the secret is the quality. 

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