Surprised to see this Great Lake rank so high? Don’t be. It’s full of big, healthy fish. For starters, the 450-kilometre Canadian shoreline has tremendous trout and salmon fishing, both offshore and in the tributaries. Then during spring and fall, 20-pound-plus pike cruise Toronto Harbour and nearby bays, and the bass and walleye action near Kingston is hotter than ever. In fact, there are so many different fishing opportunities, it’s like a dozen waterbodies in one.
In 2010, Largemouth bass; Beautiful setting in the 1000 Islands region
When to fish: The action is great all summer.
Where to fish: Focus on docks and the inside weed edge along gravel shorelines.
Tip: The water here is super clear, so throw Senkos on 10-pound-test fluorocarbon or flip natural-coloured jigs, such as the Strike King Bootlegger Jig, on 20-pound-test fluoro.
Steelhead; Good numbers of fish, and areas where you can get away from the crowds
When to fish: March, when the ice starts to thaw, and again in early May.
Where to fish: Early in the season, focus on large, deep pools and slower-moving portions of the river in the lower stretches; later in the season, work deep pools, undercuts and logjams farther up the river.
Tip: Use roe bags and flies on float reels. Later in the season, try dew worms.
—Richie Tripp, freelance photographer and tournament angler, who also does camera work for Dave Mercer’sFacts of Fishing TV show
In 2009, Smallmouth bass; Good numbers of big fish
When to fish: Fall promises the best action.
Where to fish: Focus on shallow (four- to six-foot-deep) rock flats and points.
Tip: Quickly retrieve spinnerbaits with white skirts and silver blades.
—Tom Brooke, vice-president of Shimano Canada
In 2008, Chinook; Big fish
When to fish: July and August.
Where to fish: Start in 80 feet of water and work out until you mark fish; the ideal water temperature is 52 to 57°F.
Tip: Troll spoons or cut bait with a dodger on downriggers.