Lake Ontario

Lake Ontario


Species: Bass, Carp, Catfish, Crappie, Perch, Pike, Salmon, Steelhead, Trout, Walleye/Pickerel

Location: Ontario


Why we chose it:

In 2012, ranked #6 in all-time hot spots

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.

—John Noel, owner of Principle Outdoors Agency

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.

—Ron James & Leo Stakos, hosts of Fish TV

Chinook; Good numbers of active 10- to 18-pound fish

When to fish: April through June.

Where to fish: Jordan Harbour to the Niagara River.

Tip: Early in the year, troll planer boards and Bomber Long As in water as shallow as 15 feet; as the water warms up, move deeper and use spoons.

—Charlie Wray, host of The Fishful Thinking Show

Lake trout; World-class fishery, little pressure and 20-pound fish

When to fish: June through August.

Where to fish: Between St. Catharines and the mouth of the Niagara River.

Tip: Drag bottom in 70 to 100 feet with Gibbs Gang Trolls and Worden’s Wobble Troll.

—Charlie Wray, host of The Fishful Thinking Show

Chinook; A world-class salmon fishery accessible to millions

When to fish: July and August.

Where to fish: Straight out from Bronte Harbour with your cannonballs in the 47 to 52°F range.

Tip: Troll Spin Doctors flashers and Dreamweaver flies.

—Darryl Choronzey, host of Going Fishing TV