5 Amazing Facts to Know About Lake Ontario Fishing

Lake Ontario Fishing

Recognized as one of the five Great Lakes of North America, Fishing in Lake Ontario is a popular activity and an amazing picnic spot.

5 Amazing Facts to Know About Lake Ontario

The lake is bordered by the Canadian province of Ontario on the north, west, and southwest, and the United States state of New York on the south and east.

The lake is therefore shared by both the United States and Canada and is visited the most by residents of both countries every year, despite the seasons. Get to know all about the lake below!

1. Fishing in Lake Ontario

Ontario, Canada
Image by Chris Chan from Unsplash

If you’re in the United States, your options for fishing are limited to the New York border, which is not the same case if you are in Ontario.

Areas that can be used for fishing include-

1.1. Olcott, New York

Olcott is a lakefront town in Niagara County, New York, and is home to Lake Ontario’s deepest harbour. At this town during the summer, king salmon may be found in depths ranging from 150 to 400 feet.

1.2. Oswego, New York

Oswego is known across the state for being the centre of upstate fishing. If you are planning a vacation to this lake, several experts recommend that you target brown trout.

1.3. Picton (Ontario)

If you’re on the northern side of Lake Ontario in Canada, we recommend visiting Picton, which is situated exactly along the lake’s northeastern shore.

Because this town is highly reliant on tourism and housing, there are several fishing excursions and lakefront villas. Many people visit this lake for huge walleye from late summer through winter.

1.4. Lewiston, New York

Lewiston is located on the western edge of Niagara County, and many fishermen come here to fish.

This lake town’s fishing is particularly popular in the fall and early winter, and locals also recommend visiting Niagara State Park.

1.5. Clayton, New York

Clayton is in Jefferson County, near Cape Vincent and Alexandria Bay, on the lake’s upper northeastern edge.

This village is a renowned tourist destination in upstate New York due to its fishing and other attractions. If you prefer fishing in shallower waters, big muskies may be found around Clayton Marina in late fall and early winter.

2. How To Begin Fishing

There are several options for starting a fishing expedition. Some are seasonal, while others are determined by your objectives.

2.1. Charter Boat Fishing

Charter Boat Fishing is unrivalled for prize catches, stocking the freezer, and hitting different locations.

Lake Ontario is the smallest of the Great Lakes, yet it still has massive water. You’ll have the opportunity to move around and change locations fast on a charter boat in pursuit of your objectives.

Lake Ontario Fishing
Photo by Steve Giampa on Unsplash/ copyright 2019

You’ll also have a captain on hand, who most likely fishes all year and has extensive knowledge of the waterways.

This is a tremendous help if you’re unfamiliar with the region. Your gear and bait are usually included in the price of the charter.

2.2. Shore Fishing

Fishing by the shore is the perfect way to fish if you are looking to have a fun yet relaxing time.

Relax by setting up a chair and your stuff along Lake Ontario’s shorelines. You’ll be on solid ground while showing them the ropes, and there’s enough to do nearby if they become bored.

Set up near objects like bridges to increase your chances of catching fish. Deep pockets of water frequently surround them, attracting tiny baitfish and bigger predators in quest of their next meal.

2.3. Ice Fishing

There are spots with world-class ice fishing on both the Canadian and American sides of Lake Ontario.

Because Lake Ontario is so deep, it hardly ever completely freezes over. Sticking to shorelines where the water is shallower and the ice is thick enough to comfortably fish is probably the smartest way to go about it.

Ice fishermen from all over the world travel to Lake Ontario to catch Northern Pike, Walleye, and Perch. On Lake Ontario, exceptional ice fishing may be found at Chaumont Bay, Guffins Bay, and the Bay of Quinte.

Remember that ice fishing conditions can change quickly so before drilling, always check that the ice is safe, dress warmly, and have a cellphone or radio with you.

3. Fishing in Different Weathers in Lake Ontario

3.1. Fishing in Spring

In the early spring, the lake is a great place to catch brown trout. Expect to catch browns in the shallow portions of the lake and other streams along the shore as soon as the lake becomes fishable in the spring.

Brown Trout are most commonly caught at Nine Mile Point and Grindstone Creek. Steelhead begins to leave the nearby streams around mid-April and can be seen in the lake as well.

3.2. Fishing Lake Ontario in Summer

During the summer, expect to see fish growing in size as the season progresses.

Lake trout are quite popular throughout the warm summer months, and as we approach closer to fall, the number of these fish will likely rise due to the higher temperatures.

Lake ontario fishing
Photo by Drew Farwell on Unsplash/ copyright 2018

Many local experts believe that fishing the deeper waters of the Oswego and Salmon Rivers early in the season provides excellent opportunities for smallmouth bass.

3.3. Fishing in Fall

Many local fishermen prefer trolling for salmon in the fall because the fish shift to the 20 to 50-foot area near the shorelines.

This enthusiasm fades in November, and people shift their attention to steelhead and brown trout, which are quite prolific in the late season.

4. Lake Ontario Fish Species

If you enjoy freshwater sport fishing, this list of fish will make you extremely pleased. There are several possibilities to catch tasty animals to bring home.

If you want to set a personal best, the lake has plenty of prize fish.

4.1. Atlantic Salmon

The Atlantic salmon is the third biggest of the Salmonidae family’s species. It is anadromous, which means it hatches and spawns in streams and rivers but spends most of its adult life in the sea.

Nonetheless, populations exist, such as the one in Lake Ontario, where adults travel solely between neighbouring rivers and lakes, rather than the ocean.

Lake Ontario has many fish species that were previously abundant in Lake Ontario, but a combination of environmental deterioration and overfishing has resulted in its extinction.

4.2. Bluegill Sunfish

The bluegill is one of the most frequent and widespread members of this family, which is also known as sunfish, bream, or sunny.

Anglers, on the other hand, use both nicknames interchangeably when referring to sunfish in general. Look for bluegill with a characteristic panfish body, a tiny mouth, a large dorsal fin, and a forked tail.

A black splotch on the gill cover and another at the bottom margin of the dorsal fin are the most distinguishing traits.

Bluegills like slow-moving streams with plant beds where they may hide from predators. They typically consume aquatic and terrestrial insects, although they may also consume snails, tiny crayfish, and even algae and other plants when their primary food supply is unavailable.

4.3. Brook Trout

The presence of an adipose fin distinguishes the brook trout just in front of the tail, which is unique to members of this family.

The brook trout has a dark olive back with darker lines interwoven. Above the orange belly, red dots bordered by blue can be observed, which becomes especially noticeable in spawning males.

Tiger trout may be found in fishing, where the populations of brook trout and brown trout converge. The hybrid is extremely unusual and is usually the result of a cross-mating between a female brown trout and a male brook trout.

4.4. Lake Trout

The lake trout is a big char that is a member of the Salmonidae family. Char differs from lake trout in that it has bright spots and a horseshoe-shaped bone (vomer) on the roof of the mouth that is toothed only in the front.

The male lake trout comes to the mating spot a few days before the female lake trout and cleans off the rocks.

When the ladies arrive, the males court them. Lake trout and brook trout can hybridize, resulting in hybrids known as splakes.

4.5. Brown Trout

Brown Trout fish
Image by Hunter Brumels from Unsplash

The brown trout is an inquisitive eater that will eat everything available, although marine and terrestrial insects are the cornerstones of its diet.

In 1913, the brown trout species were introduced into Lake Ontario. It lives in the same environment as brook trout, and when both brook trout and brown trout cohabit, the latter is forced to the headwaters of streams.

Most fish prefer temperatures ranging from 54 to 63 degrees Fahrenheit (12 to 17 degrees Celsius) and may be found near the coastline, especially in the spring when Lake Ontario provides fantastic brown trout fishing.

This lake Ontario fish species is a salmonid fish native to Europe that was imported to North America in 1883 by Fred Mather, a New York fish farmer.

4.6. Coho Salmon

Before the spawning season, coho salmon has a smooth silver hue and may be recognized from other salmonids by markings on the top half of the tail and a black mouth with lighter gums.

It was initially introduced into fishing in 1969, and it is now present in all of the Great Lakes. When it comes time to spawn, the coho salmon returns to the same river where it was hatched or supplied from.

4.7. Chinook Salmon

Chinook salmon is one of the bigger fish species in the Oncorhynchus genus. It gets its name from the Chinookan peoples of the Pacific Northwest.

Because of its size, the Chinook was given the Danish moniker ‘Kongelaks,’ which translates as king salmon.

The moniker king salmon is also used in some sections of the species’ range. The Chinook salmon, like the coho salmon, is an anadromous fish endemic to the North Pacific Ocean.

4.8. Rainbow Trout

Rainbow trout
Image by Jon Sailer from Unsplash

The rainbow trout, often known as the steelhead, was introduced to the Great Lakes in 1895. It is now heavily stocked in the Great Lakes to sustain populations and improve angling possibilities.

Rainbow trout are classified into three types: rainbow, steelhead, and Kamloops. Rainbow Trout can be caught all year in fishing if the minimum length is 21 inches (53 cm) and only one fish is captured every day.

The rainbow trout is anadromous, meaning it migrates hundreds of kilometres upstream to spawn. They love cool, clean water, fast-moving streams, and silt-free soil.

4.9. Smallmouth Bass

Smallmouth Bass
Image by Michal Dziekonski from Unsplash

In North America, the smallmouth bass is popular sportfish. The name is derived from the lower jaw, which, unlike the largemouth bass, does not extend past the eye.

Smallmouth bass relies heavily on eyesight to feed, which drives them to seek clean water. In lakes, they frequently congregate near objects such as logs or pier posts. They like lower temperatures and rocky or sandy soils.

4.10. Pink Salmon

Pink salmon are the smallest and most widespread of the Pacific salmon species. Pink salmon, like brown trout, rainbow trout, coho salmon, and Chinook salmon, may be fished in Lake Ontario all year.

5. Fishing Rules and Regulations

5.1. Fishing in American Waters

The first step in fishing the American part of Lake Ontario is to get a New York State fishing licence.

There are several alternatives for freshwater licences, which you may view in further detail online. Similarly, the lake and the lake’s tributaries are subject to severe ownership and size restrictions.

5.2. Fishing in Canadian Waters

Most of the same rules apply while fishing on Canadian soil. Anglers between the ages of 18 and 65 are normally needed to have a valid fishing licence.

You must first obtain an Outdoors Card before you may purchase a fishing licence. You may, however, obtain a single-day fishing licence without an Outdoors Card.


Finally, if you want to go Lake Ontario fishing in both Ontario and New York waterways, you must get both an Ontario and a New York fishing licence.

Although Lake Ontario is not the largest of the Great Lakes, it is a popular destination for visitors, sports anglers, and leisure fishermen.

Because there is a lot of buzzes about the lake, we recommend adding it to one of your fishing trips. Fishing has a lot to offer, including a thriving fish population, a large range of high-quality charters, and a plethora of entry locations along the New York State boundary.

There’s something for everyone along its shorelines, with outstanding salmon and trout fishing and a mix of gorgeous natural landscapes and urban towns. Have fun!

Frequently Asked Questions

Is fishing a good option on Lake Ontario?

On Lake Ontario, spring typically means excellent brown trout fishing. The majority of the shoreline is home to brown trout, which means amazing fishing opportunities.

What kind of fish do you get in Lake Ontario?

Coho salmon, chinook salmon, brown trout, walleye, smallmouth bassist, largemouths, walleye, and carp are some of the lake’s most common fish species.

One of the primary target fish at Midway Charters is salmon, which is well-known for its great fishing in Lake Ontario.

Best time to fish in Lake Ontario?

The month of July is the ideal time to catch trout and salmon in Lake Ontario, or a “mixed bag,” if you prefer. Depending on the conditions or personal preference, one might fish for brown trout close to shore or offshore for king salmon during this period of the year.


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