Southern Ontario has experienced some cold, albeit, intermittent, weather of late. With minus double digits in the evenings for several days straight, my mind started to drift northward to possible ice fishing adventures. Southern Ontario doesnt always see fishable ice before christmas each year, but it was looking like a real possibility this year. With that possibility, the usual suspects and I began hatching plans for a quick trip during the holiday break.
Over the past few years our group has spent more efforts on pursuing the various trout species the province as to offer. It started with some eventual success on a stocked rainbow trout lake, and was followed by excellent outings on several brook trout lakes. Sprinkle in a few lake trout and splake trips into the mix and voila, you have a full blown hardwater trout addiction. This year we decided to tackle a new goal. The Ontario Trout Grand Slam. One Brookie, rainbow, brown, and laker or splake.
Very few of the trout species remain native to southern ontario. Heck, very few lakes have trout at all in our neighbourhood which makes our addiction and slam goals very difficult. Thankfully the MNRF maintains a healthy stocking program in southern Ontario, all of which can be accessed via their website Fish Online. This is where all our trout trips begin, and this will be where any description of where we fished, ends. After all finding these lakes on your own is half the fun.
Here are some pics of the trip for your viewing pleasure.
Although we fell short of completing the slam, we did manage to ice both a rainbow and a brown trout, not to mention a few other incidental coarse fish. Ultimately, the chance of a competing a slam, without the use of a motorized vehicles to cover ground, is very difficult. At least during the winter.
Cheers from the Wild
For years I have hear stories of the elusive, yet beautiful brown trout that frequesnt the shore lines of lake Ontario during the spring months. These stories have always facinated me and I have alsways wanted to get out and try for them myself.
Finally I was able to make the trip up to Wellington in Prince Edward County (Ontario) to take a crack at these elusive fish.
Wind conditions were perfect and the temperature was a balmy 5 degrees. Pretty decent for being on such a big lake in April!
We launched out of the Town of Wellington which is just north of the Sandbanks Provincial Park.
The launch is pretty decent and constructed of concrete at a good angle. Launch Fee was 6$. After a painless launch we were off and heading through the channel to the big lake. ( TIP: I hear the channel at the launch needs to be dredged every year due to inflow of sand so be warned, you may not be able to get out if you are trying to launch a big boat any sooner than mid March)
We moved south about 500 metres and began trolling an assortment of spoons and stick baits in anywhere from 9 to 30 FOW using straight lining and planar boards. Trolled past the sandbanks right up to and round the point just west of west lake. We clearly werent the only ones with the idea of chasing Brown trout as we encountered at least 10 other boast and a pair or adventurous Kayak fisherman. Marked a few fish in varying depths of water but couldnt get any hits. As they say thats why they call it fishing, not catching.
On the bright side we were at least we were able to enjoy a beautful day on the clear blue waters of Lake Ontario away from the stresses of life.
Until Next Time…
Getting started with a specific fishing technique can be difficult. What colour of lure? What trolling speed should you use? Live bait or artificial?
I am sure at one point or another we have all asked similar questions. Even the professionals had to start somewhere.
Im my experience, the ultimate way to get a leg up in the fishing world is to reach out to other, more experienced anglers. The best way to do this? Aside from being in any Tim Hortons at 4 am on a Saturday, Fishing Forums can be a close second. Fishing forums are great places to make connections with fellow anglers, discover previously hidden resources and ask virtually any question under the sun. In my experience, if you can ask it, some one can answer it. Almost always someone will reply with a tip to get you on your way to mastering a technique or species. If your lucky and polite, they may even take you out for a one on one demonstration!
Below are a list of great forumns which have a strong Ontario base:
Fish Ontario: http://www.oodmag.com/ – very good resource for all things hunting and fishing. This was the very first forumn I joined. Filled with great people who are friendly and helpfull, I have made many friends on this forum over the years.
Ice Shanty – http://www.iceshanty.com/ice_fishing/index.php?board=26.0 – dedicated to ice fishing in Ontario. This is a great resource for the Kingston Area.
Bay of Quinte Be ‘N’ Brag Fishing Forum http://forum2.quintefishing.com/viewforum.php?f=1 – you guessed it, specific forum for both soft and hard water fishing in the Bay of Quinte Area. Also includes several members who are well versed in the brown trout fishery on Lake O.
Hawk Talk – http://www.fish-hawk.net/index.php?i=forums&mode=forum – Also a great forum for Ontario. Also includes great information including fishing maps for specific lakes with directions on generic ways to fish specific lakes for beginners.
Lake Ontario United Forum http://www.lakeontariounited.com/fishing-hunting/ – all the gab on salmon, rainbows and browns that you can handle!