This Fish’n Canada episode is about going fishing with an open mind and being ready for the unexpected.
It’s early fall… a time when fish species are about to make some life changes… and sometimes drastically. Lake and Speckled Trout as well as Chinook Salmon commence their spawning rituals, Largemouth and Smallmouth start their end of season migrations, big Muskie seem to appear out of nowhere and throw on the feedbag… it’s a great time to be on the water.
On this show Pete was fishing close to home in the Whitby Harbour, one of the many Lake Ontario harbours along the Greater Toronto Area. There’s a bit of incoming water there which should draw some fish activity.
“I’m here with the assumption” says Pete “that the species list consists of Largemouth and Smallmouth Bass, Pike… and since it’s late in the season, there’s the possibility of Brown Trout, Rainbow trout and Chinook Salmon”.
“Although I could have trolled the entire area covering it in no time at all” continues Pete “I chose to cast it. That way I could hit little areas that would be impossible to access via trolling”.
Pete’s lure choices would be spoons, spinners and minnow-baits as his base presentations as these are great choices for a variety of fish. As for gear, he ran a long 9’ Carrot Stix spinning rod as his main rig in case he hooked into a beast. He also chose a relatively light fluorocarbon leader since he was after numbers of fish and not a specific species like Pike. It was a chance he was willing to take.
JAWS OF IRON:
Pete’s first fish encounter of the day was a smashing strike in between the docks but, the fish didn’t hook up. He looked over his hooks to see if they were sharp and indeed they were. That was it for his lure check… but it wasn’t enough. On his very next cast, his spoon simply fell off during the retrieve. Upon Pete’s next inspection he found his cross locking snap opened up… by that very fish’s jaws! Pete summed it up pretty much to armature hour!
HARBOUR LINE CHOICES:
When fishing in harbours or creek and river mouths where Salmon, Pike and Bass reside, always try and go to the heavy side of your gear rather than light. Even though the water will probably be clear, it’s worthwhile spooking a couple of fish in a day knowing that the insurance of heavy equipment will ultimately pay off more in hooked fish. These areas are notorious for having wood and steel and skegs and so on… perfect areas for a big fish to wrap your line.
“I’d recommend starting with 20-30 lb braid” Pete says “as a minimum and use only heavy duty cross lock snap/swivel combos if you’re chucking spinners and spoons”.
“That said” Pete continues “if you are not getting any strikes and you’re pretty sure it’s to due to your heavy line and terminal tackle, then and only then should you consider to go lighter. That ends up usually being a fluorocarbon leader”
AFTER CATCHING FIRST PIKE:
The beauty of harbour areas like the one Pete’s in today is the number of game-fish species that reside here year round. A trip like this Whitby location is ultimately not about “just Salmon or just Pike or just Bass” it’s about setting the hook on anything that is hungry or just feeling aggressive… and that is the true definition of fishing.
THE SALMON SPECTACULAR:
Pete worked his way to the back of the harbour essentially looking for cleaner water. What he found stunned him. Salmon after Salmon jumping out of the water and none would bite his spoons (he tried many) spinners or minnow-baits. After what seemed like hundreds of casts, finally a fish seemingly took a wack at the spoon… of course not getting hooked up.
“WOW, this is nuts” says Pete “I’m getting my butt handed to me in my new-found Salmon asylum, it’s crazy… I’ve got no problem with that, my Pikers will keep me sane” …and back to the Pike he went.
There’s a number of harbour or creek areas along the GTA corridor that have a significant population of various fish species. Although Pete was fishing here in the fall, here’s a little low-down of what to expect throughout the season.
- Starting to the west, Frenchman’s Bay in Pickering has a great population of Pike, Largemouth Bass and Carp along with some Salmon in the fall as well as the odd trout in spring and fall. We’d say it’s the cold water Pike fishing here that’s the #1 game in this town. Look for weeds near the deepest water. There’s limited shore access and a boat launch in Pickering Village at the marina.
- The Whitby Harbour which Pete was fishing on this shoot obviously has a late Salmon run as well as Northern Pike, Largemouth and Smallmouth Bass, and Carp. There are also some Brown and Rainbow Trout in spring and fall. Fishing for big Salmon in 3 – 6 feet of this soft, silty weed infested still water, is pretty mind blowing. This harbour has limited shore access and a very good boat launch.
- Oshawa Harbour gets a nice run of Chinook Salmon as well as some big Brown Trout come late August and deep into the fall. The Oshawa Creek is the big draw here. It has a nice run of Rainbow Trout in the spring and during the summer there’s Carp, plus Large and Small Mouth Bass. There’s a nice resident population of Pike here as well. The Oshawa harbour has shore access along the west pier but as of the writing of this piece, the harbour boat launch is closed.
- Bowmanville Creek is last on this eastward moving list. The Harbour and mouth area have a very large fall Salmon run as well as some Brown & Rainbow Trout. The spring has a really good Rainbow run and during the warmer months there are Carp, Largemouth and some Smallmouth as well. Although we’ve never caught a Pike there, be rest assured, if they are in the previous harbours, there probably in Bowmanville as well! During the fall there is good shore access as well as a great boat launch near by.
Remember these are just 4 of the “many” harbours and tributaries that dot the Great Lakes, all of which have fantastic potential for multi species angling. Please though… respect the other boaters, marinas and general users of these areas.
HOW PETE DID:
Pete’s day ended with a great catch of Pike including a hefty 16-18 pounder… a true trophy fish for southern Ontario.
He did not end up catching any Chinook even though he knew with all the mayhem around him, the area was full of Salmon.
Guess that means another trip next fall.
OTMP go fish ONTARIO
Did you know?
GETTIN’ THERE with RAM TRUCKS
To get to today’s surprising Pike action, I jumped into the Ram at our productions studio in Oshawa, and booted a few minutes west on Hwy 401 to the Brock Street exit at Whitby. I headed south on Brock Street, and then turned west on Victoria Street. Next, I turned south on Gordon Street. The public boat launch is a couple hundred yards down Gordon on the left. There’s a 10 dollar parking fee at the launch, which can be paid in cash using an automated machine or paid online by using a phone app. Don’t skimp here as the city will fine you if you don’t buy a pass.