With the ice nearly or already dropping out of Ontario lakes, it’s a time when the ice rods and reels are put away and the long sticks are back in action. It is also a time when boats hit the launch ramps and can once again, run trolling patterns, cast the cold-water shallows or vertical jig for a hungry Lake Trout.
We thought we would compile 5 Lake Trout fishing destinations in Ontario that we feel are top-notch locations. Please note, these are all big bodies of water and care must be taken by anyone who fishes there.
These are in no particular order.
1 – Lake Ontario
Lake Ontario is known for its amazing Steelhead, Brown Trout and Chinook Salmon populations. Let’s face it, all three are world class. The unsung hero of Lake O is the Lake Trout. Reason being Lakers sit at the bottom of the “most desired” list when it comes to other trout species. Too bad we say!
For those a bit more open minded, they have discovered that Lake Ontario is one of the most phenomenal Laker waters in the world. Add the fact that it sits among the masses of a huge population along the southern corridor, this addition makes it that much more of a Lake Trout mecca.
Although you can pretty much catch Lakers throughout most of Lake Ontario, we have found that the mouth of the Niagara River (around the Niagara Bar), in front of the town of Port Hope, south of Brighton Bay, in front of East and West Lake and the south-west end of Amhearst Island are all excellent areas to hit.
With any of the above locations, we recommend trolling with either a Flatfish/Kwikfish plug or a spoon. Lake Trout seem to love these presentations. Where you find one, you will often find more.
Lake Ontario is a big, dangerous body of water that gets nasty FAST… be smart please!
2 – Lake Nipigon
You wanna’ talk about a top-notch body of water for Lake Trout? Well, Lake Nipigon is the real deal. We are in the process of using this very waterbody in our next Outdoor Canada magazine destination piece.
Again, the Lake Trout seemingly takes a back seat to other fish here. In this case, it’s to the Brook Trout, and believe it or not, Northern Pike (although some would argue that one). Regardless, the Lake Trout is truly the “king or the lake” when it comes to Nipigon. The reason we say this is because of the sheer mass of these behemoths. Some lakes boast long & lean Lake Trout. Indeed, Nipigon does harbor some of these, however, it is those shorter & beefier brutes that make this lake a must-fish for Lake Trout. The Lakers grow tough here and… they know how to use it!
Here are some interesting notes from the Ontario Fishing Regulations (Zone 6):
Lake Nipigon and its tributaries downstream from the first falls, rapids, dams or lakes or the entire stream if there are no falls, rapids, dams or lakes, also including:
• Waters on the islands of Lake Nipigon – including Forgan Lake, Bonner Lake, Little Bonner Lake and Jackpot Lake (Madeline Lake) • Gull River – downstream from the Hwy 527 bridge • Kabitotikwia River – downstream from the Highway 527 bridge • Poshkokagan River – downstream from and including the rapids (49°25’39”N., 89°05’12”W.) located 13 km upstream from the Black Sturgeon Road bridge • Wabinosh River – downstream from Wabinosh Lake • Little Jackfish River – downstream from the centre line of the CN railway bridge
• Dead Rainbow Smelt may be used as bait or possessed for use as bait
• Only artificial lures may be used when angling through the ice
• Only one barbless hook may be used
• No person shall use stringers, impounding devices, or live holding boxes
• A person may hold fish, other than Brook Trout or Lake Trout, in a livewell
• No possession of live Lake Trout
3 – Lake Temagami
Here is a big lake, with a great Lake Trout population, that is easily accessible from cities like Toronto to the south and Sudbury to Sault Ste Marie to the north and west.
The name Temagami comes from the Ojibwa language word Te-mee-ay-gaming, which means “deep water by the shore”.
Temagami is a gorgeous lake during all four seasons. The Lake Trout fishing is particularly good throughout the open water season and is often even better through the ice season. Reports of fish up to and even over 30lbs happen annually.
Although Temagami is a big lake, it is shaped somewhat different from the rest on this list. It takes on more of a longer and less-wide form with lots of “arms & fingers” spread throughout. This means there is a lot more protected water in the form of winds.
As far as good Laker stretches are concerned, look at areas like the north-west arm south of Birch Narrows, the narrows area at Sand Point, the deep section south west of Narrows Island (wow that’s a lot of narrows), the deepest area of the south arm and of course the mid section and eastern end of the popular north-ease arm. This BTW is a lot of water so be prepared to spend days looking around. If you only have a day or two, concentrate on any one of these areas to try and figure the Lakers out.
During the heat of the summer, concentrate near the deepest portions of these areas (look for fish 70+ feet deep)
As with all these lakes, trolling or jigging are great tactics.
BTW, Temagami has great Smallmouth Bass fishing as well.
4 – Lake Huron (Georgian Bay)
A lake like Huron is one of those “no-brainers” when it comes to a Lake Trout list. It’s big, it’s deep, and it’s cold… three elements that make for great Laker fishing.
As with Lake Ontario, all the Great Lakes warrant extra care to be taken to ensure absolute safety.
Lake Huron seems to us like an “unsung hero” in the popularity contest between the Great Lakes. We hear all kinds of reports about Erie, Superior, Ontario and even Michigan but Huron… not so much. As a matter of fact, if it wasn’t for Steelhead, we wouldn’t hear much at all about Lake Huron. Even it’s adjoining water Georgian Bay gets more fishing publicity than it’s big brother Huron.
The truth of the matter is though, Huron is an amazing body of water for an array of gamefish species.
As far as Lake Trout, there’s lots and they can grow big.
Trolling is the most widely used fishing tactic when it comes to Lake Trout on Lake Huron since there’s so much vastness here. Essentially you put your boat in gear and look for fish or almost as importantly, baitfish with either your eyes or with the aid of a fishfinder. If you catch a Laker or two, concentrate on that immediate area for at least half and hour before moving on.
If you find a nice piece of deep structure with your electronics, and there are fish that show up on your finder, that’s the time to drop something directly on their heads.
A jigging spoon, white tube jig or a nice 4-5” swimbait on a heavy head will more often than not, get smacked by a Laker.
Big water = big fish.
5 – Lake Simcoe
Here is our last big-water big-Laker destination. Of all the waterbodies on this Top 5 list, Lake Simcoe is the most diverse in gamefish species targeted by the general population. Along with Lake Trout there are Whitefish, Walleye, Muskie, Smallmouth & Largemouth Bass, Pike, Yellow Perch, Black Crappie and more.
As far as Lake Trout fishing is concerned, there are both a hard water and open water fishery here and they are both darned good! The lake sets up perfect for a species like the Lake Trout; great spawning grounds, lots of deep structure as well as a massive population of open-water-roaming baitfish like Herring & Cisco to keep voracious Lakers busy all year long.
If you have the Navionics web app on your computer or their boating app for iPhone or Android, check out the area of Fox and Snake Islands and look at the contours around there that drop into deep water. Classic stuff!
Don’t have a boat or any ice fishing gear but want to head out for a day? There are lots of guide services available to take care of your insatiable Laker lust!
Well, there you go, a Top 5 list of big bodies of water that harbor some of the provinces biggest Lake Trout.
Please be safe out there.