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Friday, August 19, 2022

Salmon and steelhead fishing on Lake Ontario

After my planned trip to Le Domaine shannon was cancelled, my wife and i decided to visit family in Toronto for a few days. Being that I have never fished on Lake Ontario, I booked a day of salmon and steelhead trout fishing on Lake Ontario, with Fishing4tails charters, run by the legendary Greg Amiel. Although we never met in person, Greg has been a long time social media acquaintance / friend, and came highly recommended by some of the mutual friends we've both fished with over the years.

Knowing that I had booked a day of fishing on Lake Ontario, my 20 year old son happily Levi joined me for this new fishing adventure.

We met Greg bright and early at the Harbour Marina, in order to get on the water at first light. Within minutes, we were at out first spot, ready to start trolling for Chinook salmon, our largest target species for the day.

Snapped a quick pic of quintessential Levi at sunrise over Toronto.

Greg started setting up the lines, mostly baited with strips of herring fished behind big flasher type attractant spoons. The lines were set at various depths, using a mix of downriggers, dipsy divers, and long line copper wire behind planer boards.

Within a matter of minutes, Levi was on to his first chinook salmon of the day, with Greg coaching him.

A few minutes later, we boated the first chinook salmon of the day, a decent fish in the upper teens. 

Snapped a couple quick pics before getting the salmon in the livewell, as we were planning on keeping our bag limits during this fishing trip.

Note the lamprey damage, unfortunately, Lake Ontario is infested with them.

Minutes later, I boated my first chinook salmon of the outing, much smaller than Levi's, but at least I was on the board. Shortly after, a third Chinook came to play, and Levi did a great job fighting the big salmon. 

We netted it, turned out to be the biggest one of the outing, over 3 feet long. Got a couple nice pics.

The Chinook bite started slowing down after that, we missed a couple fish. As we kept trolling, Greg mounted his fillet board onto the boat, and proceeded to fillet out catch to get them on ice as quick as possible. 

Quite frankly, I was amazed by Greg's multitasking ability to simultaneously fillet our catch, run 6 lines, and keep the boat running along a drop off, all at the same time, while fighting waves and current on Lake Ontario.

Weather warmed up, sun was shining bright, we knew we'd be heading further offshore soon to chase some coho salmon and big steelheads. Despite the slowed down action, I hooked into a decent chinook salmon, ended up being my biggest chinook of the day.

With Levi and both having landed decent chinook salmons, we were now ready to chase some smaller, but tastier, cohos and steelheads in deeper water. We ran nearly halfway across the lake, and started getting hit just as Greg set up the downrigger lines to troll multiple spoons on a slider/cheater rig, which I've never seen up until that point.

Technique was effective, to say the least. Within minutes, Levi had his first steelhead of the day. As opposed to Chinooks that mainly pull down during the fight this time of the year, steelheads jump straight out multiple time during the fight. Levi managed to keep the big trout pinned, and shortly after, we had or first one of the day on board.

After landing some smaller chinook salmon, I eventually got my first steelhead trout of the day on the line. Beauty of a fish that put up another good fight.

Using the same setup, we eventually got onto some good coho salmon fishing to complete out target species slam. These are supposed to be the tastiest of our target species, nd fight with constant head shakes. Levi drew first blood.

As you'll note, coho salmon are quite girthy for their length, almost football shaped at times.

Levi and I hooked into a double header, with him landing another good steelhead trout, and myself with my first coho salmon of the day.

The bite kept getting better, Levi and I landed more chinook and coho salmon, this coho was the biggest of the day. What a fatty!

Just a Greg was removing the lines to end the outing, we hit one last double header with the remaining two lines. Unfortunately, mine snapped the line, but Levi landed this deep blue colored steelhead to end the outing.

Greg finished filleting our catch before making the rough ride back to shore in pounding waves.

All in all, this fishing trip was one of our better outings to date. We both managed to land a slam of target species, kept out bag limits of both fresh caught salmon and steelhead trout, and learned a lot about some new species we had not targeted or fished for up until that point.

Out of all the guides I've ever fished with in my life, Greg Amiel ranks among the top. Aside from being a a lifelong multispecies angler with vast experience, his knowledge of lake Ontario and its salmonids species is unparalleled. Using a vast array of techniques and electronics at the same time, comes to him as second nature, as we made good casual conversation why he was able to fillet out catch and put us onto spectacular fishing at the same time. Truly a legend in my book.

To get in tough with Greg about a guided fishing trip on Lake Ontario, or any of the other water bodies he fishes, visit his web site at: 

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