By: Bojan Zivkovic
The Great Lakes have seen an increase in Chinook and coho populations this summer, and following stellar summer fishing on Lake Ontario we’re expecting a promising salmon run in our GTA rivers this fall. The cool rain and mild temperatures we saw a few weeks ago drew salmon into tributaries on the north shore of Lake Ontario and more are expected to migrate into rivers and creeks daily.
Anglers across the province had success fishing for salmon the past few weeks until warm temperatures stalled the bite. Fishing has slowed following two weeks of dry conditions and warmer water temperatures. However, I believe only a bit more then a quarter of the salmon run has entered our river systems. I’m optimistic the rest of the season will be good once cooler conditions prevail.
Besides throwing spoons and crankbaits for salmon during the day and at night most of my success comes on cured skein chunks fished under a float. When the water was cooler salmon were on the prowl and willing to inhale eggs. We caught many while fishing slow, deep water where salmon stage in low water conditions prior to making their ways upriver to prepare their beds for the spawn. These deep, slow areas of the river are productive spots, even though they seem featureless. Fishing slow moving estuary or harbour water takes a lot of patience, but pays off.
When I fish for salmon with skein chunks under a float I cure my skein with Pautzke’s Pink BorX O’ Fire or a blend of Red Fire Cure and Pink BorX O’ Fire. I find that big, bright eggs tend to attract the most aggressive fish almost instantaneously. I bait my skein chunks with small treble hooks primarily to keep my eggs secure when doing hard, long casts with a heavy rig. To keep my eggs on my hook even more secure, I like to fasten my skein chunks onto my treble hook using spider thread. This trick not only makes your skein chunks stay on until you bait your hook again, but it keeps your hook in the centre of the skein chunk, which minimizes missed hook ups on short, subtle strikes.
Fishing skein chunks under a float for salmon is not rocket science, nor does it take a lot of skill to catch fish being given good conditions. However, you do need to be willing to change fishing spots and adjust presentations. When the fishing gets tough fish skein chunks closer to the bottom. Active salmon are willing to hit bright, suspended eggs, however there are times when natural eggs work better in clear water conditions. Another good tip is downsizing. Some days I have noticed that chunks almost half the size of what I normally use get more bites.
Conditions are tough now. Meanwhile, I have my fingers crossed for a major downpour and cold nights because once that happens the salmon bite in Ontario will pick back up. There are salmon in about every river and creek in the GTA from the Niagara River all the way to Kingston, but catching them has become more challenging due to the dry/warm conditions. Do not fret! There is still tons of salmon coming traditional fall conditions return. Can we all do a little rain dance!?
Play it safe out there. Remember to respect other anglers and give them their space on the water. Salmon season is definitely the busiest time of the year on our river systems.
Happy fishing! Bojangles
Editor’s Note: Bojangles spends all his free time targeting salmon, trout and steelhead in the GTA. To follow his adventures please visit https://www.instagram.com/angle_with_bojangles.