By: Bojan Zivkovic
Having seen quite a few floats drop thus far I can officially say salmon season has begun in harbors, rivers and creeks of Southwestern Ontario. We have seen a significant drop in temperatures and finally got a bit of rain, which brought in a wave of staging salmon that have been hovering the river mouths for a few weeks. Now that the water has finally cooled the skein bite has started to pick up.
This year’s salmon run definitely started much later then the past few years considering we had a hot and dry summer. Rivers are still low to this day, however the salmon are healthy. In fact, we’ve seen some large salmon, those bigger than 30 pounds. I’m expecting some huge fish this fall.
In the GTA decent numbers have started to show in the Humber River, Credit River and Bronte Creek. All of the tributaries east of the city such as the Ganaraska River, Wilmot Creek and Oshawa Creek also have fish. In addition the Niagara River and Port Dalhousie are beginning to see more and more fish as the temperatures drop. Even north along Georgian Bay, the Beaver, Bighead and Nottawasaga River have seen a few pushes of fish. Cold temperatures and precipitation will bring more fish in.
Besides casting lures off pier heads and in estuary water skein fishing is one of my favorite ways to target Chinook. There is something about slapping on a fist-sized glob of eggs onto your hook and watching your float get buried into the depths by an aggressive Chinook. Timing hooksets on sensitive, panfish-like hits is half the fun when skein fishing.
Lately I have been getting most of my Chinook skein fishing with a blend of Red Fire Cure and Pink BorX O’ Fire. My set up to catch these fish is a 13’6’’ (4-10lb) rod paired with an Islander reel. I’m using 10lb mono as a mainline and a 7.6lbs fluorocarbon leader. Fixed or slip floats in the 6-11g are a good size to use skein fishing. Remember to put on a few less split shot your float because a decent size skein chunk will weigh your float down. Size 2-4 hooks or circle hooks work well for skein fishing. Meanwhile, I prefer using size 2-6 treble hooks. The treble hooks help keep the skein chunks on the hook longer and the hook holds the eggs up to give them a better shape.
A good trick to hold your skein chunks on your hook much longer is to use Spider Thread. I simply place the skein on the hook and give the Spider Thread three quick wraps around the shank before I start to fasten the skein around and onto the shank of the hook to the shape I like. I think the Spider Thread trick not only secures your skein chunks better than an egg loop, but it saves the tension and breaking points in your leader line. If you fish places that require far casting, you definitely need to try this trick out!
The bite in the GTA area will pick up in the next few weeks with the rain and much cooler weather that is forecasted. There should be a good skein bite into the middle of October this year considering the full run hasn’t happened yet. Remember to play it safe out there and be respectful to other anglers since it can get busy on the water during salmon season. Don’t be shy about exploring water away from crowds, especially in the deeper pockets at this time of the year.
Editor’s Note: For more info on Bojangles and his Ontario fishing adventures and seminars please visit https://www.facebook.com/anglewithbojangles. To learn how to cure eggs for Ontario salmon please see his recent blog: https://www.pautzke.com/learn-how-to-cure-skein-ontario-style.