Ontario Steelhead Anglers Finding Surf Fishing Action

By: Bojan Zivkovic

With the trout opener still a few weeks away I started off my late winter/early spring steelhead season by surf fishing and have found willing steelhead. Plunking Lake Ontario and Georgian Bay beaches and river mouths using big spawn sacs with fresh steelhead skein cured with Orange Fire Cure has been the hot ticket.

In early spring many beaches and river mouths on Lake Ontario and in Georgian Bay harboured good numbers of staging steelhead. These fish are patiently waiting for rain and warmer water prior to migrating up tributaries. Before spring rains and warm weather temperatures arrive surf fishing for steelhead throughout the Great Lakes is a great way to take a break from the rivers and still have great action without having to break your arm all day throwing lures or casting a float.


To surf fish properly I recommend to following gear:

*10-12 foot (4-8lb test rated) rod

*Size 3000-4000 spinning reel

*8-pound monofilament main line

*5-6-pound fluorocarbon leader line

*Micro barrel swivels

*Size 6-8 hooks

*1/2oz – 2oz sliding sinkers

*A vertical beach-style rod holder

*Fresh scraped and cured skein tied into floating spawn sacks


While surf fishing, fresh or frozen scraped skein that has been well taken care of is crucial. As mentioned prior I cure my skein in Orange Fire Cure and tie the eggs in bags. For surf fishing I tie quarter-size sacks. Staging steelhead see little to no pressure. They usually are willing to bite when the water conditions are right. To improve my chances I tie spawn sacks in bright colours like pink and chartreuse. This gets lethargic steelhead more interested in my presentation. I like to keep my fluorocarbon leader length between 14-30 inches when fishing the surf or the bait will be sitting too high above the fish since they are generally right on bottom. Don’t forget to check your bait and presentation almost every half hour if you aren’t getting any action. Fresh bait is always key.


For anglers who like to keep fish for the table the surf is a great place to continue catching an abundance of smaller fish that come in to feed and not spawn once the main run has gone up river. The surf bite slowly starts to expire in May forcing anglers to transition back into float fishing the rivers to continue getting bit.


Trout opener in Southern Ontario is just weeks away. Although our weather hasn’t been the most stable the past month we are definitely on the right track. I see a great fish-filled spring season ahead.


Editor’s Note: For more info on Bojan Zivkovic and his Ontario fishing adventures and seminars please visit https://www.facebook.com/anglewithbojangles.