July 1 – September 15 (Summer Fishing)
Flip-flops and short sleeves, solid fishing and easy living, that’s summer fishing on Lake Erie, Lake Ontario, and the Niagara River. Many anglers hang up their fishing gear for the summer in favor of golf clubs and swimming pools – boy are they missing out!
The early summer fishing season is a transition period; fish are on the move to their summer ranges. The muskies are off the spawn and starting to feed more frequently as the water warms to their preferred temperatures. Both the Niagara River and a host of creeks and inland lakes provide solid opportunities to hook up with these apex predators.
There are no guarantees when it comes to musky fishing (save for a sore arm at the end of the day) but most days you can expect multiple encounters with these beasts whether it be fish in the net or close calls with knee-shaking follows to the boat. No matter how the day works out, a day spent floating beautiful creeks or probing structure in the gin clear waters of the Niagara River is well worth the time invested.
The smallmouth bass are transitioning at this time as well, moving to deeper water as the summer progresses. We continue to target these fish successfully throughout the summer in depths ranging from 8 – 25 feet of water. We use fast, full sinking lines to get crawfish and baitfish patterns in front of these deeper dwelling fish. However, poppers can still draw aggressive fish to surface like green missiles shooting up from the depths. We also use conventional tackle and bait to entice our quarry to bite. Hooking these fish in open water gives them plenty of real estate to work with resulting in some epic battles.
In addition to the bass and musky opportunities, the summer months also provide some quality trout fishing on the inland creeks. Starting in July, we see strong hatches of tricos on most of local streams that reliably bring trout to the surface every morning.
When the morning hatch winds down, we tie on terrestrials like beetles, ants and hoppers to keep the action going through the afternoon. Evenings can still be productive as well with spinnerfalls of Cahills, Potomanthus and Isonychia, though less reliable than evening spinnerfalls in the spring months.
The late summer fishing season brings cool nights and retreating water temps. This marks the beginning of some the best fishing we encounter all year. This is when the muskies begin to get particularly snappy and are more willing to move off the bottom to chase a fly.
At the same time, Chinook (King) Salmon are beginning to stack up around the mouths of Lake Ontario tributaries. Hooking salmon on the fly while their still silver and full of moxy is really something to behold. These giant hard-fighting fish will test your metal when they aggressively take your streamer and make blistering, drag-screaming runs for the middle of the lake.
We target these fish from boats with large streamers and sinking lines when they are staging to make their annual spawning run up the tributaries. Depending on stream temperatures, salmon may also be available in the tributaries at this time and can be taken with a well-placed streamer or egg fly.
If the salmon weren’t enough of a draw to this fantastic fishery, huge Lake Trout, Coho Salmon, Brown Trout and Steelhead can all be found near the trib mouths at this time as well, providing for a mixed bag and some of the most exciting fishing all year.
Give us a call to experience the best summer fishing the Buffalo Niagara Region has to offer!
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