Once autumn arrives and smallmouth bass in Lake Erie start acting funky, veteran guide Frank Campbell turns his attention to the spawning runs of salmon coming from Lake Ontario.
King salmon are hot right now, and are swimming into the tributaries that feed Ontario. Campbell guides about halfway down from the famous Niagra falls and out to the mouth of the Niagara River where it dumps into Lake Ontario. A swift current and plenty of rocky bottoms for spawning salmon make it a gem for anglers looking for some action.
“It’s definitely salmon fishing from here on out,” Campbell said. “Then come the steelhead, lake trout, and brown trout. This is probably the prime time for king salmon right now.”
Campbell reccomends a natural bait with a little twist. “We’re catching them on salmon eggs treated with Pautzke’s Fire Cure, a brine cure,” he said. “Then drifting on three-way swivel rigs on the river, anywhere from 10 to 30 feet.”
Campbell tries to make drifts in stretches with some slack current. The brined egg sacs are typically red or orange, which match the forage but also offer some color for the kings to spot. So far, Campbell said it’s been a good season with several kings brought in weighing more than 30 pounds.