Salmon and trout like to hang out on the edges, that’s their kind of structure since there are no docks, stumps or other physical structures to attract them, announced Capt. Matt Yablonsky, a widely recognized member of the top-shelf brotherhood of full-time Lake Ontario fishing guides.
Yablonsky went on to explain that for the most part, the crystal clear and deeper than deep waters of Lake Ontario, the primary outlet of the Great Lakes chain, is full of edges that the salmon and trout like such as current edges, temperature breaks, water densities and more, all having to do with measurable differences in the water itself.
Find the edges and you’ll find fish and simple as it sounds it is a good rule to remember, he said.
He was almost done with tackle and gear checks, the nipping of various pieces of damaged fishing line and suspect knots, and the best-guess switching of lures to the brightest and flashiest in his arsenal of spoons.
All that and generally preparing mind and matter for a few hours of off-shore trolling.
Why the brightest of lures he was asked? Because he said, it’s cloudless and bright on this day, not cloudy or overcast. And after a whole lot of long seasons in the challenging business of putting anxious anglers and tackle-busting big water game fish on their respective ends of a rod and reel, he ought to know.
That’s the golden rule, give them what they want, he said.
Finally, he stowed extra rods and put assorted stuff in its place and announced we would untie and shove off just as soon as all was in order, adding that we should expect to be rudely bounced around out on the open waters since the wind was out of the northeast, the least friendly of all directions.
But first, there’s always another question — why Wilson? Why not the mouth of the Niagara? Why not the port of Olcott? Why not Point Breeze to the east or even further?
Because, he explained, right now is about the end of the spring transition and the beginning of the salmon and trout migration to the east, to deeper, colder water.
Earlier, during March and April, masses of alewives are attracted to the mouth of the Niagara because it’s the only water even slightly warmer than that of the open lake. Simply put, a rich supply of alewives to a 24/7 hungry Chinook salmon is akin to a well-stocked, all-you-can-eat buffet to a 16-year-old high school left tackle.
So early on in the season the bigger sport fish are pretty much stacked in the waters near the river and off the Port of Wilson which is just around the corner.
But now the move east to cooler water, better edges, and better forage is on. Next week it might be Olcott. Or maybe not. Only the fish know.
Yablonsky is a fish chaser. He goes after them and seeks them out, and he catches them. That’s why he books far more charters than most captains even think about.
In the winter, he’s found up the river, day after day, morning and evening. Then it’s out on the Niagara Bar, an underwater mountain of dirt that has spilled over the falls and been spit out of the river over the last several hundred years.
Right now it’s here, and in just a few days, he’ll be pulling Lake Erie walleye lures in the shadows of the Buffalo skyline.
Late in the summer and right into the fall, he’ll be back on the big lake. It never stops for this busy guide, and Yablonsky hopes it never will. After all, it’s a demanding and full-time career that he wouldn’t trade for anything.
But enough chatter. Now we are out in the open water, looking, watching and exploring the depths for those fish-holding edges. And oh yes, when it happens it’s exciting.
It may not go 30 pounds like it might in the fall, but even a teenage Chinook is a beast when it comes to being uncooperative.
Yes, salmon fishing with a guy who knows the game, on a lake that holds the prize, is well worth the price of admission.
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