Southern Ontario Steelhead Fishing

Southern Ontario Steelhead Fishing

Southern Ontario Steelhead Fishing

by March 31, 2011

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On March 30th, 2011, I had the opportunity to accompany a few friends out on a spring steelhead trip. We were fishing rivers in southern Ontario looking for rainbows moving up the rivers out of Lake Ontario on their spring spawn run. I’d never been float fishing, so this was a great opportunity for me to try something new and see if I liked it. As I’m a bass angler, center pin reel fishing is completely alien to me.

I was accompanied by my friend and guide, Anes, and his friend Mark. Both are seasoned center pin anglers. Our plan was to fish some pools that had been fruitful in the past and were producing great fish in recent days. My personal agenda was to absorb the mechanics of center pin reel fishing and to see what all the fuss was about.

When I had first asked to go out with Anes he had told me,

Once you try it you’ll be completely addicted”

I had no idea how addicted it could really get…

When we arrived at the river I was introduced to the reel and rod. I used a 13-ft Raven IM6 rod and a spinning reel 2500 size. I’m used to fishing with 7-ft bass rods, and was instantly getting the rod caught in the trees above. It definitely takes some getting used to.

I was shown the basics of float fishing and how to properly present the bait to the steelhead. We used bags of tied roe as well as pink worms. The tying and curing of the roe is also something of an art. Anes noted that you definitely do not want to be tying bags of roe on the banks of the river. If you do, it will give other anglers opportunity to move in on your pool. Anes, my guide also gave me a quick crash course on river etiquette and float fishing equipment.

As we fished the different pools I had the pleasure of seeing Anes and Mark catch several good sized steelhead. From my experience that day, I have some key take aways that I want to share with anyone interested in getting out to try this type of fishing:

1. Go with someone who knows how to center pin reel fish and who is willing to invest the time to teach you how

2. Learn the etiquette and respect the “rules”; You don`t want to alienate other anglers who you will most likely run into again

3. Your primary method of telling if you have a fish is sight; you will NOT feel your rod twitch; you have to be aware and focused on your float

4. Proper equipment such as waders, warm layers, good polarized glasses and a good rod and reel are a must if you want to be successful.

5.The current of the river and understanding how the eddy and flow behave will definitely improve your success rate.

Anes and Mark really wanted to have me catch a steelhead on my first time out and I did hook a great fish that really gave me a fight, but I lost the fish. However, I did catch the float fishing fever and I am definitely addicted! Next time I’m out hopefully I’ll be able to land a big hen or two!

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