Hi everyone! Some timely tactics for spring trout in north shore rivers of Southern Ontario having spent some 35+ years chasing rainbows in Southern Ontario I have learned a few things , that I’d be willing to share.
Lets start with equipment, a good rod is invaluable, a number of rods are excellent, Streamside make a great rod for beginners and experts alike, the Streamside Vortex, X-Stream and the Tranquility rods range in length from 9 to 15 feet in length, 13 is my choice, paired with a good spinning reel or centerpin reel, I favour a centerpin, some good quality line, a handful of good floats, some 4 to 6lb floro leader line, good quality hooks and some splitshot, your all ready to go … almost.. waders or hipsters are widely used, a vest or trout pack to hold the tackle required and maybe some fingerless gloves, cleats for icy areas, baits: this can be pretty daunting, as a lot of things can and will catch steelhead, steelhead are curious by nature and will mouth a bunch of different things coming down the river or in the lakes, red worms, hellgrammites, spawn is hands down the number 1 trout bait, with all kinds working, rainbow, brown, salmon eggs all work well, the fresher the better, cured eggs will last longer and be just as effective when cured properly, my favourite is Borax, simple to use as well, clean the eggs completely, lightly pat dry and sit for about an hour in paper towel, sprinkle onto eggs and roll or mix the powder in well, for skien eggs either rub all the eggs from the membrane or break into chunks and sprinkle the borax throughout, you can either shake some of the borax off or leave it on, refrigerate, make roe bags according to the conditions you will be fishing, dirty water large bags, clearing water medium bags and tiny little bags for clear water, mesh color can make a huge difference in your outing as well, chartreuse, white, peach, yellow, pinks, all have there time to shine the hottest artificials right now are beads, there are a number of great beads on the market, Creek Candy Bead Company, with more colors than I can count work really well, Streamside also has great beads, flies always work, some days better than others, woolly buggers, egg sucking leaches, spring wigglers, etc so many different patterns work well, plastics, pink worms and other colours, plastic egg imitations, little bugs etc, a number of great fishermen still use fat yarn as well, still works wonders on certain days, hardware : spinners, flatfish, quickfish, small crankbaits, crickhoppers, spoons all catch fish as well, note if approaching a spot that people are drifting baits under floats, don’t start casting spinners and spoons through the area, you will get into an argument or worse, use etiquette, my typical set up is : my float secured with tubing, a couple splitshot to cock the float, small barrel swivel, 2ft of floro, small number 12 or 14 hook, adjust leader length to suit need, bead either threaded on the line or banded onto your line and a roe bag, or fly or worm etc. steelhead will take up a variety of positions in a system, long slow pools are a favourite, riffles and shallow runs in dirtier water, behind obstructions in the rivers, in log jams and undercut banks on bends, all are worth checking lake fishing off piers or outcroppings and river mouths, a 9 to 13 ft rod is optimal, 6 to 8 lb mono and a 4 to 6lb leader, use an egg or pyramid sinker, 12 to 18inches of leader line, a 10 to 12 size hook, a floating roe bag, and cast the rig out, let settle and slowly tighten up to just load the rod tip, or use a bite detector, settle in and watch while shooting the breeze with friends, can also drift under floats with spawn or flies around the edges of break walls, and piers, there are so many variables that I have barely touched the surface but it is a starting point, as with any type of fishing nothing is set in stone, some days you can do nothing right, next time you can do nothing wrong, catch your limit /limit your catch, don’t strip eggs out of ripe fish and release it back as most times you will damage internal organs and inadvertently kill the fish, our fishery is supplemented with stocked fish, with many naturals being the mainstay of the fishery, limit for rainbows is 2 fish on Lake Ontario and it’s tributaries.
Hope you find this somewhat helpful , get out there and enjoy the outdoors ,have fun in your pursuits , practice catch and release take a quick picture and let them go, let them grow !!!