Pickerel fishing in Lake Ontario can be a rewarding experience, as the lake offers a variety of fishing opportunities for anglers. However, there are a few key things to keep in mind when targeting pickerel (also known as walleye) in Lake Ontario:
Season and Regulations: Check the current fishing regulations for Lake Ontario, including the open season for pickerel. Regulations may change from year to year, so it’s essential to stay up-to-date to ensure you’re fishing legally.
Fishing License: Make sure you have the appropriate fishing license for the area you plan to fish in. Fishing licenses are typically required for both residents and non-residents.
Equipment: Use the right fishing equipment for pickerel, including medium to medium-heavy spinning or baitcasting rods, and reels with 6-10 lb test monofilament or fluorocarbon fishing line. Pickerel have sharp teeth, so you may want to use a steel leader to prevent bite-offs.
Bait and Lures: Pickerel are known for their preference for live bait, such as minnows or nightcrawlers. However, they can also be caught using artificial lures like jigs, crankbaits, and soft plastics. Experiment with different colors and sizes to see what works best on a given day.
Location: Pickerel can be found in various parts of Lake Ontario, including near rocky points, drop-offs, and weed beds. They are often found in deeper water during the day and move shallower during dawn and dusk. Use a depth finder to locate them.
Time of Day: Pickerel are most active during low-light conditions, such as early morning and late evening. Plan your fishing trips accordingly for better chances of success.
Techniques: Techniques like trolling, casting, or vertical jigging can be effective for pickerel in Lake Ontario. Adjust your approach based on the time of day, water temperature, and the behavior of the fish.
Catch and Release: If you’re not planning to keep your catch, practice catch and release to help conserve the pickerel population. Use proper handling techniques to ensure the fish’s survival after release.
Weather Conditions: Pay attention to weather patterns and conditions. Pickerel tend to be more active when there is some cloud cover or light rain.
Safety: Always prioritize safety when fishing on Lake Ontario. Ensure you have life jackets, proper navigation equipment, and are aware of the current weather conditions and potential hazards.
Remember that fishing conditions can change, so it’s a good idea to check with local bait shops or fishing forums for the latest tips and reports on pickerel fishing in Lake Ontario. Additionally, respecting the environment and practicing ethical fishing is essential for the conservation of this popular game fish.