Ontario Rainbow Trout Fishing: A Top River Guides Advice
As a top Ontario river fishing guide, I teach the best methods for Ontario rainbow trout fishing. These methods include using the right equipment, the right baits, and knowing where to go to experience the best Ontario rainbow trout fishing.
Ontario rainbow trout fishing is a little confusing for many anglers because we have two types of rainbow trout in Ontario. Ontario rainbow trout fishing could mean fishing for river rainbow trout which we also call resident rainbow trout, or it could mean fishing for migratory rainbow trout which are also known as steelhead.
Ontario Rainbow Trout: Finding a true river rainbow trout or what they also call a resident rainbow is very difficult to do in Ontario simply because there are not many of them.
A true resident river rainbow trout is one that doesn’t migrate to an ocean or lake as a steelhead rainbow trout does.
A resident river rainbow trout lives its entire life in the river it was born in. Resident rainbows often take on nice colors and big spots whereas their migrating cousin the steelhead will often be much more silver with fewer spots and less coloring unless they are in the middle of spawning.
Most resident river rainbows are escapes from trout ponds or trout farms or are stocked into lakes and rivers. I don’t think much natural reproduction takes place with these stocked fish.
Also, in most rivers, it is suspected that resident rainbows eventually spawn with or get mixed in with the steelhead strains and eventually disappear or start to migrate. This is why it’s so hard to find non-migratory resident rainbow trout in Ontario.
There are only a few areas above waterfalls or other obstructions where resident rainbows do exist without mixing in with steelhead populations.
A Perfect Drift Guide Company does guide trips for resident rainbow trout on a couple of rivers in Southern Ontario.
On a side note, there are opportunities for some large resident rainbow trout that may actually be steelhead in some rivers all summer. These are steelhead that get stuck in some of the smaller rivers all summer and if they remain there for long enough they start to feed and act like resident rainbow trout.
This can provide anglers the opportunity to catch them on multiple methods including dry fly fishing.
These summer steelheads are hard to find but with some summer scouting and some luck, you may be able to get into some nice mid-summer rainbow trout. The guides at A Perfect Drift Guide Company have done summer steelhead trips and there are times when they can find 20 or 30 summer steelhead for their clients.
Best Time For Ontario Rainbow Trout Fishing
Almost all Ontario rainbow trout fishing takes place during the Ontario trout season which is from the 4th Saturday in April until the last day in September. (check the fishing regulations to be sure)
During the non-trout season, there are plenty of opportunities for anglers to fish for migratory rainbow trout and some opportunities for resident Ontario rainbow trout.
Check the Ontario Fishing Regulations to find out more about extended trout fishing.
Best Methods To Catch Ontario Rainbow Trout
Like other trout species that live in our Ontario rivers, Ontario rainbow trout fishing is best done using these three methods, fly fishing, spin fishing, and Centerpin fishing.
All three of these methods can be very productive if you know where to look for rainbow trout, if you know what to use, and if you are good at the method that you choose to use.
As a guide, I teach these methods and I honestly believe that most anglers struggle to catch trout simply because they don’t know the best ways to do it.
Fly Fishing For Rainbow Trout In Ontario
Fly fishing for rainbow trout in Ontario is one of the most popular ways that anglers target these fish. As a top river guide, I spend many days guiding with fly rods.
When fly fishing for Ontario rainbow trout you want to use:
- Fly Rods – 3 to 5 weight rods are best
- Fly Reels – Get a decent one that has a good disc drag system
- Fly Lines – Floating fly line and usually weight forward lines are best in our trout rivers.
- Leaders – 9 to 11-foot tapered leaders are best.
- Tippets – Use light tippets in diameter sizes around 0.12mm to 0.18mm
- Flies – Dry flies, Nymphs, Wet Flies and Streamer flies all work. See more below.
Not sure what to use or if you have all the right gear for fly fishing in Ontario, check out my page Fly Fishing Gear For Beginners: Everything You Need
Rainbow trout are great fun on all kinds of flies and can be caught using all the fly fishing methods.
Many anglers love to fish for these fish on the surface which is called dry fly fishing. Some of the best flies for surface fishing for Ontario rainbow trout are, The Royal Coachman, the Elk Hair Caddis, The Black Beetle, The Humpy, and The Adams. Usually a size 12 to 16 fly will do the job.
The most productive method is nymphing which is when you drift your fly below the surface and you imitate small aquatic insects called nymphs. The best nymphs for Ontario rainbow trout fishing are the Pheasant tail nymph, the Hares Ear nymph, the Prince nymph, the Frenchie, and the stonefly.
If you plan on nymphing and want to catch more trout make sure you know what you are doing. These pages of mine will help you catch more trout when fly fishing.
- Fly Fishing – 11 Best Guide Tips To Catch More Fish
- 2 Float Fishing Leader Setups From A Pro River Guide
- 2 Fly SetUp For Nymphs: How to Set It Up And Fish It Better
- What Are The Best Indicators For Fly Fishing? Guides Advice
- 5 Best Flies For Steelhead – An Expert Guides Advice
Popular streamers for Ontario rainbow trout are the Mickey Fin, the Muddler Minnow, the Bunny Leach, and my all-time favorite the Woolly Bugger. Streamers in the 1.5″ to 3.5-inch sizes are usually best.
Stripping streamers across a pool is a great way to get the bigger more aggressive rainbow trout. For more detailed information visit my guide website page Streamer Fishing In Ontario
For lots of great information to boost your skills with fly fishing can be found on my TroutandSteelhead blog
Spin Fishing For Ontario Rainbow Trout
Ontario rainbow trout fishing with spinning reels is very popular. There are two ways that I spin fish for rainbow trout. I use floats to drift and present a bait or a fly, or I will use lures and jigs. Check out my page Best Trout Bait – The Only 5 Baits You Will Ever Need
Lure fishing can be a lot of fun. My favorite lures for Ontario rainbow trout are size 1 to 3 spinners, spoons, and minnow-type lures like Rapala’s. Just make sure you know how to use them and what the right sizes are for trout. I have a blog post on my best lure for trout and some tips to catch 10 times more trout. Go to my page Lure Fishing For Trout: Tactics From A Pro River Guide.
The other method that can work really well with Ontario Rainbow trout is to float fish for them. This means drifting some sort of bait below a float. Not all floats are good for river fishing and not all baits are good for river fishing so check out my page 5 Best Floats For 2021 and check out 2 Float Fishing Leader Setups From A Pro River Guide.
If you want to learn more about float fishing and other trout fishing topics, check out my page on All About Trout Fishing.
A very effective method for river fishing for trout and steelhead in shallow water or in pocket water is my advanced bottom bouncing method. Check out my page Bottom Bouncing – 5 Proven Guide Tips For More Fish
Centerpin Fishing For More Ontario Rainbow Trout
On larger rivers, a very popular method of fishing is called Centerpin Fishing. Centerpin fishing is also known as float fishing except that it uses a special round reel called a Centerpin reel. Centerpin fishing for Ontario rainbow trout can be done on rivers that are 3 feet deep or more and it can be very effective.
In my opinion, a Centerpin reel is the best reel for float fishing because it allows the angler to make long smooth drifts. Centerpin fishing is almost always the most productive method for catching steelhead too.
I have a page all about Centerpin And Float Fishing. Other great pages of mine are
The Right Gear For Fishing Trout In Ontario
Using the right gear can make all the difference. The right gear can keep you dry and comfortable and organized. The right gear can also help you catch more trout and steelhead in Ontario.
This is a list of all the river fishing gear that I recommend for river fishing in Ontario. Check out my page River Fishing Gear: Everything You Need To Succeed In 2021
Thank you for reading my page about Ontario Rainbow trout fishing. I hope hit helps.