Ontario Rainbow Trout Fishing

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 be 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. The true resident river rainbow trout is one that doesn’t migrate to an ocean or lake as a steelhead rainbow trout does.

Instead, 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 a steelhead will often be much more silver with fewer spots and less coloring unless they are in the middle of spawning.

An Ontario rainbow trout
Ontario Rainbow Trout

Most river rainbows are escapes from trout ponds or trout farms or are stocked into lakes and I don’t think much natural reproduction takes place with these 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 guided 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 could be 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 which can provide anglers the opportunity to catch them on multiple methods including dry fly fishing.

These summer steelhead 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.

Best Time For Ontario Rainbow Trout Fishing

Almost all Ontario rainbow trout fishing takes place during the Ontario trout season which is from the last Saturday in April until the last day in September.

During the non-trout season, there are plenty of opportunities for anglers to fish for migratory 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 angler 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 is 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.

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, The stonefly.

Popular streamers for Ontario rainbow trout is 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 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 raonbow trout. I use floats to drift and present a bait or a fly, or I will use lures and jigs.

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 rapalas. 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 time 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. Now all floats are good for river fishing and not all baits are good for river fishing.

If you want to learn more about float fishing and other trout fishing topics, check out my page on All About Trout Fishing.

Centerpin Fishing For More Ontario Rainbow Trout

On larger rivers or when fishing for bigger ontario rainbow trout and steelhead 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.

In my opinion, a Centerpin reel is the best reel for float fishing because it allows the angler to make long smooth drifts. I have a page all about Centerpin And Float Fishing.

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