Your resource for fishing the rivers of Southern Ontario

Fishing For Ontario Salmon

Most of Lake Ontario, Lake Huron, and Georgain Bay rivers get runs of big salmon which means anglers fishing for Ontario salmon can do very well. Salmon fishing in Ontario usually takes place in late August through to Late October and peaks after the first big rains in September.



Chinook Salmon is the most common of the four salmon species in Ontario rivers. Chinooks are the most sought after salmon because of there large size and large numbers.  Chinook salmon is also know as King Salmon or Kings.

They’re an introduced species in all the great lakes and run up the rivers as early as July but fishing is usually best from mid September to early October. These Chinooks can get up to 40 pounds but average between 20 and 25lbs on some rivers and sometimes feel like you’ve hooked a boat when you get them on. Some days it’s not uncommon for a few thousand salmon to enter the rivers giving anglers some spectacular fishing.


 A Perfect Drift Guide Company guides for these salmon starting in early August if the salmon are in. Fresh early salmon that are straight in from the lake are silver, acrobatic and one of the hardest pulling fish in Ontario. After they stay in the river for a week or two they take on darker spawning colors, hooked jaws and can grow some large dog like teeth.

Although it’s been said for many years that once they enter the rivers they stop eating, but new research on great lakes salmon has proven what I’ve been saying for years, and that is they do eat during the spawn. Even though they may not eat out of hunger it could be just out of instinct or aggression. What ever the reason they eat, I’ve seen 30lb salmon swim half way across the pool to smash a fly or a roe bag and had them hit a spinners, spoon and minnow lures with hard aggressive and deliberate strikes. I’ve even had them rise to the surface and inhale my float.

For more information on Great Lakes Chinook salmon check this link. HERE

Hard fighting, acrobatic and lots of salmon keep guys coming back for more. To beat the crowds try fishing mid week or take a river boat guided trip through less pressured water.


Other Ontario Salmon: Ontario also has Coho Salmon, Pink salmon and Atlantic salmon but there are in smaller numbers.

Gear for catching great lakes salmon: I leave the gear advice for the guys that sell it. For all you river needs check out Bass Pro shops and FishUSA and FishHeads Canada. The guys that run these stores know rivers and can help anglers get exactly what they need.

When fishing for Ontario salmon anglers use can use multiple methods for catching river salmon.


Fly fishing for Ontario Salmon can be one of the most fun and productive ways to catch these great fish. Some anglers choose to use indicators and nymph for them the same way they do with steelhead.

Spey fishing or swinging flies in front of salmon can be very productive and very rewarding. A new thing anglers are starting to do is Euro style fishing for salmon and this method is also very productive. The guides at A Perfect Drift Company specialize in all of these methods.

Fly Fishing for Ontario Salmon


Centerpin Fishing : Salmon anglers in Ontario centerpin for salmon the same way they centerpin for steelhead. For More information click HERE

Spin Fishing : Spin fishing for great lakes salmon consists of lures, bait and float fishing

When spin fishing some anglers prefer to throw lures like flatfish, kwikfish, spinners or minnow style lures like Rapalas. The guides at A Perfect Drift Guide Company say their favorite and often most productive spin fishing method is to cast Mepps, Vibrax or Panther Martin spinners across and slightly down river reeling only fast enough to keep the blades spinning while trying to keep the lures two to three feet off the bottom. If a strike doesn’t happen on the first cast they try a faster retrieve and or a more erratic stop and go type retrieve to entice a strike. If that doesn’t produce they cast 3 to 5 feet down river and repeat until they have success.

This method can be used with most lures. Sometimes changing colors and lures can be the key to triggering the salmon to strike. The strikes are usually aggressive so be prepared. Note: It is illegal and un ethical to purposely snag salmon in Ontario.

A 9 to 11 foot medium action rod is a good choice for throwing lures. Check out Drift Outfitters or Fishheads Canada for river rods.

Some anglers also drift roe, worms, minnows, plastic baits, artificial flies and small marshmallows underneath steelhead floats which can all be very productive.

Bottom bouncing is another method that works providing the angler is good enough to detect strikes. This takes practice but if you get good at it, it can produce a lot of fish.

Double header days and days of 50 to 100 hook ups are possible. It’s not uncommon to do a trip with the guides from A Perfect Drift Guide Company and see over 50 Salmon a day.

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Also, if you’re not sure what you need, check out our Best Products page to see what the guides use and recommend.