Ontario Trout Opener: 12 Tips For A Succesful Trout Opener

Ontario trout opener

Ontario Trout Opener – 4th Saturday In April

The Southern Ontario Trout Opener is the 4th Saturday in April. The Ontario Trout opener is the start of the trout fishing season for many anglers and it can be a great time to be on the water.

As a guide, I have specific strategies for fishing on the busy opening weekend. In this article, I will discuss some ideas, places, and tactics for a successful Ontario trout opener.

The Ontario trout opener is when the majority of rivers open up for the year and it is a time when the average angler has a shot at multiple big trout and steelhead. The Ontario trout opener is when there will be both trout and steelhead in the rivers and is when they will start feeding more.

Did you know? There are some rivers that DO NOT open until June 1st. Always check the official Ontario Fishing Regulations before you fish.

An angler steelhead fishing on the Trout Opener
Anglers have a great opportunity to get out fishing on the Ontario trout opener for steelhead on rivers that have been closed for 7 months.

Every opener is different due to river conditions. I’ve seen fresh snow on the ground, I’ve endured pouring rain, I’ve had to cancel steelhead trips and go find small clear trout streams, and I have had to deal with low clear water and high sun.

But, despite all the possible conditions anglers face in Ontario, I haven’t missed an opening weekend in 30 years.

So let’s get started.

Tip 1 – Check The Ontario Fishing Regulations

Some rivers don’t actually open on opening day or they will have sections that may remain closed for another 2 to 6 weeks to protect vulnerable spawning fish.

Some rivers will also have special regulations that prevent anglers from using live bait, or may require barbless hooks, are they may have a catch and release only section on certain species or all species.

Once you decide on the river or rivers that you want to fish you should go to the Ontario Fishing Regulations for this year and look in the section called exceptions.

Any river that has any special rules should be listed in this section. The rivers and lakes are listed in alphabetical order so scroll down and find the river you want to fish and see if there is anything you need to know.

If you can not find the river you want to fish in these sections then is very likely that there are no special rules and that it is open and closed with the standard open closed seasons and that the catch and keep limits are the standard limits.

Tip 2 – Determine What Fish You Want To Fish For

Guide Graham with a large 26 inch brown trout.
Guide Graham with a large 26-inch brown trout.

The Ontario Trout Opener means you can go fish for steelhead, brown trout, and brook trout on most rivers in Southern Ontario. Depending on the fish you want to fish for you will need to gear up for that fish and determine the best river.

If you are not sure where to fish and what you need to fish for trout or steelhead in Ontario look it up on this website or online on other websites.

Tip 3 – Gear Up For The Ontario Trout Opener 2022

Guide Mike netting a client’s steelhead.

– Make sure your gear is in good working order and that you have everything that you need for success.

If you use the wrong gear you will limit your success and maybe even catch nothing at all.

When I see anglers on the river using certain gear, especially the wrong gear, 99% of the time I can guess whether or not they are catching any fish. Having the right gear will greatly help you catch more fish.

Get geared up properly or see what you are missing in your fly fishing gear with the advice from a pro guide on my page Fly Fishing Gear For Beginners: Everything You Need

Get advice on waders, boots, jackets, packs, and more on my newest website at River Fishing Gear: Everything You Need To Succeed – see that at www.troutandsteelhead.net

Things To Avoid:

As a guide, I know that tangles are sometimes part of the day.

Red and white bobbers suck. I love guys that use red and white bobbers on the river because they leave a lot of fish for me and my clients, and they don’t even realize it. Thanks guys 🙂

You need to use only floats that are designed for river fishing – 5 Best Centerpin Floats For 2022 – see that at www.troutandsteelhead.net

Use the right weights – Giant split shot weights, bell sinkers and other weights won’t work well. Use the right-sized weights and set them up properly and you will catch more fish. 2 Float Fishing Leader Setups From A Pro River Guide and 3 Best Nymphing Leader Setups – Guide Secrets For More Trout – see that at www.troutandsteelhead.net

Give Space And Respect – Give other anglers their space so you don’t end up tangling with them or spooking their fish and ruining their day.

Tip 4 – Pick Your River Wisely

One of my clients fishing a local trout and steelhead stream.

There are hundreds of options for river fishing in Ontario. Some rivers will be packed and some won’t. Pick and choose your river wisely. If you know a river is normally popular it’s going to be 10 times busier on the Ontario trout opener so you may want to avoid it.

If you need some ideas of where to fish in Ontario consider these pages at Ontario’s Best Trout and Steelhead Rivers

Tip 5 – Have A Backup Plan

One of my clients fishing a river that I know stays clear when other rivers get muddy.

You will want a backup plan in case your first choice of river or access spot is closed due to Covid-19 or some other reason. The river might even be high and dirty or have 10,000 guys there.

There are many rivers to choose from so a backup plan is a great idea.

Tip 6 – Use A Map And Pre-Scout

I know some secret spots many anglers don’t ever fish.

In the old days, I would drive from bridge to bridge to see if there were any no-trespassing signs and to see if spots were able to be accessed for fishing. I would do this on large and small rivers and creeks and I found some really good fishing spots this way.

It makes sense to do this before the Ontario trout opener so you have multiple places that you can try.

Tip 7 – Determine Your Best Method Of Fishing

One of my clients with a nice steelhead caught on a boat trip.

Determine which methods work for trout or steelhead fishing and then determine which method appeals to you the most.

The Ontario trout opener will see anglers casting lures with good success, some will be fly fishing using different methods like Nymphing or streamer fishing, or if the weather is warm enough maybe even some dry fly fishing.

Other anglers will be float fishing using Centerpin reels or spinning reels and under the right conditions, some will be using an effective method known as advanced bottom bouncing.

Tip 8 – Know How To Fish

I can’t stress enough the importance of knowing how to properly set up you rig and fishing it effectively.

There is a saying in the fly fishing world, and I believe it is 100% true: “10% of anglers catch 90% of the fish”.

I’m going to be honest here and say that the biggest reason that many anglers will go out to fish on the Ontario Trout Opener and don’t catch any fish is simply that they don’t know how to fish well.

They think they know-how, but they really don’t. Last year I heard a lot of anglers catch no fish or only a couple of fish on the opening weekend of trout and then I heard others tell me that they caught more fish than they ever have. Why? Knowledge, and a little bit of luck.

For info on how to fish better consider these pages written a 20-year veteran guide, yes, that’s me.

Tip 9 – Get Tips To Improve Your Skills

One of my river guides teaching fly fishing methods for steelhead on one of the best steelhead rivers in Ontario.

Study the method of fishing that you want to do. Find a mentor, watch what the other good anglers are doing, and do the opposite of what the guys who aren’t catching any fish are doing.

Also, hire a guide. You would be surprised how many times I’ve heard guys tell me that they catch 10 times more fish after a single trip out with me or one of my guides at A Perfect Drift Guide Company

Take a lesson from a pro, I have classes running every year that you could join for cheap.

Tip 10 – Know Your Fish

One of my clients with one of may he and his father landed on a guide trip with me.

Steelhead, as an example, will be in 4 different stages on the Ontario Trout Opener.

Some steelhead will be still running up the river to spawn while some might be out in the lake and waiting to run.

Some steelhead will be up on the shallow spawning beds spawning, some will be slowly working their way back to the lake, some will be held up in the deeper pools until a big rain allows them to escape the rivers safely, and some will already have spawned and left the river and are now out in the lake recovering.

The resident fish might be cold and holding deep, or it could be warmer than normal spring and they could be more aggressive and feeding on dry flies on the surface.

Have a game plan and be prepared for what the fish are doing.

Tip 11 -Don’t Lose

I use my net to pick up garbage. Over the years, I have probably removed the equivalent of 100 black garbage bags, shower, a little at a time, is effortless.

Some municipalities want to prevent fishing off piers or in towns, and some are now charging fees to fish because of the garbage on the river and in the parking lots.

Every year, we lose more fishing access spots, both on public lands and on private lands, because a-holes bring in their full coffee cups, full beer cans, and other garbage and can’t be bothered to take it with them.

You’re there, so you obviously like that spot, You’re just too stupid to realize you’re ruining it for yourself, too. How dumb can you be? And, you may not realize this but all the other anglers that fish there think you’re a dick. So just stop.

Every landowner I’ve talked to over the last 36 years, and that’s a lot of landowners, all tell me that they don’t hate fishermen because many of them fish themselves, they just hate the garbage left in their backyards by the idiots. HAVE SOME RESPECT GUYS!

For you good smart anglers that want to save your spots, your net makes a great way to carry out the garbage from those few lazy morons. I do this regularly, and soon, most of my favorite spots become garbage-free.

12. BONUS TIP – Know What Bait To Use

If they want eggs and you use spoons you may be out of luck, be prepared and have enough of the good baits that you will surely have what they want.

And if you think you can just go to your cupboard and grab that can of corn and go catch some trout, dude, just stay home because you aren’t going to catch anything anyways.

Bonus TIP – Your Bait Is Only as Good As Your Hook And Leader

Sure, you have a great bait on the line but your leader line is so thick every fish sees it and won’t bite your bait. Or you have a dime-sized roe bag on a size 1 hook that is so big it drags your bait to the bottom and none of those big smart trout will touch it.

It’s not rocket science, but if you would like to catch more fish and would like my advice, check out these two pages.

I hope that helps you have the best Ontario trout opener you have ever had.


Similar Posts