Ashley with walleye

Why Lake Ontario is the land of fishy dreams

Today’s post comes from year-round multispecies angler and writer Ashley Rae of

There’s a certain magic about any day spent on the water.

For me, this is especially true when I set out on Lake Ontario. It is without a doubt one of my favourite bodies of water to fish.

It’s vast, beautiful, deep, and fun to figure out. Best of all? It grows some massive fish. What’s not to love?

Due to its size, the wind can pick up quickly on Lake O. Lake Ontario deserves our respect, and I appreciate any opportunity to get out there exploring.

Variety of species

Couple holds massive walleye
Photo: Daniel Notarianni

Some of my most memorable fishing experiences are connected to Lake Ontario.

I grew up in Napanee on the Bay of Quinte, which is situated on the north shore. I caught my first salmon, steelhead (migratory Rainbow Trout), and Brown Trout all while learning to fly fish on various Lake Ontario tributaries in the Greater Toronto Area.

I’ve seen some of the biggest Small-mouth Bass of my life while out on the lake and have caught some real beauties too.

This past spring, I caught my personal best Common Carp while shore fishing along the north shore. The fishing opportunities are endless and the rewards can be great.

Parks along Lake Ontario

Child fishing at Darlington

There are several provincial parks located directly along the shores of Lake Ontario:

Each one of these parks has unique fishing opportunities for new and experienced anglers alike. There is something for everyone from shore fishing to boating and other small watercraft opportunities

Newbie anglers can take park in the Learn to Fish program at Darlington. The program offers a two-hour, free, hands-on fishing lesson. Anglers will learn all of the basics needed to go fishing on their own.

Searching for Walleye

Man and woman hold two walleye
Photo: Daniel Notarianni

Of all the species in Ontario, Walleye has to be one of my favourites, and Lake Ontario is known for being home to some serious monsters.

Although many have winterized their boats already, there are still anglers out and about enjoying the late fall Walleye season into December.

Summer and early fall are great times to be out on the lake for Walleye. As the season progresses, the fish will migrate into the Bay of Quinte for the winter.

These fish will eventually spawn inside the bay during spring, with many heading back out to the lake after the spawning cycle is complete.

Ashley setting up a planer board
Photo: Daniel Notarianni

I’ve been fortunate to spend a quite a bit of time targeting Walleye this fall, and it’s been a memorable season.

At this time of year, trolling is a very effective way to cover water and locate actively feeding fish. Having a fish finder/sonar on your boat aids in locating fish, and displaying where they’re holding in the water column.

The Precision Trolling Data app is very useful in calculating lure-running depth for a wide variety of crankbaits on the market. Knowing the running depth allows you to experiment and then replicate upon finding success.

Walleye are feeding up in fall in preparation for winter, so they’re often found not too far from bait. Bait is often seen as large dense “clouds” on a sonar.

A popular tool for fall trolling is an inline planer board. These boards clip onto your line allowing you to run lures away from the boat where fish can be less leery. Planer boards also help you stay organized when running multiple lines.

If you haven’t yet been, you need to experience fishing out on Lake Ontario!