November 17, 2023
Fishing and computing; what’s the widespread thread? Inputs and outputs.
For Lake Ontario’s walleye and northern pike fishing, what nature places into the lake drastically impacts what anglers take out of the lake.
“I feel it’s the vitamins pumping out of the bays and tributaries that appeal to the baitfish,” mentioned Capt. Larry Hammond, of Rochester, N.Y. “Wherever the baitfish are, that’s the place the predators shall be.
“The water warms up sooner in these shallows and round these tributaries than anyplace else on the lake. That pulls the baitfish in there and, in flip, will get the walleyes and the northerns in there.”
Marking his eighth constitution season, Hammond has fished the lake for over 40 years. Operating a 10-meter Trojan Worldwide out of Rochester’s Shumway Marina, Hammond mentioned his major fishing space exemplifies the water enter precept.
“Within the space I fish, we have now what we name The Rochester Basin; we have now two bays, three creeks and the Genesee River flowing into one large space,” he mentioned. “It gives deep water shut by with the nice and cozy water and tributaries for spawning grounds (for a number of species).
“There are ecosystems round each nook. That’s the cool factor about our lake.”
The Proper Neighborhoods
Specializing in trout and salmon, Hammond mentioned his walleye fishing has been a welcome bonus. You possibly can’t inform a fish to not eat, and some bycatch moments clued him in on one other Lake Ontario possibility.
“I began catching them by chance whereas trolling for the brown trout; they’re kinda roommates with the browns,” he mentioned. “The easiest way to focus on them is in low-light circumstances, so we search for stained water.
“That’s the important thing for anybody seeking to catch walleyes—to focus on areas across the mouths of the totally different bays and tributaries for coloured water. Often, there’s bait hiding in that coloured water and that’s the place the walleyes are going to be.”
He favors early Might within the lake after which the bays and rivers as soon as spring warms these inland waters into the mid 50s. All year long, his most well-liked depth vary is 5 to 40 ft.
“Walleye relate to any construction, like rock piles and the water consumption pipes all throughout the lake on the U.S. and Canadian aspect,” he mentioned. “When you use Navionics (mapping), you will discover these pipes; often within the 40- to 50-foot vary. There are large walleyes on these issues all yr lengthy.”
For his pike efforts, Hammond usually fishes nearer to the retailers into the primary lake. Right here, water dynamics can ignite fireworks.
“After we get a tough northeast wind, Lake Ontario flips and chilly water pushes in on the shore,” he mentioned. “Any bait faculties that the northerns are on will run into these retailers as a result of there’s a mixture of heat water and chilly water.
“Your greatest shot at a 20-pound northern is when the lake flips. With that heat water falling out of these bays and tributaries, they’ll be proper there and it’s cash.”
Noting that Lake Ontario’s burgeoning baitfish inhabitants has bolstered walleye and pike numbers, Hammond takes a match-the-hatch strategy to focusing on these feisty predators. His prime lures are the Berkley Flicker Minnow and the Berkley Flicker Shad—black/gold for overcast days and white for stained water.
For northern pike, he makes use of 10- to 12-pound Berkley Trilene XL monofilament fundamental line, with 14-pound Berkley Fireline chief. That superline, Hammond mentioned, not solely provides power, however the microfused Dyneema fibers typically ensnare the pike’s enamel.
A ten-pound Suffix monofilament fundamental line and an 8- to 10-pound fluorocarbon chief does the trick for walleye. For each fish, he usually runs between 1.5 and a pair of.7 mph and units his baits 75 ft again.
“I exploit aspect planers to unfold out the baits,” he mentioned. “Getting the baits away from the boat is important as a result of we have now such clear water.”
He’ll run six strains for walleye, however he finds 4 is best when trolling shallower, weedy waters for northern pike. To fight floating leaves, Hammond rigs a small plastic bead a number of ft above his bait.
“I’ll nearly all the time begin in entrance of a bay or a tributary and I’ll look of loons and another diving birds,” he mentioned. “They’ll give away the bait higher than something.
“Additionally, water coloration is essential. I need to discover pea inexperienced water. It could possibly be the dimensions of a soccer subject or a half mile, however there’ll all the time be a patch of inexperienced water someplace and the bait shall be there and the predators will comply with.”
Keepin’ It Enjoyable For All
Hammond mentioned an excellent day of fishing will yield 15 to twenty strikes. Whereas he charges walleye and pike excessive on the desk fare scale, he’s not a fan of cleansing the latter, because of the tough bone construction. Nonetheless, this species’ aggressive nature justifies the angling effort.
“The northern is my favourite strike of all,” he mentioned. “They’re a violent and highly effective fish. With a walleye, the rod will simply load up.”
When he’s not working charters, Hammond spends his weekdays within the classroom. A sixth-grade trainer at Rochester’s Andrew J. Townson Faculty No. 39, he relates nicely to youngsters and places a number of effort into making his boat a spot of studying an enjoyment.
Received a query on lake ecology? Capt. Larry’s completely satisfied to elucidate the when, the place and why of Lake Ontario fishing. Wish to learn the way he units up his trolling unfold? Lean in and he’ll be completely satisfied to share the small print. (Anglers younger and previous are welcome within the academic conversations.)
After which there’s the humorous photographs.
“When a child catches a fish, I’ve stick-on mustaches, so I placed on on the child and take photos for (social media),” he mentioned. “I even have a prize field for trivia contests throughout journeys.
“We love taking youngsters fishing as a result of they’re the way forward for our sport.”
Captain Larry Hammond