The fog at the mouth of the Credit River on Lake Ontario is starting to lift and we see a number of boats trolling for early morning chinook. It is the third week in August and the Great Ontario Salmon Derby is in full swing. The chatter on the VHF radio indicates the action is very slow, with only a couple of fish caught. Nick Foxcroft smiles and pushes the hammer down. The 42-foot salmon boat jumps to cruising speed and we quickly leave the shoreline behind. "Today we fish the Blue Zone," says Foxcroft.
Into the Blue
Foxcroft, who operates Moby Nick Fishing Charters, is confident. "The adult spawning chinook staging near the river will tolerate this warm water but the baitfish, rainbows, and other salmon prefer cooler water. This is why we’re making the big run," he says. Half an hour later the downriggers and planer boards are set. In 260 feet of water we are approximately 16 kilometres southeast of Port Credit and water temperatures have cooled dramatically. "Get ready," cautions Foxcroft.
Before we can decide who goes first, the port downrigger rod goes off and Stan Pilarczyk is into a rainbow. Another rod pops and James Moon is into a fish. Foxcroft nets the 5-pound rainbow, then Moon’s 6-pound chinook. When Foxcroft makes a turn back towards our hotspot, the rod on the planer board kicks and I’m into a fish. What I think is a rainbow turns out to be a healthy 7-pound coho. Three different species in fifteen minutes. What a start!
Giving Credit to Port Credit
Foxcroft speaks highly of the 16 charter operators out of the Port Credit area. "The captains are professionals who follow the movements of fish every day," he said, adding that that the boats offer great amenities, can handle variable weather conditions and usually have a first mate to help clients catch salmon. "We do everything possible to provide an enjoyable day on the water," he said.
I look around at our home for the day. There’s a washroom and two large sofas in a sitting area complement a galley with a microwave and refrigerator. I’m jolted from my observations when two rods are hit simultaneously. I take the nearest to me and laugh as my two friends lunge for the other rod. Two big chinook run towards Toronto. After about five minutes a 15- and 17-pounder are netted. It’s only noon and we’ve kept eight fish and released a few more. The fast action is no surprise to Foxcroft. "The fishing has been on fire. Overall this was the best season at Port Credit in the last ten years," Foxcroft notes.
Port Credit is less than half an hour west of Toronto and north of St. Catharines, with plenty of great accommodation options to match the fishing.