ctrl down video player Home Menu Where Am I? Subscribe Popular
Northern Ontario Travel
The Official Magazine
Home > Experience > Fishing

Salmon Of The Soo

Salmon Of The Soo

Fishing for Atlantic Salmon on the St. Marys River in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario



This Fish'n Canada episode finds Stephen Niedzwiecki making his first voyage on FNC1 Princecraft without the expert guidance of seasoned Fish'n Canada hosts Angelo Viola or Pete Bowman. He took the rig to the St. Marys River, next to the city of Sault Ste. Marie, in search of Atlantic Salmon. Thankfully, however, he wasn't entirely on his own; he was joined by expert fishing guide and friend of the show Tyler Dunn

Tyler has been a guest on the show before and has proven himself to be a top-tier guide, demonstrating remarkable success across numerous species and bodies of water. Loyal viewers may recall, as well, that he's no stranger to Sault Ste. Marie or the St. Mary's River. In a past episode, he and Pete Bowman targeted October Largemouth Bass in the backwaters of the St. Mary's, down-river from the "Soo" (a popular nickname for Sault Ste. Marie).

On this trip however, Steve was after a totally different species in a very different location.

sault-ste-marie
The city of Sault Ste. Marie Ontario, AKA the Soo

"Fishing directly adjacent to the city of the Soo," says Steve, "gave me an initial feeling of apprehensiveness. After all, I was after Atlantic Salmon, one of Canada's most pristine fish species, which is normally associated with hard-to-get-to rivers dumping into the Atlantic Ocean."

"But Tyler kept convincing me," continues Steve "to wait and I'd see."

They were drifting the section of the river north of the world famous rapids. It was strong in flow (sometimes up to 5mph), but still calm and very manageable.

salmon-fishing
The technique is to take the boat upriver and drift down with the current, all while casting

Not long into their drifts, Steve felt a snap, as in what Tyler described as an Atlantic's bite—but not the type of snap Steve likes. One of these Kings of Chrome grabbed onto his line so hard, it broke. But Steve did manage to get a glimpse of the fish, and that made him even more eager to get one of those monsters into the boat. 

Though the crazy current of the St. Mary's River may be partially to thank for these Atlantics being there, it also introduces some significant challenges while fishing. The powerful current pushed the guys downstream so quickly that each of their drifts were over before they knew it, which didn't leave a lot of time to experiment with presentations before they had to fire up the Mercury and head back upstream.

fishing-salmon
Seemingly like a pain in the butt, it's absolutely necessary to repeat drifts, so going back up river time and time again is a must

Not long into their series of drifts and after Steve's initial break-off, big Tyler set the hook into a solid fish.

"Feels like a pretty good one," were Ty's words, and he would know, as he's caught many Atlantic Salmon here.

After what seemed like an hour and not minutes, Tyler's salmon was in the boat.

"Wow, what a beautiful fish," commented Steve.

This was Steve's first look at an Atlantic.

Later that day, and after a bait colour change, Tyler again set into one of these Kings Of Chrome. This one was almost identical to his first fish. This one hit on the colour "Baby Bass"... go figure!

fishing-salmon
On boat action as Tyler Dunn gets filmed and photographed while doing battle with a King Of Chrome

BAITS AND TECHNIQUES

Tyler has been using Fluke style baits for Salmon for quiet some time, and does very well with them. Natural baitfish colours are Ty's favourite choices.

Two of Steve's favourite baits are the Yamamoto D Shad and Zoom Fluke. On their own, they are a light, slow-sinking bait that works well for shallow bass. However, in this deep water with the strong current, some weight is needed.

altantic salmon
Fluke style plastics are Tyler Dunn's favourite baits for Atlantic Salmon fishing. Experiment with jig head shapes and sizes.

Tyler recommends a jig head with a strong and sharp hook. The weight allows the angler to run the fluke anywhere in the water column, thus searching all depths.

He prefers spinning gear for this fishing, with braided line as a main line and a fluorocarbon leader.

TYLER'S DEPARTURE

Towards the end of the day, Tyler had to take out a client for an evening fish to a small local lake, so Steve had to bid him adieu. Unfortunately, Steve's time with him was up, as Tyler had to hurry along. Steve however, still had some daylight left.

With the training wheels now off, he steered the FNC-1 back to their Hotspot, armed with a little more tactical know-how.

Tyler warned that the evening bite may be even more challenging—and once again, he was proven to be right. The fish seemed to have shut down, the window of opportunity possibly closed. The other anglers start disappearing from the water—and yet Steve carried on.

"My time fishing for Atlantics on the St. Mary's River," says Steve, "a species and body of water both completely new to me, has reinforced the importance of having an expert like Tyler Dunn, with local knowledge, who can deliver you to the right spot and demonstrate the techniques that'll put you on the path to fishing success." 

"Though I didn't hook in my last while," he continues, "I had an unforgettable day on the water, and I feel much more confident that I'll net one of these Silver Bullets on my next visit."  

WHAT ABOUT YOU

Have you been to the St. Mary's River, or fished elsewhere for mighty Atlantic Salmon? If so, we'd love to hear, so please share your stories by getting social with us at Go Fish In Ontario and/or Fish'n Canada

ONTARIO AND ATLANTIC STOCKING

More commonly associated with Canada's Maritimes, Atlantic Salmon naturally colonized Lake Ontario from the Atlantic Ocean and adapted to life in freshwater conditions some 12,000 years ago. However, by 1898, due to the introduction of dams, deforestation of riverbanks, pollution, and over-harvesting, the Atlantics were extirpated from the Great lakes.

Since then, Ontario has spent millions of dollars in Atlantic Salmon restoration programs. To date, none have proven to succeed in bringing back these acrobatic fighters in significant numbers. However, there is hope, as evidenced in today's show on the St. Mary's River episode. The United States, through the Lake Superior State University, seem to have found a secret formula that is having some degree of success. 

In fact, the current Ontario Atlantic Salmon record is 24.3 pounds and came from New York's "put-grow-take" program for Atlantics. 

stocking
Ontario does have some Atlantic Salmon stocking programs, however these St. Mary's fish are all US stocked

ONTARIO - DID YOU KNOW?

Did you know that the city of Sault Ste. Marie is said to be at the "heart" of the Great Lakes? Centrally located in the province of Ontario, the "Soo" is positioned on the shore of the St. Mary's River, connecting Lake Huron and Lake Superior.

As far as Canadian cities are concerned, Sault Ste Marie is one of the most "outdoors-oriented" of them all.

Of course, the fishing is second to none in and around the city. However, it's the other activities that put this destination over the top.

Hiking beautiful trails, canoeing the backwaters, kayaking Lake Superior, camping in lush forests, cycling for miles on end, and let's not forget our hunting brothers. It's all there.

If all this is not enough, then the cherry on the top of Sault Ste Marie, is the Agawa Canyon fall colour tours. To experience the vibrant, saturated hillsides by train, car, or even foot, is like nothing else in the entire country.

With an array of outdoor activities to do around "the Soo," it's just one more reason to Go Fish in Ontario.

st-marys-river
Steve Niedzwiecki and Tyler Dunn film a Fish'n Canada Show episode with a very urban backdrop, the city of Sault Ste Marie, Ontario. 

GETTIN' THERE

To get this great urban fishing destination, Steve first drove north on hwy 400 and then continued north on Hwy 69 and then headed north-west on Hwy 17 at Sudbury. He followed 17 to the city of Sault Ste Marie and then turned right onto S Market St, continued onto McNabb St., turned right onto Great Northern Rd, and finally arrived at the Quattro Hotel on the left.

The Quattro is an angler-friendly facility, understanding our needs as in extra parking space for trucks with boats, bringing in lots of fishing gear to the rooms, access to outside electricity for charging batteries, etc.

The city of Sault Ste. Marie has some of the best urban fishing opportunities in all of Ontario.

HOTSPOT

This episode's Hotspot is where Steve and Tyler spent their time drifting the St. Mary's River, directly adjacent to the city of Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario.

This is no secret fishing spot. Local anglers wait all year long for the salmon and trout run in order to cash in on this extraordinaire city-side fishing experience.

The beauty of fishing here is, you don't know what you'll catch. Could be an Atlantic, a Chinook, a Pink, a Steelhead, and believe it or not, the list goes on.

Best of all, if you are staying at one of the local, angler-friendly accommodations, then you can walk to the river's edge, start casting, and have the possibility of the fish of a lifetime.

For the waypoint to this Hotspot and more like it, check out Fish'n Canada.com

Baits: Flukes, Spinners, Spoons

Presentation: Casting, Drifting, Trolling

Depth: 15-30 Feet

EPISODE SPECIAL THANKS

Discover Your True North
Northern Ontario Welcomes You .... We're Closer Than You Think

Featured articles

X