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Five Hot Spots for Ontario Walleye

Jigging walleye on southern Ontario’s Lake Erie. • Credit: Lonnie King

You don't have to travel to the far north to experience great walleye fishing. Here's a shortlist of top Southern Ontario hot spots worth putting on your radar this season.

Bay of Quinte

Few places on earth have garnered as much walleye admiration as the Bay of Quinte. Most noted for its trophy potential in the fall and winter, the bay also provides consistent walleye fishing during the spring and summer. A good early season strategy involves jigging out in front of the Trent and Moira River. Fish remain in the bay all summer where one of the popular presentations involves casting stickbaits overtop and along weed edges.

St. Lawrence River

Walleye inhabit the entire 200 km stretch of the St. Lawrence River where it flows along the southeastern edge of the province. The super clear water is a big part of this fisheries' character. The opening weeks of the season find walleye concentrated near spawning tributaries. During the summer, many fish drop out into the deeper shipping channel. Trolling deep diving crankbaits or dragging heavy bottom bouncers is a popular approach. When water temperatures start to drop in the fall, fish will move back up shallow, where they can often be caught by anglers fishing from shore at night.

Ottawa River

Ask Yannick Loranger of Ottawa River Guided Fishing where the hottest local walleye spot is, and you won't be surprised by his answer. Yannick has built a business around the thriving walleye fishery of the Ottawa River. Trolling shallow-running spinners and crankbaits over shallow vegetation can be a big winner, especially in the spring. During the summer and fall, Yannick's top presentation involves bottom bouncing worms on Slow Death hooks and worm harnesses along with breaks and current seams in the main river.

Niagara River

In spite of being so close to heavy population centres, the size and complexity of this area enable walleye populations to thrive. Denis Kreze owns a tackle store in Fort Erie and knows Niagara River walleye well. "The walleye fishing on the upper Niagara River has been steadily getting better in recent years," Denis confides. His top presentations include crawling a jig and minnow on the bottom in spring and casting or trolling big stickbaits at night through summer.

Lonnie King with a big walleye jigged from the depths of southern Ontario’s Lake Erie (Photo credit: Lonnie King)

Lake Erie

Lake Erie has long been known as a tremendous walleye fishery, especially for anglers who like to troll the open water. "Lake Erie walleye are no longer just for trollers," says Denis Kreze. "It's nothing nowadays to go out and intentionally target walleye, especially if you can find areas holding schools of yellow perch." Some of Denis' best action comes when vertically jigging blade baits when the main lake is a bit off-coloured. "It's amazing how much we continue to learn about this fishery," Denis expounds.

Big, complex fisheries are ideal places to grow big walleye, and Southern Ontario has both of these bases covered!

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