Lake Ontario out of Mexico Bay 9/7 PM


A friend/client of mine had a good report of salmon fishing (trolling) off of the mouth of Salmon River recently, so I thought I’d drive over, see what was going on, and try some jigging over there.  It’s been a busy season and a hot summer (until recently), so I’ve been enjoying what days off I’ve had.  This was completely a last-minute decision.  I didn’t leave my place until close to noon, which doesn’t make a lot of sense, given how far away I live and given that the best shallow fishing would likely be early in the AM (or late PM) before too much boat traffic moves these fish out.  I spent more time driving today than I did fishing.

I thought I’d never fished out of Mexico before, but just as I sat down to type this up, I saw that I was out here back in July of 2016!  I am truly getting old!  I would’ve sworn I’d never fished out of Mexico Bay, but I drove a different way last time and it was in the dead of summer, without much boat traffic.  Even after I arrived, I can’t say it looked familiar, but upon reflection, I remember being here before.  On that previous trip, I got lucky and nabbed a big brown that was suspended over deep water.

Over the decades, I’ve fished areas from the Niagara Bar all the way to the St. Lawrence River – mainly for smallmouth bass back in the 1990s and 2000s.  There are a few areas of Lake Ontario I’ve never launched/fished out of – including Olcott, Wilson and the Golden Hills launch.  It’s very cool getting a feel for the lake and how it lays out.  I can see via the water how close Salmon River is to Oswego and so on.

I had a plan of action but wasn’t able to execute it very well.  There were a lot of boats out trolling and I just couldn’t plunk myself down amongst them – I’d be interfering with what they’re doing.  I think trying to jig around the Niagara Bar to Wilson/Olcott in the spring would be pretty much the same scenario.  Until a bunch of anglers commit to trying to jig, it’s going to really be tough to try to set up.  I’m sure attempting to jig some salmon later in the month would be much easier.  I think most bigger trolling boats will likely be put into storage soon, but I’m not that interested in going after dark salmon.

I had very cold water down deep in shallow – low 40s down around 50′.  Many of the boats were working this shallow water and in closer.  We’re at the time when salmon move out of temperature.  Anyways I wound up trying “inside” for a little while without any luck.  I did have one group of good marks move through but I didn’t have much of a shot at them.  Out deep, there were fish concentrated “up high,” but that’s also a very tough jigging proposition.  I did the best I could, then called it a day after three hours with maybe one hit in shallow as I worked back towards the launch.  It was still nice being out and getting reacquainted with Lake Ontario out of the Mexico/Salmon River area.

Crowded - even for a weekday!

I may have hit a bottleneck, but I had to wait a bit before launching.  Other boats were trying to come in too.  It doesn’t help that the breakwalls along the side of the launch are so high and have broken cleats!

View from up high

The harbor boulders

If you ever want to catch a bowfin, these lower parts to the Lake Ontario tribs/bays are great places to try!  They love these stained, eutrophic areas.  Cut bait or live bluegills along the bottom in late April and right up through June/July should produce good action!

I was hopeful!

I had what was likely a lake trout or two move for my jigs.  Not much action apart from that.  Nice to see some baitfish schools in the lake.  During some years, bait can be tough to locate on the lake’s east end.