My buddy Chris invited me to spend a few days with him in a cabin right on Lake Ontario going out on his friends boat to troll for staging kings at the end of August, so how could I say no?
The drive was long but scenic, but when we got to the cabin (trailer with a deck built on it that was bigger than the whole trailer itself, and about 25 feet from the lake...great location for sure) it was a great feeling to finally look at the great Lake Ontario. It was an emerald green color and was beautiful!
Chris's friend, Fred was a great guy. He'd been making trips every year to Lake O to troll for somewhere around 20 years if I remember right. From the cabin to the boat was a 10 second walk, which made things easy as pie, especially since we were waking up around 4 A.M! Freds boat was amazing, and looked brand new even though he'd had it for 20 or so years!
In the 2 1/2 days we managed to boat something like 8 kings, the biggest being around 25 lbs! My first king was crazy! 400 feet behind the boat, it was doing aerials and the drag was screaming. Finally Fred netted it for me and I held up my FIRST king!
Chris and I took turns when the rods popped, taking turns landing fish. The peacefulness of being out on the lake turned into chaos when we had doubles though, wow! Reeling in other rods, moving around in the boat to avoid crossing lines...the fish I had shook off but Chris did get his to the boat.
After the first day on the boat we had the afternoon to relax before going back out in the evening, so we opted to try the Salmon River to see how things were. I had high hopes of hooking into some fresh kings in the river, but was quickly disgusted by what we ran into. Right in town, 2 minutes after getting out of the car, a group of young teens were fishing a popular hole, just snagging salmon out in the open, ugh...
A friend of mine suggested we fish Black Hole, so we hopped in the car and headed over, geared up and walked toward the river. The first decent water only had one guy fishing it - he wasn't doing much and it seemed the fish weren't holding in that area so we moved downriver a bit. We ran into a crowd and boy was it a sight to see. Two dozen people, lifting, snagging....
We were seeing fish regularly, but they'd been in the river for a while judging by their color. We were just too far upriver to run into fresh kings and it was a bummer. So we decided to just keep fishing some decent looking water while watching all the hacks in action. The top of the DSR was being fished by half a dozen people without passes, who were snagging the salmon as they were moving up the rapids. I was sick to my stomach, and felt so bad for the fish. One French-Canadian guy went over to a spot between two big boulders in skinny water in the DSR, snagged a salmon and pulled it onto the bank within seconds, strung a stringer though its gils and then attached the stringer to his waist and kept fishing.
I've never felt so out of place in my life. The entire crowd of people were lifting and snagging, and here I was...trying to actually get one to take. I was regularly watching 20-30 lb kings swim right by my feet too. To top it off, two young boys probably under the age of 10 were SWIMMING in the water that people were fishing!!!! The water already wreaked of death, and dead salmon were already littering the bottom of the river, and these two kids were frolicking in the water like it was a swimming pool, what the hell?
Then, when they left, their role-model rather made them drag two salmon each (he had two salmon as well). Now I wonder how two 10 year old boys ended up hooking and landing two 20 lb salmon when we didn't even see them touch a rod nor even have rods themselves.
Anyway, it was as I was leaving that hole that I decided I'll never fish that area of the Salmon River for salmon again....I'll be hitting the DSR if I ever decide to chase salmon, that's for sure. Good news is, D.E.C was pulling up as we were heading to the car, I hope they served justice to every pathetic snagger there!
On a more positive note, my trip was awesome and unforgettable. It was crazy fighting fish that were so powerful and huge, and our host Fred was an awesome guy that pretty much let us have all the fun when a rod popped!