If you enjoy fishing, pack your bags and head to Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River this summer and fall. Over the past few years, these New York bodies of water have offered record-breaking fishing for several popular species — i.e., Chinook and coho salmon, steelhead, brown trout, lake trout, Atlantic salmon, bass, walleye, and panfish — and 2019 is proving to be no different.

In July, New York Lieutenant Gov. Kathy Hochul and New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos released a statement encouraging both locals and visitors to take advantage of the prime fishing opportunities.

If you still need a bit of convincing, Bassmaster Magazine named the St. Lawrence River the top bass fishing destination in the U.S. Additionally, Lake Ontario is the most heavily fished body of water in New York, according to the DEC. The lake offers the chance to catch trophy-sized fish from a variety of species.

Successful Fishing Basics

You don’t have to be a fishing expert to make a catch. The DEC recommends allowing the water temperature to guide your search for the perfect location. Each salmonid species has a favorite temperature range and an optimal water temperature where they prefer to hold court. If you’re able to find these areas, your chances of catching the type of fish you want will greatly increase.

It’s also a good idea to use bait fish to attract the species you want, according to the DEC. Beyond that, you’ll need to get your lure down to the correct depth. There’s no shortage of methods old and new — i.e., the use of downriggers, wire line, and lead core line — so research them all to find your preferred technique. 

Boat Safety Tips

If you’ll be using a boat during your fishing adventure, it’s important to be smart. Here’s a few safety tips from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources:

  • Don’t drink alcohol or use drugs before getting on the boat or while on board.
  • Make sure a U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket is available for each boater, as well as one throwable device for any boat 16 feet and longer.
  • Bring a fire extinguisher.
  • Test the boat lights before leaving the dock.
  • Keep a close watch on the weather, and stay onshore — or return to shore — if a storm is approaching.
  • Bring a radio.
  • Abide by the boat capacity to avoid capsizing.

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