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Thread: trying to figure out salmon trolling.

  1. #1
    Getting the hang of it

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    Default trying to figure out salmon trolling.

    Iím sorry if this post will look too much theoretical and too large, but my addiction to fishing based (in some part) on desire to solve those puzzles which nature creates around. So if anyone would be willing to participate I will appreciate it.
    I was out for two days in GB, West of Moon River mouth. First day start at 6AM, going through the day at a speed of around 10km/h trying to locate salmon and troll that area but only marked 3-4 fishes for whole day, tried to troll with no success.
    At about sunset I noticed a couple of boats in open water and decided to go there and troll. Some time after sunset my sonar started to detect what seemed to me like nice fish. I continued to troll until complete dark, when the sonar screen became empty again. Didnít get any bites.
    The next day came to the area just with the first light, well before sunrise. The screen was empty until probably 30 min before sunrise when this Ďsonar screen fiestaí begins again. It continued perfectly until sunrise, after that the screen went empty dead again. No bites.
    In the evening came to the area again with exactly the same scenario.
    When returned to the boat launch I met two other late boats. Unfortunately, due to my impaired hearing Iím not able to carry on long conversations but what I understood that they got just one salmon for the whole party and they used to have much better result some time ago. So I assume that my failure was not due to wrong lures and other gear set up.
    Now I'd like to ask a couple of questions those of you who have better experience and understanding of salmon fishing than I do (I got a boat just last year and the only one downrigger this year)
    Firstly, is it really fish on the screen? It appears like fish to me but I know from ice fishing on Lake Joseph that almost every time if I stay longer on the ice, after sunset I get big fatty solid red marks on the flasher. This is for sure not fish but probably concentration of some other small creatures in water column or even strange glitches happened with the flusher at around sunset.
    Then, if it is fish I assume it should be some kind of salmon or may be whitefish or other sort of alewife (it is unlikely that it is bass or something else in the open area at the depth of 100-150í). But I would never think that activity of these fish, which browsing open waters would be so time sensitive.
    I know one small lake where crappie bites occurs only at around sunset/sunrise. Regardless of the season, winter or summer, you can fish all day long without any bites and fish detection on the sonar, but Ĺ hour before sunset fiesta begins, sometimes with bites of every minute or more often. Everything becomes quiet Ĺ after sunset or sunrise.
    Largemouth bass in summer becomes active on sunset/sunrise with splashes across the lakes while sitting quietly the rest of the day in grassy shallows. I know also that carp is a time sensitive creature as well. But these kinds of fish are not like salmon or alewifes which are (I suppose) on constant move, browsing large water and pursuing moving fish or plankton.
    Any thoughts on this?
    And regardless what fish it was, where is it hiding during the rest of the day? Modern sonars are very sensitive devices so even fish is not active it should be visible on the sonar. But I spent 14 hours on the water without seeing something even close to what I watched after sunset. So where the fish is hiding during the day?
    And, if it is not the fish what it is then?
    Here are some more pics of my sonar screenshots if you'd like
    https://drive.google.com/drive/folde...CU?usp=sharing
    100719_2132_00.jpg110719_2132_00.jpg
    Last edited by MarkD; July 11th, 2019 at 07:19 PM.

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  3. #2
    Needs a new keyboard

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    Could be nothing more than zooplankton showing up on the screen, I've seen it numerous times, before daylight and close to dark. Your speed seems a bit low, if you were at 3.2mph it would be better.

  4. #3
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    I don’t know what sonar you have, but those marks don’t look like fish to me. My Lowrance shows fish as hooks. My old Humminbird did as well. I’ve seen similar on Erie, that I figured were mayfly larvae leaving the bottom in swarms. This was during the mayfly hatch though. You seem to have a lot of clutter on your screen as well.

  5. #4
    Getting the hang of it

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    I have Garmin 75sv chirp. I had posted previously about my dissatisfaction with the unit but I now have what I got.
    I think that the reason it shows whatever it is in this way (like a stroke of paint brash, not in classical arc form), is that I set up my transducer a bit under angle to the horizon level so I'm able to see the cannon (so it's facing a bit on the back, not just into the bottom). Same as on this image you can see that the lure appears quite "below" the cannon while in fact it is on the same level.

    100719_0524_00.jpg
    Yes, there is a lot of clutter on the screen and I have no idea how to fix it. All sonar settings are on auto, assuming Garmin understand this things better than I do. On the other hand this clutter just doesn't look nice but it should not affect ability to show fish if it would be there and I also able to see the cannon most of the time which is a big plus for me.
    As for the speed, I found that while different people use a little bit different speed, most are saying that optimum is 2,4-2,9 mph and I was trying to keep it like this. But yes, on the images it even slower than that. Next time will try to increase it a bit.
    I now think as well it is just zooplankton. That's actually frustrates me even more as this means I didn't detect any fish at all during about 20 hours of searching!
    Last edited by MarkD; July 11th, 2019 at 10:53 PM.

  6. #5
    Getting the hang of it

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    Not sure what the marks are but agree they're probably zooplankton.

    Rule no. 1 in fishing is you have to fish where the fish are. Honestly, you're not doing that. The south end of GB is not exactly a high % area for salmon in July. Right now, Lake Ontario off Toronto is on fire. Run blue and silver spoons 60 feet down and you're pretty much guaranteed.

  7. #6
    Getting the hang of it

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    Symmetre,
    thanks for the advice and I agree. I actually think that South end of GB (Collingwood, Wassaga) is much better than the middle portion, just South of Parry Sound. So I'm basically fishing the least productive area. I'm aware of this.
    But I like this area for some other reasons and stick with it. I posted on another forum a question if someone is getting fish in that area and people are saying they get some even not many.
    I know for years lake Ontario is way better than GB. But, to be honest, fishing for me not only about getting fish. We used to fish one season few years ago in Ontario and I didn't find it's enjoyable to catch a fish facing the CN Tower and other urban feature scenery.
    Saying that I still constantly trying to convince myself to go to Ontario. And yes, probably after your suggestion I will go. By the way what is the best time of the day for Ontario salmon?
    But I'm still interesting to figure out my sonar marks though...
    Thank you for your reply and suggestion!
    Last edited by MarkD; July 12th, 2019 at 10:05 AM.

  8. #7
    Apprentice

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    Georgian bay can be quite productive but the fish move and are in certain areas at specific times of year. If your fishing dead water your not catching fish. I don’t bother with GB at this time of year and it’s my closest water. I travel to Lake Ontario and catch fish. I like scenery too, but the reason I own a boat is to put fish in the boat. The fish move in Lake Ontario too. The best ports to target change with time of year. The best time of day to fish for salmon is always to be on the water as the sun rises. By 11am I am usually fishing 100-120 foot down over 200 plus feet of water, unless fishing for stagers. Fish productive waters and you’ll catch fish. Mayfly hatched occur at this time of year. That looks similar to mayfly larvae on your screen, but to hard to say.

  9. #8
    Getting the hang of it

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    diverduck,
    Thanks for you reply and suggestions. I already followed advises from this and another forum and went to Lake Ontario couple times and had moderate success. I'm happy with that and I think I'm done with L Ontario. I live in Mississauga and it's 5 times longer drive for me to G bay comparing to Port Credit, but I still prefer G bay....
    I was told that G bay fishing will improve in August... I hope so... but I think unlike L Ontario, G bay vary significantly depending of the location and I think I'm fishing the less productive area - west of 12 Mile bay... Still... Fishing is not only catching fish for me...
    I appreciate you advises. Thanks.
    Could you please clarify for me what does it mean
    unless fishing for stagers.
    Thanks!

  10. #9
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    You are right in the area with the best Salmon fishing right now. I would spend time east of Port Credit towards Toronto. Georgian Bay is off right now. I would suggest fishing Lake Ontario close to home and in a month or so try GB. You might want to consider going out on a charter from Port Credit to see what techniques they use to catch fish.

  11. #10
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    It seems like everybody is agreed that G bay salmon fishing is very slow now and will improve in August or later.
    What I don't understand is where the fish right now? Is it that there is no or little salmon only in the Southern portion of G bay but somewhere up North the fishing is good right now, or for some reason on G bay salmon is hiding on entire G bay?
    Any thoughts?

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