What I feel to be the longest winter ever has FINALLY come to an end! I’ve already been out on the open water fishing Lake Ontario tributaries for steelhead (migratory rainbow trout). My ice gear is stored away and it’s time to focus on spring opportunities! Steelhead are incredibly spunky and I’ve enjoyed getting my heart broken from time to time and also landing these amazing creatures on my fly rod over the years. They can be found in Lake Ontario tributaries in the fall months and throughout the winter as they prepare to spawn in these waters come spring.

Steelhead! I love releasing these fish just as much as catching them!

Trout have excellent eyesight and are found in cold and clear waters eating insects, small fish and roe (fish eggs) from salmon or other trout. In December last year I had the opportunity to get out with a friend and learn the ropes of float fishing with a centrepin, adding another skill set to my angling abilities. Float fishing with a centrepin enables a drag-free drift giving your bait a natural presentation when fishing in current.

All types of fishing have their place and I am excited to learn new styles of fishing that I can apply in different scenarios, never limiting myself to just one style. Fly fishing and centre pinning are similar (yes, I said it), but they each have their place.

With high water and stained conditions, I was able to catch this fresh-from-the-lake chrome steelhead on my centrepin.
With high water and stained conditions, I was able to catch this fresh-from-the-lake chrome steelhead on my centrepin.

I have found fly fishing to be effective when the waters have good visibility and in faster moving current. Float fishing provides the ability to use live bait (roe, maggots, worms, etc) and be successful in stained waters where bright or scented presentations excel. I don’t wait for perfect fishing conditions, but instead adapt to what is happening. The spring snow melt and frequent rain can create stained, blown out and ‘chocolate milk’ water conditions. I’m still very new to float fishing but I’ve caught on to casting and it’s been fun landing some fish on my centrepin set-up (Rapala Shift Centrepin & the 13-foot North Coast Float & Drift Rod)!

On the topic of DIRTY…. During my recent travels to several Lake Ontario tributaries, I was absolutely blown away by the amount of garbage left behind on the shorelines. It was the worst I have ever seen the tributaries to look and I really can’t believe what I saw. Piles (yes, literal piles) of plastic water bottles, coffee cups, beer cans and bottles, fishing rods, fishing line, clothing, tackle bags and more. We are so fortunate to have access to public land to fish these waters and experience incredible fishing opportunities, but we also need to make an effort to take care of these waters and shorelines for future generations. Garbage does not vanish into the landscape. We all have to do our part to keep our waters clean and beautiful.

Sadly, this isn’t the worst of what I saw.

And on the topic of dirty, there’s that four letter word… ‘w-o-r-k’. As some of you know through following my social media pages, I started a new job this year working for Angler’s Atlas. Don’t worry, I am LOVING it! I had a few anglers request an update on how my job is going so I thought this would be a good place to include it. Since January my life drastically changed. Prior to starting this new job I was working at a fishing store in Ottawa called SAIL. I loved my coworkers and loved the store (hence why I applied there) and I still shop there. This new job came to me very unexpectedly but the moment I heard about it I had to apply.

What do you mean I don’t fish for a living? Haha, I wish! It’s funny when people are surprised that I have a day job. I don’t think anyone on the earth wakes up in the morning and collects a paycheque to go fishing. Even TV show hosts work hard to plan, produce and execute their episodes. It is pretty clear what my passion is, so I do whatever possible to get more involved with fishing, and when you do what you love it doesn’t feel like work!

What is Angler’s Atlas? We publish free magazines throughout Canada (in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario) featuring bathymetric maps and fishing information throughout each region. Since I am located in Ontario, I am focused on our five regional guides here. Our magazines are available online and all of our maps are free to anglers who sign up on our website. We are hosting a photo contest for anglers to be on the covers of our 21 magazines across Canada, so be sure to enter! http://www.AnglersAtlas.com. Although our magazines are new to Ontario this year, they’ve been in publication for 15 years in BC and the success is the reason we have expanded this year. We are getting closer and closer to going to print and I can’t wait to see who ends up on the covers! If you have a business and would like to reach anglers directly through our fishing guides, please feel free to contact me.

Thank you for stopping by! I hope you like the new look of my website 🙂

18 responses to “Steelhead & Talking Dirty…”

  1. very good read and pictures so excited to get me a steelhead

    1. Thank you! 🙂 Good luck out there!

  2. I grew up in Pickering and often found myself fly fishing on the Rouge River and Duffin’s Creek. I miss it.

    1. Hope you can make it back to your home waters soon 🙂

  3. Nice new blog Ashley and congratulations on the new career move. ; )

    1. Thank you so much, David! Life is great!

  4. Great Read keep up the good work ash nice to hear about are close to home tributaries and what a great fishery we have in our backyards minus the Garbage .I guess if we all contributed to keeping things clean we will all have a future for the young to enjoy! what we do and thats fishing hobby to some and a passion to others and Bringing family’s together and having fun in the great outdoors !

  5. I’ll never get as far north as you, to enjoy the wildlife and fishing experience as I live in AZ….but what a shame that the people that do use it, can’t see that beauty through our eyes and take care and leave it as they found it. I’ll never know while people feel compelled to leave their “mark” of garbage and trash after an enjoyable time in the wilderness…Congrats on your job…I still read all your blogs…Ed/PHX

    1. Thank you so much for reading from afar! It is very upsetting to see the garbage but I’ve decided to do something about it by bringing awareness and I’m also working on organizing a clean-up. Together we have the power to make change 🙂

  6. Nice blog , pictures and good luck on the new assignment.

    1. Thank you, David! I appreciate your support 🙂

  7. Mike Billingham Avatar
    Mike Billingham

    You’re getting me excited! I just attended my first of four fly fishing seminar classes in Alaska. Can’t wait to learn more and then go on a few guided day trips, then try it on some Canadian turf at Kluane Lake in the Yukon Territory on vacation in June.

  8. Excellent read all the best for the near future

    1. Thank you so much 🙂

  9. Ashley, I have found the same mess on my local waters here in the states. It really sickens me to see this where I fish. On the plus side I enjoyed the read. Looking forward to more in the future.

    1. Thank you, Joe! I’m in the process of organizing a clean up and I know there’s enough of us who care around the globe to make a difference. Thanks for reading 🙂

  10. A beautiful steelhead! One of these wonders got off my line this winter fishing the Siuslaw river in Oregon. Thank you, thank you for highlighting the problem of trash on banks. It needs more attention.

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