Ontario Salmon Fishing
for Fishing Superior’s North Shore Tributaries
Tyler Dunn Guiding
The beginning of fall represents the start of a
new school year, a new hunting season and my
favourite; the annual run of chinook, pink and
coho salmon. With the runs of salmon coming into
the tributaries to spawn the food present is
amazing which attracts hungry steelhead that
then enter the river systems gorging themselves
on roe, invertebrates and small minnows.
From Sault Ste. Marie to Thunder Bay, Ontario
there is a smorgasbord of rivers, streams and
creeks that all receive annual runs along
highway 17. These rivers on the north shore of
Superior are generally smaller and made up of
various kinds of rocks and stones. Although I
fish some stretches of the bigger rivers that do
offer slow water stretches with sand and mud
bottoms. Most of the rivers being relatively
shallow, fast with a ton of rocks. Bottom
bouncing can be the most effective method to
consistently hook up with salmon or trout along
Superior’s tribs. Pencil weights from 1/2 to 1 ˝
oz will cover all depths and currents. A good
tip for anyone bouncing with a pencil weight is
to give the weight a slight bend like a banana.
This small bend seems to help the sinker from
hanging up. Another option many anglers use to
combat snags is slinky weights. A fluorocarbon
or mono leader anywhere from 18-36” to bait is
sufficient. I run a slightly longer rod than
most on the tribs north of Sault Ste. Marie
which is currently a 9’6 St. Croix Wild River
with a Shimano Stradic 3000 spooled with 10
Float fishing the northern tributaries is
another exceptional method to hook up with fish.
Even though these rivers are ideal for bottom
bouncing, float fisherman do extremely well.
Typically, I run a 10 pound monofilament
mainline to a fluorocarbon or mono leader which
is usually 8 pounds but will go as low as 4
pound test when needed. My season usually starts
targeting fresh run coho salmon in September
with worms then roe for steelhead during most of
October and into November. From this point up
until freeze up is when artificial baits such as
pink worms and micro tubes shine. Also small
stone flies, prince nympths and wooly buggers
are all deadly flies to drift below your float.
Fish these baits along current breaks, back
eddies and the tail outs of pools. Most of the
time you will find steelhead set up just
downstream of the salmon where they wait for
single eggs to drift by. Float rods I use on my
home waters on Superior are a 13’6 Raven RV9 and
a 12’6 Raven Matrix with a Raven SST-3 attached.
Casting hardware for salmon and trout produces a
ton of fish for anglers during fall. Small wide
wobbling crank baits such as storms hot n tot
are responsible for some of m y catches each
fall. Another go to for me is an inline spinner
such as a Panther Martin, Mepps or Blue Fox
Vibrax bare or most often tipped with a worm.
Casting spoons such as a Little Cleo, Mepps
Cyclops and EGB are all excellent casting spoons
for salmon and steelhead. Cast these lures in
the pools found in the river or directly at the
mouth on Lake Superior. I use the same rod for
bouncing as I do casting hardware.
Lake Superior boosts healthy populations of
salmon and steelhead which are accessible by
shore from September until December each year.
These unpressured waters offer anglers not only
as great shot at catching a fish but the scenery
is second to none. Come and enjoy what northern
Ontario has to offer!