Ontario Steelhead / Rainbow Trout Fishing off the Spanish River Delta

Steelhead Trout Off the mouth of the Spanish River in the deeper water of the South Channel, which is part of Lake Huron, there is excellent Steelhead Trout or Rainbow Trout fishing all year. Steelhead Trout average about 8 pounds with trophies up in the 15 pound-plus range being caught.

Many Steelhead hunters bring boats, which are geared with downriggers for the big lake. If you came for shallow fishing like Walleye or Pike and have a slow trolling boat, you can use our light-tackle deep-water fishing techniques, which are just as effective as downriggers for Steelhead.

Rainbow Trout / Steelhead Fishing Regulations:

View Regulations for the Spanish River (zone 10 - Adobe .pdf)
View Regulations for North Channel & Georgian Bay (zone 14 - Adobe .pdf)
View Big Map of North Channel

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History of Rainbow Trout and Steelhead Trout Stocking in Lake Huron

Rainbow Trout & Steelhead Trout were first stocked in the Great Lakes in 1876 by the US government. Millions of fertilized eggs were introduced into the Aux Sable River, which runs into Lake Huron. Between 1878 and 1883 all the other lakes were stocked with trout. Stocking in Lake Huron continued until 1904. It's also when the very first Rainbow Trout was caught by an angler off Manitoulin Island. The trout weighted 4.2 pounds. In 1914 the Ontario government started stocking. All of the trout come from the west coast with some from pacific spawning rivers and some from inland streams and lakes.

Rainbow Trout, also called a Kamloops Trout by people living in the Rocky Mountains, live in fresh water streams and lakes all year. A Steelhead Trout is the same species but lives in salt water and only comes to fresh water rivers to spawn. They are the same genetically but classed as sub-species of each other. Parallel evolution in different environments has created physical and behavioral differences.

Rainbow Trout

Deep Water Light Tackle Methods for Steehead

If you have a boat that can troll slowly then you do not need to have downriggers to fish deep. Many guests back-troll using a 3-way swivel rig when out on the big water and trolling for Rainbows.

Use a 3-way swivel with a light flutter lure that still shimmers and shakes at slow speeds. Use a 2-oz weight to go 40 to 60 feet deep or a 3-oz weight to go 60 to 90 feet deep. In the spring and fall when the water is colder the trout will be at many depths including 20 feet deep to the surface. In this case a 2-oz Little Cleo or a Mepps Syclops with enough line out the back will sink deep enough for the Steelhead. Click here is see the 3-way swivel diagram.

8-pound dark green line or braded line that is as thin, or thinner than 8-pound, is good for low visibility. Thick line causes a lot of friction with the water and it's hard to get deep. A medium size Musky or pike stick is all you need.