Joined: 08 Dec 2005
|Posted: Thu Dec 08, 2005 3:26 pm Post subject: Lake Trout
To answer your question about trolling, I prefer using a penn 309 with lead core and a short trolling rod (5ft.). I've used the 3 way swivel rig, using mono and a medium action rod as you do with some success. I find that using the penn/lead core method is easier to control depths with and very easy to get down with in a hurry. I also prefer working the rod by hand as opposed to using downriggers. You probably won't go wrong with the mooselook and silver would be my colour of choice. If you want to try something else I would suggest a sutton lure. Use the thin sutton flutter spoon (hammered silver and brass #71) type. Even in the spring I still tend to troll between 30 and 40 feet for lakers.
Using a medium to medium heavy rod of your choosing, and some conventional line, just get a 3 to 5 oz. keel of banana sinker and utilize that to control the depth of your presentation. Troll any spoon behind that, but preferably one with blue and or green on a chrome spoon. Light spoons work fine, and they don't have the unnecessary weight of a Kroc or other heavy spoon. After years of using heavy spoons, I find that they are more likely to result in lost fish than a lighter spoon, especially with bigger fish that can really shake their head around and wear large holes in their jaws when fighting them. A great option to a spoon would be a stick bait type lure such as a #11 to #14 Rapala or equivalent.
Get a 3-way swivel. Drop a 3 to 5 ounce sinker off the bottom leg and add a spoon or stick bait to the other leg. If you have a depth finder you can target specific depths. Without a depth finder, I'd troll near bottom in about 70' to 90' of water this time of year and see if you can convince the fish near bottom to hit. The more active trout may be in the middle of the water column though. Best bet is to take a buddy with you - run one lure on the bottom, the other one about 35' to 55' down - and see which works. A line counter reel can be trememdously useful. Sure, sometimes they do not accurately measure the length of line out, but it's all relative anyway so you can simply repeat an effective number on the counter. Let's say you are trolling a spoon with 4 oz. of weight under it and you pick up a fish with "200" showing on the counter - stick to it!
A crude way to find out how deep you are: run over an underwater ridge of known depth. Let's say you want to troll at 45' over a 120' bottom - go find a 45' deep area and troll over it, letting line out until it just ticks the 45' bottom, and use that line counter setting to troll the deeper water. Be aware that your lure may drift up as you initially let line out. We usually troll a chrome colored minnow lure such as a Smithwick or a chrome flutter spoon (light spoon) with some color on it. My personal favorite is the light chrome spoon with some blue and or green on it, sometimes with blue and/or green prsim tape. Blues and greens can be seen better than reds and oranges (though personally I can't vouch for any color being real visible at these depths). I like the light spoons because they have great action even at slower speeds. The light spoons also give less leverage to the fish and they don't wear great big hook holes into the fish's mouth after a long fight. Brands? Heck, I've got so many... I'm not even sure I could name one brand. Some places call them trolling spoons - they are long, thin, and light. I doubt I have one less than 3" long, or over 5".
Capt Guy De La Poission
I have good luck with 10lb. single strand stainless wire, not braided !. we use Krocodile spoons in "fire tiger" 1+1/2 oz. i use 3-6ft. of mono for a leader 8-14lb. test. the type of line is another option; i use florocarbon line, but some people say you don't need it as the water is very dark below 15ft. or so. we have loosely figured with the setup i just mentioned , that for every 100ft. of line out , your lure is about 10ft. down. we try for the 40ft. or so . that would be around 400ft of line out to get the lure 40 ft. down. this is very approximate, and a line counter is very helpful. we try to troll as slow as we can go and still feel the lure action, to 3m.p.h. or so. one good thing to try is to let the lure out so you can still see it and try different speeds and see what the lure looks like. then go with what looks good . remember that a spoon and a minnow lure like a Rapala will troll differently than each other at the same speed. i have used floating lures weighed down with great sucess also. basically their are no set rules for trolling , so EXPERIMENT. nothing is too crazy to try, at least for awhile. remember, the fish don't know the rules. they will let you know if you are doing it right hopefully by hammering your lure!
I troll for lakers using a Stocker Wobbler with a dead smelt (approximately 5" to 6" in length) attached. Very simple to use and works very well. A little expensive, but well worth the price to me. The web site, if interested is www.stockerwobbler.com.
If you are using whole herring as opposed to strips, take a 3 foot lead of strong monofilament or flurocarbon line and tie on a treble hook appropriate in size to size of herring you are using. Bigger hook is better than smaller. Use a 6” needle (most tackle shops sell them) to thread the loose end of the lead up through the rear end of the herring and out the mouth. Now pull the line and bury one of the hooks in the underside. This will leave 2 hooks exposed. Tie on a swivel at the other end and you’re all set. Use on lead core as well as downriggers. I use on both. A second method,again for whole herring, is to buy the 2-pronged bait hooks they sell at most tackle shops (the proper name escapes me right now but when you explain what you need they’ll know what to get you). These come in various sizes so get the right size for the herring you’re using. This eliminates the need for a treble hook as well as a needle. What is most critical when trolling with herring is your speed because you want the herring spinning so that it appears to be an injured fish.
I've not only used herring but minnows/shiners as well-as long as they are at least 3-4" long. I've had hits on small 2 1/2" minnows and then picked up small lakers on larger 5" minnows and wondered why would a little laker go after something so big? But it happens. Sometimes there's no figuring it out. If I use my lead line I always use a large gang troll. Sometimes I try without it just for a change, but with it on always produces better even though it's more tiring. Obviously when on the downrigger I don't use it. In terms of strips vs. whole, I prefer the whole only because I've done it that way for longer. Tried strips last year for the first time and did ok, but felt more comfortable with what I was used to. Doesn't mean to say that strips are less effective. I'm sure there are fellows out there that swear by them. I go 3 times a year-May long week-end, even though they are a little less active then but it's always been a tradition with me to go up there then. July for a couple weeks(can be hit and miss then), and Labour day week-end(usually always good with bigger fish being caught). Depth-wise usually pick them up trolling between 30-60ft in July and Sept. That's when your fishfinder really comes in handy, 'cuz they can be at various depths but some are active and some are not. Time of day I like is between 9am and 1pm and sometimes again 4-7pm. I don't do too much in the evening though as that's when it's time to switch gears and start thinking about the "eyes".
What has worked well for us has been blue/silver colored spoons (4", 1 1/2 oz. Cabela’s real image herring spoon in blue shad color) using leadcore line with 7-8 colors out. We have found a trolling speed around 2mph, and trolling in an "S" shape produced the best results. We have also found that between 10am-2pm we had the most action, 4pm-5pm has also been productive. I should also mention are trips are usually the first week of Sept. We keep a log every year to keep track of number of fish caught, what method used, time of day, etc.
This is how I rig up for Summer Lakers (mostly) and Walleyes. Use the small Dipsy. Let out enough line so Dipsy skips bottom at 40ft., then tie small piece of colored yarn to line and secure with fishn glue. If you have the luxury of a line-counter reel, disregard the above poorman's technique. Run a six to eight ft. 20-25lb. test fluorocarbon leader off the Dipsy. During the day you'll generally find active Lakers from 40-60 ft. Smaller spoons in Pearl/Silver or Pink/Silver will work as well as anything. Don't use Chrome because at that depth chrome will appear black to the fish. If things become desperate and you have to prove that this technique really works, try running a Williams Wobbler with a strip of dead bait off the Dipsy Sometimes in the evening or early morning, the Lake Trout will come to the surface for a short time chasing bait fis , even in July or August. Under these conditions or also for Walleye, either flatline a lure (my Favorite before or at Dawn and Dusk is a silver/black back 7" Rapala) or use a 3-Way set-up with a DDThunderstick or Bomber (Silver with Blue or Black Back) on the bottom and and a Small Northern King or Stinger on the top line. My 4 choices for starters would be Electric Blue, Chartreuse/Orange, Wonder Bread and Purple/Black. The back side can be either Chrome or Silver for at 20 ft they both show up metallic. If you're using Mono for above set-ups use nothing lighter than 17lb. test. Best to just use Fluorocarbon for both leads.
When you said "3-Way set-up with a DDThunderstick or Bomber" did you mean troll one behind a dispsey? I do have a countdown real, what test do you suggest? No Dipsy necessary with 3-Way, This will run 20-25ft. with the deep diving Bomber Long A or the Regular Thunderstick. Use 5ft lead on Plug end and 7 ft lead on top spoon. Have never tried this set-up with the Jr. Thunderstick, might be too light. Fill your reel with 40lb Braided Superline or 20lb Mono. If you've got another Medium Casting Reel, you might consider trying 25-30lb lead core line. Need a 20 ft mono leader and knot can be tricky though. I'd get the other techniques under your belt first.
Fishing for lakers in June, you don't really need lead core line, last year in june i caught alot of lakers on "hot-n-tot's" light blue and yellow in color and gold "williams spoons". 8-25ft in depth is where i caught them. a couple of large sinkers about 5ft from the lure wouldn't hurt.
If it is a late spring and ice out the fish should be near the surface and you can catch them fairly easily trolling rapalas 5' to 20' down. Otherwise they will most likely be spread anywhere from 20' down to 60' at this time. Trolling with coloured lead core line, 1 or 1.5 ounce egg sinker, gang trool, and then about 4' mono leader with smelt will do the trick. Another way which can be fun in a back channel or calm bay is to jig with 8lb test, jig tipped with dead minnow as live are not allowed on Kipawa.
Try using dead herring on the bottom. Look for a drop from 20-30 to 50 to 80 feet use a barrel sinker and thread the bait with a 000 hook. Set your drag with no resistance. Let it sit on the drop. Lakers will take it an run then drop it and come back and run again, tighten your drag and you got them.
Using Downriggers for Lakers
I use a 6 foot 6 inch Ugly Stik (medium action) rod and a Daiwa 27 line counter reel spooled with 14 lb mono. Attached to the mono (with a Double Uni knot) is about 25 feet of 12 lb fluorocarbon as leader. I attach a Sutton 71 to the end of the fluorocarbon leader with a small snap swivel.
I attach a gang troll (e.g. a 60 inch Big Hammer) as an attractor directly to the downrigger ball. I then lower the downrigger ball (and attached attractor) about 5 feet into the water. I let out sufficient line to get past the mono/fluorocarbon splice and clip the line into my release clip. Then I attach the release clip to the downrigger cable, about 6 feet above the ball, with a stacker connection. We have had success fishing lakers with this method fishing at 35-45 feet in water at least 60 feet deep. By comparison, our other boat routinely catches as many lakers as our boat. They both use Penn 309 reels spooled with leadcore line. They typically attach a Big Hammer gang troll to the leadcore and then use a 3 foot mono leader to a dead minnow.
A charter captain provided the following advice on lead lengths behind downrigger balls and advice on cheaters and sliders.
Lead lengths behind your rigger balls vary day to day but below I will post the general rule of thumb that I have used that work. I start with these leads and either shorten or lengthen to what the fish want at that time.
3 -10 feet down, 55 – 75 feet back from the downrigger ball
10 - 20 feet down, 35 – 55 feet back from the downrigger ball
25 – 35 feet down, 20 - 45 feet back from the downrigger ball
35 – 45 feet down, 15 - 35 feet back from the downrigger ball
45 – 55 feet down, 10 -25 feet back from the downrigger ball
> 55 feet down, 10 - 15 feet back from the downrigger ball
The above down and back chart is for main lines. If I stack a rod on the same downrigger (i.e. use another rod and reel and lure on the same downrigger simultaneously), I will place the lure attached to the stacked rod 10 feet above the main lure and 10 feet farther back. For example, deep rod 65 feet down and 12 feet back with the second rod 55 feet down and 20 feet back.
These are deadly. Many days, cheaters provide the majority of my hookups. Before I go further on setting them up I must give a word of advice on hooking up while running these. REEL< REEL<REEL> set the hook a few times and reel, set the hook again. Reason being is that the cheaters have to slide down the main line until they hit the other lure. Some times the rod will not even pop out of the rigger release - it will just jump and bob around like crazy.
Rigging cheaters: Take a section of fishing line 6 to 8 foot long. I run 15 to 20 pound fluorocarbon for my cheaters and sliders. On one end of the section of line attach a coast lock snap and on the other end a snap swivel. Attach a spoon to the snap swivel end. Let’s say you are fishing 65 feet down and want to add a cheater to your spread. Let out 15 feet for your set back for your main lure. Attach your main line to your release and lower rigger down 10 feet. Now take a #5 rubber band and half hitch it to your main line (between rod tip and rigger release). Next attach the snap end of the cheater line thru the loop in the half hitched rubber band and then to your main line. This will hold the cheater lure at that depth. Toss the spoon attached to the cheater out into the water and lower your rigger to the desired depth. If a fish whacks the cheater, the rubber band will snap and the cheater connection will slide down to where your main lure is clipped onto the downrigger cable. Pull to release your main lure and fight the fish to the boat. If you get a release on the main lure, fight the fish till you can reach the cheater rig. A quick pull will bust the rubber band and you can finish reeling in your fish without the rubber band messing up your rod tip. Simple! There are other methods to attach a cheater, I have tried them all over the past 20 years, the rubber bands seem to be the cheapest and easiest to use.
A slider is the same set up as a cheater but with out the rubber band. Lower your downrigger ball to the depth you want for your main lure. Then attach the snap end of the slider line thru your main line and it just slides "freely" down to the natural bow in your main line between the rod tip and rigger release. The slider will slide down to about half the depth of your rigger.
With cheaters, 5-8 foot above seems to be best except when you have a cheater above a dodger or flasher rig. For this, go with 10 to 12' above so it will not tangle with the flasher dancing around. Matching colors (same shades) work best. For example, black/silver main lure with black/white/glow cheater. Same size lures work well or a mag/28 combo. With sliders, small spoons (nk28 size or smaller) work best.