Trout Pursuit………


Pete & Ken spent the week chasing after lake trout using downriggers and spoons. I thought this was a good opportunity to do some research on where these fish seem to go after the initial “shallow water bite”. Pete was fully rigged with some great downriggers and a speed and temperature probe which gave readings from whatever depth you happened to be fishing. Seems the fish were pretty scattered, which kind of made sense. We caught several in the VBay area at around the 35 foot level. I was noticing that there were few suspended but they seemed to be around structure of some sort……points, dropoffs, etc. I spent the day with Pete & Ken and we poked around in the West Arm where Pete caught this 5 #’er. At 35 feet water temps were around the 49 degree mark……..further into Trout Hole 2 the temps were quite cold….about 44 degrees, which Pete felt was too cold. In the end no lunkers were caught but Pete & Ken ended up with some good eaters……..also the experience of catching a handful of walleye on downriggers. One interesting observation that Pete made was the possible connection to last spring’s fantastic shallow water bite in VBay and the forest fire that scorched parts of Trout Hole 2 the season before. Increased acidity causing a movement out of the area? Makes for a good theory, especially since the similar spring conditions this year did not yield nearly the number of lunkers as ’08. Something to mull over …………..

11 thoughts on “Trout Pursuit………

  1. I like the detail in this report.
    "fish in acid filled water" VERY INTERESTING.
    What lures were catching the fish,? Spoons?
    Cool looking hat.
    Chuck in Toronto

  2. Very interesting post. There was a time I thought you really needed to have downriggers to pursue trout. It's a great technique. However, applying lessons learned on Eagle Lake where Trout can be caught as deep as 100' with a 3-way rig with 6 ounces of lead, I have learned this isn't the case. I may get some down riggers some day, but yesterday I fished cohos for the first time on Saturday morning on Lake Michigan. I tried some 3-way rigs, dipsy diver, lead core and flat lines. I only caught 2 cohos with a few bumps, but both came on lead core rigs with 6 colors of lead core line in 100' of water (about 30' down). Both hit a peanut fly behind an orange flasher. In the fall, the fish on Eagle Lake will be very deep but can be reached with 6 ounces of lead. I have been wondering, and will likely try, a flasher rig this fall. No…I'm not talking about the Professor. I have no doubt the down rigger setup with a few stick baits might have caught a few more hog walleyes as well?

    Acidity could be impacting the fishery, but all I can say is that those trout holes have been very good to a few professors I know in the fall. If they were acidic in the spring, I would assume they were acidic in the fall. Let's hope for the best and assume that the lake trout population is just getting more healthy and anglers are doing a better job of releasing big trout? I think the trout simply move to where the bait fish and warmer water are.

  3. That is an interesting observation on the spring trout, guess will have to see what happens in 2010, maybe he has something there.

  4. A small, but important correction to Andy's post.
    We actually used 8 ounces of lead to get us down to the trout (70 feet and deeper). Plus, we had about 225-275 feet of 14 pound FireLine out. Doctor Spoons in silver and the Williams Wabbler in silver/gold have produced lakers up to 38 inches for us in Trout Hole # 1 and # 2 for us during the past three years. And we hope to hear our reels sing again this August.

  5. There are two advantages I can see using down riggers over the three way swivel. First, you only end up fighting the fish, not the fish and 8 oz. of lead….plus all the intervening hardware. Second, since the downriggers basically have your baits straight down off the back of the boat it is far easier to make quick turns and get closer to structure without worrying about a big tangle of lines. This is not to say I am going to run out and get downriggers…..I still like the simple techniques.

    One thing that Pete and Ken used was two spoons on each line. They used "sliders" which is basically a piece of gas line tubing over a barrel swivel through which the main line passed through. Using a needle to puncture the tubing the main line went through each wall of the tube and one end of the swivel, which is inside. The result is the swivel, leader material and spoon is held in place at whatever height on the main line but in the event of a strike it would slide down to the bottom hook. This could be done using the three way swivel approach as well.

  6. OK Gus one problem here and anyone that has fished with you will know this to be true, with your SHARP turns forget it you will tangle specially using sliders off those lines.Gold/silver sutton spoons always was a great bait on lake Michigan but then again lake trout like it flashy, also something to try with be a dodger/fly combo

  7. I HAVE FISHED L.TROUT ON EAGLE OFF AND ON FOR SOME 20 YRS AND FOUND THAT ALTHOUGH YOU CAN ON OCCASSION GET BIGGER FISH UP HIGH, THE BIGGER FISH TEND TO COME WITHIN 10FT OF THE BOTTOM. TRY SOME LARGE SPINNERS OR SILVER DODGERS WITH A TRAILING HAIR FLY OR SMALLER SPOON. GOOD LUCK

  8. Hi Steve! Things are warming up quick. Temps are in the low 60's, water temps that is. Starting to see some limited weed growth. Quite a few large muskies have been sighted this week by walleye guys……I think they are spawning or have just finished. Weather has improved…summer is here.

    Good point on the lake trout.

  9. Temperature update……water temps are in the upper 60's with some warm patches in the 70's. This has come a long way since Saturday when the water was in the mid to upper 50 degree range.

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