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Lunkin' Lakers

Lake Trout

Salvelinus namaycush

Average size: 19-36 inches

Average Weight: 2-10 lbs.


Lake trout live in cold, well oxygenated lakes. They are incredibly strong fighters. Growing up to 50 inches and over 60 pounds these fish migrate into the shallows during the spring and fall and patrol the deep open water during the summer months. You'll know when a Laker hits the line as they fight doggedly until they are in the boat. Patrolling the waters from Maine to Alaska into the great lakes and some rivers throughout the Rocky Mountains Lake Trout thrive in the colder climate of northern North America. Their primary prey are small bait fish and insects.


Lake Trout live in deep cold lakes that are well oxygenated, and very high visibility as well their tributaries. In early spring and late fall Lakers will migrate from the deep open water to shallow bays. Once the water temperature reaches 50-55 degrees Fahrenheit Lake trout will spawn in the Fall in water that is between 6 and 9 feet deep. In the midst of summer lake trout can be found between 30 and 100 feet deep, in water much deeper than that. Spring fed glacial lakes are prime spots to fish for lake trout. Lake trout are most active during dawn and dusk.


When going after Lake Trout, knowing water temperature is very important and will determine what technique will work the best. In the spring and fall when the water temperature is around 50 degrees Fahrenheit, casting into shallow water and off rocky shore lines is the best option. When the water gets above 55 degrees Fahrenheit the lake trout will go into deeper water. Once this happens jigging and trolling are the best techniques to bring in lake trout.

Spring and Fall-Casting

In the spring and fall lake trout are patrolling shallow bays, rocky shores and islands. When fishing these times I prefer casting. Putting the boat about 100 or so yards from shore or the structure that I will be casting too. I will then find the drop off and cast into shore. Unlike northern pike that will follow and need a change of speed on the lure to strike, lake trout need a fast unchanging speed to retrieve. Lake trout also have small mouths, casting small spoons or Mepps number 2's work the best. Crankbaits and soft baits also work well for bigger lake trout.


Trolling for lake trout in the summer requires the bait to be able to get down to at least 30 feet deep. Depending on the lake and how the weather has been, sometimes getting down to 80 to 100 feet is necessary. This can be done in two ways, the first is with a down rigger. Which is a very heavy weight on a wire, that weight is then attached to the fishing line and set to a certain depth to get the lure all the way down. If you are unable to have a down rigger setup, a makeshift down rigger can be set up by tying a two ounce weight to the end of the line and then tying 7-10 feet of monofilament to the other side of the weight. The second set up works especially well with a rod and reel with a line counter on it. On the end of the monofilament tie the lure you want to use, I will sometimes tie on a swivel to make changing baits easier as well as preventing too much line twisting. While trolling I like to use smaller crankbaits or spoons between 2 and 5 mph. Trolling works well when looking for where in the lake the fish are, covering a lot of water quickly. If after a while and going over schools of fish without any hits jigging may work better.


Once a school has been found jigging can be a good way to see what colors are working on that day. When jigging for lake trout let the jig go all the way to the bottom and try a couple different retrieves. When a trout hits it will feel like you have hooked the bottom. Trout have bony mouths, making a solid hook set to be difficult. With trout it is very important to have the drag set properly and play the fish, making sure the line does not have a chance to go slack. Some great jigs for trout are white squids, yellow or white/red slabs, flashy spoons and Mepps #2. I have caught multiple trout on these and have plenty of "the ones that got away" stories using these lures as well. If the trout are not going after artificial jigs, using minnows on a white or yellow jig head has produced a good number of trout as well.

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