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Freshwater Salmon and Trout
Written by Terry Wickstrom   
Monday, 01 April 1996
One of the most exciting fishing experiences, and the best opportunity for most freshwater Anglers in North America to catch a "big" fish, is the Lake Trout (Mackinaw) fishing of the Rocky Mountains and the Canadian Shield lakes.

Fish/Tec on Fishing 

One of the most exciting fishing experiences, and the best opportunity for most freshwater Anglers in North America to catch a "big" fish, is the Lake Trout (Mackinaw) fishing of the Rocky Mountains and the Canadian Shield lakes.

For most of the year these "eating machines" are in deep water and not easily accessible to the average angler, or the lake is covered with ice (another exciting time but a different story). During two periods of the year, these fish move shallow and become much more accessible, not only from a boat but also from shore. These two times are right after Ice out in the spring (April, May) and late fall prior to freeze up (October through December). During both periods, the Lake Trout take advantage of cooler, more comfortable water to move shallow and forage on other species that are either spawning or feeding shallow. In the fall the Lake Trout also move in to spawn in rocky areas themselves.

In the spring and fall look for these fish in 30 feet or water or shallower. On points with deep water access, mid lake humps, rip-rap (dam faces), and bluff banks.

Many techniques can be used to take these fish both from shore or a boat. A number of anglers soak a piece of sucker meat or a whole dead sucker near the bottom. Other people will cast or troll crankbaits or spoons. Paul Navarre from the Circle H Lodge on Lake Granby in Colorado has had good success with an "Erie Derie" weight forward spinner. By the way, its not a bad idea to have lunch at Paul's place. He fishes Lake Granby and is more than willing to share good information. The number one (and my favorite) way to catch these fish is by casting or by vertical jigging a tube jig tipped with a small piece of sucker meat. One day on Lake Granby Rick Miller, a Fish/Tec staff member, and I anchored in approximately 25 feet of water off of a rip-rap dike. We cast, parallel to the dam, using tube jigs on 1/2 ounce jig heads tipped with sucker meat. We worked them back to the boat just above the rocks then vertically jigged right below the boat. In four hours of fishing we averaged a Lake Trout every 15 minutes. Adding to the excitement of constant action, is the potential for a 20 to 30 pound fish at any time.

Another time, while fishing Crow Lake in Ontario Canada with Greg Clusiau of Minnesota's famous Jawbreaker Guide Service, we had one boat trolling, using down riggers, while the other boat vertically jigged with tube jigs and spoons. The people who were trolling were able to catch a few more fish, but when it came time to switch boats everybody wanted to be in the boat that was jigging. It is just so much fun to catch these big fish in this manner using light tackle.

Do yourself a favor, check with tackle stores, guides, and lodges in the areas where these lakes are located. Do a little research and mark your calendar for a couple of the year's best fishing trips.

Note: Many lakes have special regulations on Lake Trout. Be sure to check the regulations. If you do catch a lunker, photograph and measure it and then release it. It takes a long time to grow a 20 pound Lake Trout. If you're hungry, keep a couple of 20 inch fish--they taste better anyway.

Terry

The author, Terry Wickstrom, serves on the pro staff of several manufacturers and is a member of the Fish/Tec staff which specializes in presenting educational seminars at sports shows, and tackle shops throughout North America . If you have computer online service Terry does a feature article on a sight called the adventure net at: http://www.AdventureNet.com/go4it. You will also find his articles appearing in news papers and magazines throughout the US and Canada.

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