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cyclones30
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06/18/2019 11:14PM
We were on Knife and Cherry for the most part for 7 days last week. The weather was changing constantly and cooled off which I'm sure didn't help the fishing. However, we tried for a bit on the north arm of knife, quite a few hours on Cherry, and maybe another 4 hours on SAK and came away with a total of 1 lake trout. (which got my wife the trip grand slam)

No electronics, just looking at contours on our maps we were fishing in anything from 20 to 120' of water and our lures were anywhere from 10 to 50'+ down. We mostly used little cleos which is what the one was caught on and we did well with last year. I also experimented with jig/plastic and some cranks. Any post-trip thoughts on what I should do differently next time? (other than hope for more consistent weather or take a depth finder....)
 
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bobbernumber3
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06/19/2019 07:02AM
I would suggest flutter spoons. The light weight gives more action at slow speed.
 
06/19/2019 07:41AM
You know sometimes they just don’t bite well. You might not have done anything wrong. With that said my experience is spoons are very hit or miss. It can be hard to get the depth right. I would of used crank baits—-they need to be shiny/reflective if the sun was out deep divers and long line them at least 100’. I wrote an article about it in the BWJ in the ‘09 fall or winter issue with more details.

T
 
mcsweem
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06/19/2019 09:04AM
cyclones30: "We were on Knife and Cherry for the most part for 7 days last week. The weather was changing constantly and cooled off which I'm sure didn't help the fishing. However, we tried for a bit on the north arm of knife, quite a few hours on Cherry, and maybe another 4 hours on SAK and came away with a total of 1 lake trout. (which got my wife the trip grand slam)

No electronics, just looking at contours on our maps we were fishing in anything from 20 to 120' of water and our lures were anywhere from 10 to 50'+ down. We mostly used little cleos which is what the one was caught on and we did well with last year. I also experimented with jig/plastic and some cranks. Any post-trip thoughts on what I should do differently next time? (other than hope for more consistent weather or take a depth finder....) "


My guess would be either they weren't hungry , or you might have been trolling too fast we average about .5 to.8 mph according to our gps, plus I also use a flutter spoon behind a dipsy diver
 
mcsweem
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06/19/2019 09:07AM
timatkn: "You know sometimes they just don’t bite well. You might not have done anything wrong. With that said my experience is spoons are very hit or miss. It can be hard to get the depth right. I would of used crank baits—-they need to be shiny/reflective if the sun was out deep divers and long line them at least 100’. I wrote an article about it in the BWJ in the ‘09 fall or winter issue with more details.


T"


I agree I let at least 100' out and more often 150'
 
thegildedgopher
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06/19/2019 09:21AM
mcsweem: "cyclones30: "We were on Knife and Cherry for the most part for 7 days last week. The weather was changing constantly and cooled off which I'm sure didn't help the fishing. However, we tried for a bit on the north arm of knife, quite a few hours on Cherry, and maybe another 4 hours on SAK and came away with a total of 1 lake trout. (which got my wife the trip grand slam)


No electronics, just looking at contours on our maps we were fishing in anything from 20 to 120' of water and our lures were anywhere from 10 to 50'+ down. We mostly used little cleos which is what the one was caught on and we did well with last year. I also experimented with jig/plastic and some cranks. Any post-trip thoughts on what I should do differently next time? (other than hope for more consistent weather or take a depth finder....) "



My guess would be either they weren't hungry , or you might have been trolling too fast we average about .5 to.8 mph according to our gps, plus I also use a flutter spoon behind a dipsy diver "



Or possibly too slow. I had the luxury of gas and electric motors plus good sonar and maps on Clearwater last week. All of our fish came at 2 to 2.2 mph speed over ground. We're pretty methodic, we find a fishy stretch and we troll it repeatedly with different baits, different speeds, different depths, S-curve or straight line, consistent speed or surging. All of that and 10 hours of fishing netted us 3 trout so it's not like we slayed 'em, just got lucky on a nice one.

We tried a variety of different spoons, hair jigs, tubes, and crank baits in different sizes, profiles, colors. Probably 20 different presentations total. And the only thing we could get bit on was a jointed flicker shad on leadcore line at 2mph. I'm guessing I wasn't the only guy catching a few trout on the gunflint last week, but I'm probably the only one who showed them that bait in that way. It was one of the last things in my box I hadn't tried yet. New to my kit this year, I had never used it.

 
cyclones30
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06/19/2019 09:27AM
mcsweem: "timatkn: "You know sometimes they just don’t bite well. You might not have done anything wrong. With that said my experience is spoons are very hit or miss. It can be hard to get the depth right. I would of used crank baits—-they need to be shiny/reflective if the sun was out deep divers and long line them at least 100’. I wrote an article about it in the BWJ in the ‘09 fall or winter issue with more details.



T"



I agree I let at least 100' out and more often 150'"


That's including the weight of the diver? I could see that if just relying on the crank or spoon. I had 1 to 2oz of weight ahead of our lures and we were going pretty slow at times on some drifts where our lines were nearly vertical due to the weight
 
The Great Outdoors
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06/19/2019 09:41AM
You may have been fishing too deep with water temps low as they are.
This time of year Trout could be in as little as 10 FOW, usually on the edge of points or reefs where there is an abrupt change in depth.
 
AmarilloJim
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06/19/2019 10:42AM
If you don't know how deep your bait is or how deep the water is that you are in, it is kind of like shooting in the dark. Hard to get a pattern. I was in the Q 2 weeks ago and the water was still in the low 50's. Later in the day the LT were high in the water column, especially if it was sunny. I trolled a crankbait 10' down over water that was 15-150' deep and caught LT in multiple lakes under this condition. If they were not rising or moving up on shallower structure, I contour trolled 30-40' deep with success.
 
cyclones30
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06/19/2019 11:36AM
Thanks, if anything I was guessing we were too deep. Being on those super clear waters, at times I was judging if I could see my sinker/lure when directly below the boat (20'+) or how far past that point I dropped it. Obviously after you start trolling/drifting your lure depth rises some with the same amount of line out but that was my WAG as to how we were doing.

Looking back, I should have done more without the weights to get some more shallow baits but my wife had hers fairly shallow quite often but with the weight she had on it was somewhat close to the canoe.
 
old_salt
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06/19/2019 01:29PM
My best advice is to start using a depth finder. Early in the season, lakers tend to be shallow with easy quick access to deep water. I would focus on the edges of holes and reefs which is difficult to find without electronics. Deep cranks can really make a difference.
 
missmolly
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06/19/2019 01:39PM
The Great Outdoors: "You may have been fishing too deep with water temps low as they are.
This time of year Trout could be in as little as 10 FOW, usually on the edge of points or reefs where there is an abrupt change in depth."


One cool summer in July, my dad and I caught over 20 lake trout a mere ten to fifteen feet from shore in 10' of water.
 
AmarilloJim
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06/19/2019 02:04PM
cyclones30: "Thanks, if anything I was guessing we were too deep. Being on those super clear waters, at times I was judging if I could see my sinker/lure when directly below the boat (20'+) or how far past that point I dropped it. Obviously after you start trolling/drifting your lure depth rises some with the same amount of line out but that was my WAG as to how we were doing.


Looking back, I should have done more without the weights to get some more shallow baits but my wife had hers fairly shallow quite often but with the weight she had on it was somewhat close to the canoe. "

I usually use a DDHJ10 75-80' back to get down 10'. If I suspect shallower fish I will put on a HJ12 100-120' back(need to get the bait away from the canoe).
I actually caught a nice one in North Bay this last trip in 6' of water with the later set up.
 
shock
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06/19/2019 08:13PM
this is a great thread/post , with some great comments !
we all read and some experience fishing applications/protocol with success , meaning do what everyone has printed or talked about for success for maybe that certain time of the year. But as MM commented on , an unusual situation , (out of the norm) and GG brought up about maybe too slow and love the comment on S-trolling , the pause and go is a huge trigger.
but sometimes textbook info doesnt work. i dont have an answer for the O.P. but sometimes it is trying something out of the norm.
and lets face it even on a great fishery , finding & catching fish , is not always easy. weather does dictate a lot of it.
we all make our plans/dates to go into the BW or Q and we can only find out what mother nature gives us on those dates ;)
 
cyclones30
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06/19/2019 10:16PM
Yep, I agree. We had a blast and my wife felt even better since she was the only one to get a laker and also then the grand slam. We did well on them last year at the same time on Makwa but it was much warmer water last year. I haven't brought myself to pack a depth finder yet but it may happen eventually.
 
Mnpat
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06/19/2019 10:51PM
The Great Outdoors: "You may have been fishing too deep with water temps low as they are.
This time of year Trout could be in as little as 10 FOW, usually on the edge of points or reefs where there is an abrupt change in depth."

Exactly
You can fish them with a good pair of sunglasses. In my experience casting these areas is better than trolling. Many times in warmer bays not more than 40’ deep.
 
Basspro69
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06/20/2019 10:37PM
The Great Outdoors: "You may have been fishing too deep with water temps low as they are.
This time of year Trout could be in as little as 10 FOW, usually on the edge of points or reefs where there is an abrupt change in depth."
Exactly !
 
06/23/2019 10:56AM
The Great Outdoors: "You may have been fishing too deep with water temps low as they are.
This time of year Trout could be in as little as 10 FOW, usually on the edge of points or reefs where there is an abrupt change in depth."


They can also be shallow over 150’ holes. A depth finder might of helped, you can sometimes mark schools of Cisco’s—I don’t mark Lakers very often but I see baitfish a lot and that can tell you what depth the Lakers are at. Also Lakers tend to hunt up, if you are below them they might not ever see your lure. I’ve had Lakers bust lures on top of the water in 80 degree temps in August. They will come up a long way sometimes to eat.

T
 
pastorjsackett
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06/23/2019 04:55PM
We've had luck in this area at this time of year using deep diving Tail Dancers, pretty large size. Blue on top with a red belly.

I'm pretty sure the fish are suspended early in the year though I am no expert. We just power troll those deep divers everywhere we travel.

 
bobbernumber3
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06/23/2019 06:14PM
timatkn: "The Great Outdoors: "You may have been fishing too deep with water temps low as they are.
This time of year Trout could be in as little as 10 FOW, usually on the edge of points or reefs where there is an abrupt change in depth."


They can also be shallow over 150’ holes. A depth finder might of helped, you can sometimes mark schools of Cisco’s—I don’t mark Lakers very often but I see baitfish a lot and that can tell you what depth the Lakers are at. Also Lakers tend to hunt up, if you are below them they might not ever see your lure. I’ve had Lakers bust lures on top of the water in 80 degree temps in August. They will come up a long way sometimes to eat.

T"


On a calm morning, my trolling partner and I scan the lake surface for baitfish ripples. There is a reason they are mid-lake and on the surface. It is a good indicator of where the Lakers are. We also look for feeding loons in deep water and troll in their area.
 
bobbernumber3
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06/23/2019 06:14PM
.
 
lzika
 
06/24/2019 01:12PM
Hi Cyclone,

We were in Quetico June 10-14 and the 18-21. We have always jigged (bucktails/tube jigs/snap raps/vibratos) exclusively, but tried trolling for them for the first time this year. We used very heavy weights (bottom bouncers and 3 way swivels) with a 5' 20 lb. fluoro leader. We tried trolling different lures, but definitely had the best luck with flutter spoons (as previously mentioned). We were able to catch a few on Little Cleos, but the flutter spoons were much more productive. I couldn't get a hit on a rapala of any sort. Even as early as June 10, we found them in 60' of water, and the majority of the trout (as indicated on the graph) were within 10' off the bottom, with many only a few feet off. We also found some nice ones in 45' of water and 80' as well. If it was dead calm, the jigs didn't work very well, so we trolled and were able to catch them.

What did you do wrong? Can't help you there. If you know you're on fish and you've thrown every lure in the box at them and they won't bite, then they aren't feeding and you might as well go for something else...
 
thegildedgopher
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06/24/2019 01:33PM
We've had a variety of different people chime in here, which has basically narrowed it down to "they're probably somewhere between 10 feet deep and on the very bottom in 100 fow."

This tells me that without either A) years of experience, or B) a working sonar, all you really have is a shot in the dark. If I had to choose one of the two I'd take the experience. But if you've got $200 to throw at an entry-level sonar you can begin to change the learning curve.
 
Mnpat
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06/24/2019 03:04PM
Each lake is different. The shallow fish I have caught in different lakes have always had a huge belly full of Hellgrammites. On those lakes I am not anywhere near deep water. Usually miles away. Until the water hits mid 60’s i am casting Shallow. I’m looking for the warmest bay in the lake and the warmest water in that bay. Sunny days and they soak up the sun in the rocks. Lakes with smelt fish differently.
Glad to see someone mention the Sebille vibrato. IMO the best lake trout lure made. I’ve had plenty of days I can catch every fish that comes through while my buddy next to me gets nothing. I’m glad they aren’t $14 any more.
 
thegildedgopher
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06/24/2019 04:01PM
Mnpat: "Each lake is different. The shallow fish I have caught in different lakes have always had a huge belly full of Hellgrammites. On those lakes I am not anywhere near deep water. Usually miles away. Until the water hits mid 60’s i am casting Shallow. I’m looking for the warmest bay in the lake and the warmest water in that bay. Sunny days and they soak up the sun in the rocks. Lakes with smelt fish differently.
Glad to see someone mention the Sebille vibrato. IMO the best lake trout lure made. I’ve had plenty of days I can catch every fish that comes through while my buddy next to me gets nothing. I’m glad they aren’t $14 any more. "


Interesting. So you're saying that on certain lakes you consistently find lake trout hanging out in 60-65 degree water? I'm not trying to be snide, it's just this is contrary to the science about lake trout preferred temps. I have read that lakers literally cannot survive at 65, and that their sweet spot is 48-52. Are you marking them hanging out at these shallow depths in warm waters, or are you just catching them without seeing them on the fish finder? Could it be that they are actually suspended in colder water and just shooting up to feed when the opportunity presents itself, and quickly returning to cold water?

 
The Great Outdoors
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06/24/2019 08:55PM
He may be referring to fishing for Rainbow, Brook, or Splake. I have fished on High Lake north of Ely, and you can see them coming for a night crawler or Leech in shallow water.
Lake Trout are normally that shallow only when surface temps are less than 60 degrees, then hit deeper water.
However, Trout may cruise 20-30 feet down in an area where the water depth can be over 100 feet, and come to the surface to feed.
 
Mnpat
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06/24/2019 09:19PM
The surface temp is just that. Get down 10 to 15 feet it’s different. Best spots are steep straight up and down points off of islands that go from 5 to at least 15ft. They sit on the edges. Best time of the day is sunset. The food is why they are there.
 
thegildedgopher
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06/25/2019 09:38AM
The Great Outdoors:"Lake Trout are normally that shallow only when surface temps are less than 60 degrees, then hit deeper water.
However, Trout may cruise 20-30 feet down in an area where the water depth can be over 100 feet, and come to the surface to feed."


This would be my experience as well.

Mnpat: "The surface temp is just that. Get down 10 to 15 feet it’s different. Best spots are steep straight up and down points off of islands that go from 5 to at least 15ft. They sit on the edges. Best time of the day is sunset. The food is why they are there.
"


Mnpat -- I think part of our difference in experience can be chalked up to the fact that I mostly fish where lakers feed on smelt and cisco, not the insect lakes.
 
Mnpat
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06/25/2019 12:29PM
They eat insects and Cisco's at different times of the year. Just like walleyes and bass.
 
06/25/2019 02:26PM
Mnpat: "Each lake is different. The shallow fish I have caught in different lakes have always had a huge belly full of Hellgrammites. On those lakes I am not anywhere near deep water. Usually miles away. Until the water hits mid 60’s i am casting Shallow. I’m looking for the warmest bay in the lake and the warmest water in that bay. Sunny days and they soak up the sun in the rocks. Lakes with smelt fish differently.
Glad to see someone mention the Sebille vibrato. IMO the best lake trout lure made. I’ve had plenty of days I can catch every fish that comes through while my buddy next to me gets nothing. I’m glad they aren’t $14 any more. "


I understand what you are saying about the temps.

Sebille Vibrato: What size and color? How do you fish it?

T
 
Mnpat
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06/25/2019 07:42PM
Holo greenie and ghostescent are my favorites. 1/2 ounce in the winter seems to work best. In open water you can usually get away with 3/4 or bigger. The difference between a vibrato and a blade bait is the action of the fall. Most fish eat it while it’s falling. Ice fishing inland lakes I drop to bottom and reel up into the hole. Repeat until you contact fish. if you leave it sit make sure it’s at least 20 feet off the bottom. Superior ice fishing drop to bottom jig 30 feet or more of bottom and reel to surface every minute or two. Once you see them come up reel faster. Inland lakes open water I troll, vertical jig, cast and yo yo while drifting.

Damiki is another blade bait that gets great reviews from trout and salmon guys.
 
shock
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06/25/2019 10:27PM
Mnpat: "They eat insects and Cisco's at different times of the year. Just like walleyes and bass. " absolutely , after ice out , there is a underwater life going on and lakers and other species are feasty to the point of having small rocks in there stomachs , all they have to do is breath & eat . but they still want something more substantial then bugs , and thats is a combination of winter kill (deadbait) and year old minnows of what ever species , they all dont get ate there first year in life.
but once these smaller bays warm up , i've found that when the water temp hits that 52*+ they start moving down , before that it should be a no brainer.
 
GopherAdventure
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06/26/2019 07:56PM
I was on Knife, Kek and SAK the very same week and I had a total of two and both were long distance releases (LDR) right at the canoe. It was slow, but I also experienced slow walleye fishing too. Both of my lakers were hooked in about 30 feet of water. I just wish I could have landed one. We ate a lot of smallies on this trip with how slow things were. You’re not alone...I was frustrated as well.

Tony
 
thegildedgopher
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06/27/2019 09:24AM
timatkn: "You know sometimes they just don’t bite well. You might not have done anything wrong."

I fished Grindstone yesterday from 7am 'til about 2:30pm. Was my 2nd skunk of the year on this body of water for lake trout. Sometimes there is almost nothing you can do. I probably marked more good-sized fish than I've ever seen in my 3 years of fishing that lake, mostly hanging out at 50 feet. I threw everything at them, no takers.

One thing I noticed was a MASSIVE amount of forage. I know folks had a tough time getting to the deep smelt holes on this lake this winter due to conditions. Ice was plenty thick, but it's a pretty good hike to those spots and a lot of guys won't go if they can't drive out.

I'm sure this isn't the only reason -- I think there was a high pressure system rolling in as well -- but I can see how my spoons and plugs and tubes and bucktails would be a lousy alternative to live smelt.
 
07/02/2019 06:18PM
Just got back from Oyster and I did very well. I used Tail Dancers and Stinger spoons. I caught fish in 60-100ft. Time of day was key I believe. I caught lakers before 7:00 am and many after 2:00pm until dark. I used a 2oz sinker with the spoons and putting out about all my line. I had some great meals!
 
shock
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07/02/2019 08:43PM
^^^ Very Nice !
 
Zwater
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07/02/2019 08:51PM
shock: "Mnpat: "They eat insects and Cisco's at different times of the year. Just like walleyes and bass. " absolutely , after ice out , there is a underwater life going on and lakers and other species are feasty to the point of having small rocks in there stomachs , all they have to do is breath & eat . but they still want something more substantial then bugs , and thats is a combination of winter kill (deadbait) and year old minnows of what ever species , they all dont get ate there first year in life.
but once these smaller bays warm up , i've found that when the water temp hits that 52*+ they start moving down , before that it should be a no brainer.
"


Never fished Lakers in the Bwca. Thanks for the info. My buddy and I are planning a trip next year to give it a try.
 
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