Boundary Waters Quetico Forum :: Fishing Forum :: First Lake Trout
egknuti: "This is where addiction begins:)"
Yup! We got our first last year and now it’s all I think about. We pretty much exclusively fish trout up there now.
Congrats rdgbwca— looks like a tasty meal.
I have listened to podcasts and read advice that is mainly directed toward targeting stream trout. Most of the advice is decidedly on the side of light line and a finesse approach.
I picked the purple deep tail dancer rapala based on the advice on this forum. I don't own a motor boat and I don't recall ever trolling such a large lure. This was the 20 foot rated version, presumably the 30 foot version is even bigger. The place I mail ordered from was sold out of the 30 foot version when I placed my order.
It seems we were decidedly under powered in the pound strength of our line.
The comments about rolling also stick out to me. Locally, I deal with catfish that like to roll. It is advisable to use a rig with a swivel. (Catfish are not line shy.)
I will keep all this advice in mind and go heavier with my set up the next time I target lake trout. Lake trout for dinner is worth the effort.
I know it can get messy getting lines tangled up, but keep making U-turns and zigzagging all over the lake. Lakers like to follow and if that lure doesnt change speed, they will have no incentive to bite as it will seem fake (real baitfish always try to flee from large predators). If you are worried about getting tangled up, alternate one person paddling the boat forward and the other pumping their rod, reeling in slack, letting out line, etc., to give it a little bit more irregular action. I have had dozens of hits reeling up my line to change lures or check for weeds...keep it moving and the lakers will find you.
Also, congrats. Welcome to the club! Just wait until you hook into a 25+ incher, it will change your life.
as far as the laker that got away , you mentioned it was under the canoe. it more than likely rolled on your partner with the slack line and broke the line , always important to put a little muscle on a lake trout when fighting so he cant wrap himself , for that reason i usually roll with #10-#14 mono ,lake trout fishing for the most part isnt finesse, a #15 pound power pro braid is also a good option , can tie directly to a steel/titanium leader or straight to the lure but many will suggest a mono or fluorocarbon leader.
ericinely: "Don't waste your time and money on light line for Lake Trout-while their teeth are small, they are incredibly sharp and their violent head shakes and alligator rolls will shear your line in no time. While they do have incredible eyesite, they are instinctual hunters and will attack almost anything that is swimming away from them. Whether it is heavy Flourocarbon (I've used anywhere from 12-25lb test) or a steel leader, I haven't noticed any diminished attention from lakers using heavier line. If you are worried or are fishing an extremely clear lake (20+ feet of visibility/clarity) go with Flourocarbon instead of a leader.
Agree with everything Eric said here. When we troll for trout it's 25 lb braid with a 12-15lb flourocarbon leader. Combined with reels that have beefy drag, this also means we're not playing the fish out til they're exhausted. We typically land a trout in the 20-25 inch range in under 2 minutes flat, that's with 100-150 feet of line out. We enjoy the burps :)
After setting up camp it was time to rest up for awhile. A plan was formed to troll for lake trout. If that didn’t work out we would fish the evening bite for smallies using a slip bobber and leech.
I rigged my pole with a purple descent deep diving tail dancer. My partner rigged a large spoon. For this trolling session, I would be in the stern and he would be in the bow. As we launched on the shallow side of the peninsula we immediately noticed how differently the unloaded canoe handled. It seemed twitchy after all those miles under load.
We trolled down the peninsula and as we made the sweeping left turn around the point, I reeled in my lure not wanting to risk a snag. We then trolled down the deep side of the peninsula keeping our distance from shore. As we neared the end of the lake we decided to make a large U turn and head back. The trolling continued. My feet started to cramp as I stuck to paddling one side without switching to maintain my lure on one side of the canoe. We started to discuss heading back to camp. To get there we would make a sweeping right turn around the point of the peninsula. As we were making the turn my partner noticed the tell tale twitch in the end of his rod. FISH ON!
I can only describe what happened next as several minutes of canoe country chaos. How many minutes? I don’t know because I was completely absorbed by the events unfolding before me. We had let out a lot of line to troll this deep lake. My bow man definitely had a fish on but my line had gone under the boat and was causing problems. My partner tried to move my line out of his way and it got snagged on his life jacket. I was waiting for him to reel in while thinking that it was probable that our lines were tangled because I was getting weird action on my line corresponding to his efforts to reel in.
In actuality, before I even realized it, we had a double. Based on the location, depth, and lures we were using we had each hooked into a lake trout. My friend continued to reel in as the fish pulled on his line and put a bend in his rod. Finally, his fish bit off the line and was lost along with his spoon. Whatever it was, it proved stronger than the six pound monofilament my friend had been using to hide his line from keen sighted lake trout.
With his line in, I decided to reel in my line. The big rapala I was using creates a lot of drag so I still wasn’t sure that I had a fish on the end of my line. I eventually reeled in enough line to see the tell tale signs of a fish. I was able to get the fish close to the boat and lift it into the canoe.
We made another trolling pass and tried drifting and letting the wind push us. We eventually called it with one fish in the boat.
The lake trout was pan fried in clarified butter over a camp fire. It was accompanied by a fresh potato that had been carried for just such an occasion. We ate the trout skin and all easily picking the bones out of the cooked fish.
It was easily one of the best meals of the trip.
One tip- don't reel in your line when you are trolling around or across a point. Points are fish magnets for multiple species.