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Tip #83 #83 Fishing The Zone For Lake Trout #5

By Captain Jim Hirt

This completes the series of Fishing The Zone For... Please take the time to read Articles 1, 2, 3 and 4. This will greatly enhance your understanding of this Lake Trout article. Let me explain how to be more productive by following some basic rules and using some old and new tools. Activity and habits of fish are dictated by many variables. A rather basic approach will put you on fish and keep you there. I will cover how to find the most productive zones by species. Article number one, two, three and four covered Chinook, Brown Trout, Coho and Rainbow Trout. Now let's look at Lake Trout as it applies to Lake Michigan and other ecosystems.

Zones By Species

Lake Trout are a staple and are relatively easy to catch on Lake Michigan Milwaukee. A twenty-five pound fish is huge in our area for this species. We boated many between eight and twelve pounds and some over twenty. This fish can be easy to find and catch for most anglers; however, correct approach must be followed. With the information in this article you will supplement your daily bag limit on most waters where this fish is found. Allow me to offer environmental preferences for this fish. Breaking each fish down by their preferences is the best way to find steady consistent action on any fish.

Lake Trout Zone By Temperature

Lakers are considered the Bulldog of the lake. They get this reputation from the way they fight. They are not known for long runs or acrobatic jumps. Typically found in deep cold water most of the season this may present a challenge on presentation to anglers.

Once again the answer to putting them in the box is temperature. A thermal break is the way to find them. Thermal break is a point where water changes temperature. Look for them in temperatures between 38 and 50 degrees. The trick to success is presentation.

Location And Forage

The principal types of forage for most fish in Lake Michigan are the Alewife and Goby. You will find Lakers on or suspended near the bottom feeding on this forage. Early spring and late fall is the answer for most anglers because the water is cold and they will be in the upper part of the water column. This does not mean you cannot produce a limit most anytime of the year.

I will talk you through the season for most productive water. As our season starts in early April, the lake is 38 degrees and this moves Lakers to the surface. When May arrives they are on their way out to deeper colder water hanging near the bottom and this is the place to find them the majority of the season. Fall fishing can be prime time for monster lunker Lakers as the water cools and the fish move in for spawning.

What baits are best?

In spring when fishing the top fifteen feet use crankbaits, minnow type lures and small spoons like the regular size Reaper in silver or bright colors sold by Badger Visibility is a factor when the fish move to their summer deep water haunt. The slow metabolism of this fish is dictated by the cold water and requires a very slow 1 to 1.5 mph boat speed. A solid approach of magnum spoons will be your best bet to steady action. Reaper Magnum Glow spoons will afford you the performance and visibility necessary. Eight-inch flashers and dodgers with glow flies or squids are a staple and also work deep in the water column. The distance between the attractor and the fly or squid will vary with the temp of the water. Try two to three times the length of the flasher or about sixteen up to twenty-four inches. A Longer lead on the fly seems to work better in colder water. In summer downriggers are the way to get presentation 80 to 250 feet down. On the surface use Church Tackle Walleye Boards and leadcore are the way to go. I run three or more on each side of the boat working an area over three hundred feet wide. You should set up for Lake Trout with a 1,2,3,4,5 color leadcore. This will give you coverage from 5 to 25 feet. The Church Planer Board will run well at slow speeds and off to the side of the boat out of your travel path.

Hot Lures Define The Day

Let's wrap this up with my favorite lures. For surface to 25 feet crankbaits, minnow type lures and small spoons like the regular size Reaper. In deep presentations 8-inch glow flashers and dodgers with glow flies or squids. My best spoon color near the surface is the Reaper purple/chartreuse Big Joe Silver regular size. Down in the deep dark water Magnum Reaper Green Fox Glow blue/green/white glows the best and glows the longest. Baitfish size should be considered when selecting your spoon size. Vulcan and Reaper spoons are both sold by Good Luck! Jim charters out of Milwaukee, WI. with Blue Max Charters. He can be reached at 414-828-1094 or visit his web site at Copyright© 2009, James J. Hirt, All Rights Reserved