As a cold water fish, lake trout are quite often associated with deep waters and downriggers. During the spring when water temperatures are still cool, lake trout have plenty of room to roam and chase bait with the cold water dispersed throughout the water column. This means they’re not confined to the depths. Lakers are one of my favourites to fish for and I’ve had plenty of success targeting them without a downrigger. During the summer months I enjoy vertical jigging for them with blade baits when they’re hunkered down deep. Until recently, I had yet to chase them during the spring. Always anxious to try something new, it was time for a spring lake trout mission on Lake Ontario, the land of giants! This also happened to be the first open water trip of the year in my boat. I was ecstatic to say the least!
Trolling on the Big Lake
Although neither of us had ever targeted spring lakers before out on the big lake or even during spring for that matter, Eric and I set out on this venture feeling optimistic. When fishing on such a large body of water, trolling is a great way to cover water. We started off in 30-40 feet of water with the water temperature reading 36 degrees. No major marks showed up on the Humminbird sonar initially but we sent some spoons out at various depths in the water column using the Offshore Tackle Guppy Weights (snap weights) along with the Tadpoles (resettable diving weights) and planer boards.
The First Bite of the Season
The Precision Trolling App is a very handy tool which allows you to calculate how much line is required to achieve a certain lure or weight depth. It’s a good idea to keep a log of your results so you can replicate your program when you have success. About an hour into the first day, one of the reel drags went screaming but only for a brief moment. Not feeling confident yet, I questioned whether we had grazed bottom. Shortly afterward, I stood corrected as another line went tearing off the reel but this time it didn’t stop. The first fish of the open water season was hooked up! This chubby laker set the tone for a fun couple of days on the water!
The bite continued on throughout the day and it sure felt good shaking the dust off and bringing some nice fish aboard the Alumacraft. I must say, in comparison to trolling for walleye, lakers sure give the arms a good workout while bringing them in. They don’t fight real hard but they can be quite heavy! Although it was a warm spring day back on land, we were decked out in winter gear as it was still breezy and cool out on the lake.
Spoon-Fed Lake Trout
We brought along a bunch of different spoons and had success on the Williams HQ in a variety of colours. At first our hits primarily came on the Cajun Orange colour, but eventually all the colours we had out received some attention from hungry lakers. We trolled at a speed of 2 to 2.2 miles per hour.
Big Fish of the Trip
I feel like there’s always drama when a big fish comes along and I have any involvement. After a planer board went screaming backwards and Eric picked up the rod, he could tell it was big. When he finally brought this brute-of-a-fish to the boat, I reached out to net it and only managed to get half the fish inside the net before it FLOPPED back into the lake! It thrashed at the back of the boat, thankfully it was still hooked well. Talk about STRESS! I was able to quickly recover sliding the net underneath, landing the whole fish this time. PHEW! All at once I felt extreme excitement and a bit nauseous. I was so relieved! Some say fishing is relaxing… well I think it took about an hour for me to stop shaking after Eric’s fish came aboard. I am so thankful I didn’t drop it. What a beauty!
The colours on these fish varied quite a bit, some with beautiful bright orange fins. A majority of the fish we caught had clipped fins, indicating that they are stocked fish. This just goes to show how important the local stocking programs are in creating these angling opportunities for us to enjoy!
Canvas Print Giveaway
I have been aiming to add more species to my Let Them Go, Let Them Grow canvas print series, and this beautiful lake trout (above) was perfect for it. I was so focused on getting this fish back in the water and capturing a release shot in the process, that I forgot to weigh it! Oops! Guess I’ll have to try for a bigger one next time to make it official. 🙂 The release shot of this fish turned out beautifully! Check back soon or subscribe below as I will be hosting a lake trout canvas print giveaway! I placed the print order yesterday and will be announcing the contest as soon as the print arrives.
I’m really glad we decided to try something new as it certainly paid off. Thank you so much for stopping by! Please support by blog by subscribing below. You can also find me on my social media channels below: