By Jesse Rotin
Lakes come in all shapes and sizes, some shallow, some deep but no matter the lake they all have an environment fit for a trout. Unlike river trout which sit in running water and wait for the flow to bring food items to them, lake trout must keep swimming to survive and find prey. This can make lake trout somewhat more selective, however because of the expanse of water being larger than that of a river, trout can reach double digit sizes.
Break It Down
As the saying goes, find the food, find the fish and it couldn’t be any more true with trout. Most trout tucker seems to linger around the fringes of a lake beneath cover, for example weed beds, rocks and sunken timber. However, wind can play major roles on lakes and at times push food items right across the lake and the trout will follow. Anglers should pay close attention to these wind-blown locations as the trout won’t be too far away. This doesn’t mean that every trout in the lake will be in that one area but it can eliminate the less likely spots.
Tell Me When and I’m There
Now we all love beautiful sunny days with very little wind but unfortunately these still and quiet conditions don’t always work in the fish’s favour. If I had to sum up the best conditions for lake trout then I’d probably have to say, picture a bleak day, rain coming in sideways and wind chill that could just about snap freeze your fingers and you’re cooking with trout, I mean gas. The only reason for this I can think of, is cover, anytime a species is comfortable from predators but can also sneak up on prey is in my view, the best time for anglers to chase them. Now I’m definitely not suggesting going out in these freezing cold times and catching hypothermia, but use dull conditions to your advantage.
Pack Your Bags
If you had to choose an outfit to do it all on trout, then it’s hard to pass up the ever reliable 2-4kg setup. Usually something light and comfortable yet has enough punch to cast lures into a strong breeze if needed. Rods around the 7ft mark are ideal whether fishing from the shore or on a boat and reels in 2000-2500 will be sufficient.
* Rod & Reel: TD Black Grubbin 702LFS/ Daiwa Freams LT 2500
* Mainline: 8lb J-Braid Grand (Island blue)/ 8lb J-Thread Nylon
* Leader: 8lb J-Thread Fluorocarbon
Lure Me In
Although quite inquisitive, trout can be highly wary critters and at times fool anglers by appearing interested in what they’re offering, yet never actually having a crack. The answer is to be stealthy and mix things up, whether that be via your retrieve or lure.
Trout can eat lures retrieved in a steady manner but add some twitches into the equation and let me tell you, they cannot resist. Imagine a trout trying to sneak up behind a lure but every time it gets close to the potential food item, it gets away and it catches up but just as it does, it’s gone again; this drives them crazy and eventually the fish is left to make a split-second decision on whether it’s worth it or retreat. Usually, their curiosity gets the better of them, therefore giving an angler a higher chance of a strike.
When it comes to hardbodied lures, just like retrieves, it can help to have an erratic action and some of my favourites don’t dive deep at all but swim with an irregular motion, which draw trout in, even from the depths.
Soft plastics are another quite deadly and growing method to use on trout. The advantages of soft plastics are that they are subtle and offer a more natural approach, while allowing an angler to cover more ground and differing depths. Paddle tail minnows provide plenty of vibration from their kicking tails which require very minimal action imparted by anglers, plus having a profile somewhat similar to that of a baitfish is probably what makes them the most frequently chosen design when chasing trout. Daiwa’s Bait Junkie Minnows are a favourite of mine and with their thin tail wrist and broad tail, are a dead ringer for a baitfish.
Metal vibes are very underused and underestimated lures that feature qualities like great casting distance, quick sink time and a shimmy that trout find irresistible.
No matter the lure, colours can be important and keeping a close eye on the local food source can pay dividends. Natural colours seem to yield the best results but never underestimate bright pink and orange, believe me, they work.
My Go-To Lures
* Double Clutch 60SP, 75SP, 95SP
* Dr Minnow 7F
* 2.5" & 3" Bait Junkie Minnow
* Steez Metal Vibe (3.5gm, 5gm, 7gm)