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Kings or Trout - Big Tournament


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If you are fishing in a big tournament, should you go after your king limit first, or trout?

If you do go after kings first, and have your limit of kings, do you target lake trout or steelhead to complete out your limit for the tourney?

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YAY!!! My favorite discussion topic about tournaments!!!

First, I will say this depends somewhat on the time of year and the location on the lake you are fishing. Generally, almost all the time, we go and catch our Trout limit first. For example, this is very evident in St. Joe and South Haven. The kings tend to bite all day long and there is usually a lot of them in that area in May; so catching 9 or 12 Kings usually only takes an hour or so. We may spend up to 3 hours trying to catch our Trout limit. Sometimes we are totally devoted with Trout tactics and sometimes we still have a few salmon rods out there.

Targeting Lake Trout or Steelhead is basically personal preference, with some knowledge of the area and what species can be found more easily that time of the year in your locations. Personally, we like to catch Lake Trout so if there are Lake Trout in the area we will go and target them before Steelhead. We have the most confidence catching Kings and Lake Trout.

A few years ago we did run 20 miles west to catch Steelhead and then ran back in to catch our Kings. Also, a few years ago, in South Haven, the BIGGER kings tended to bite later on in the morning, so we goofed around with our Trout until the late morning BIGGER king bite came around.

Basically, days of PRE-FISHING determines what species you will target and in what order. Being familar with the area, currents, structure, etc. are very helpful in determing where certain species may be and what time of day they bite best.

If there are bonus points in a tournament for Trout, we will definitely spend A LOT of time pre-fishing and concentrate on catching the bonus points fish. The bonus points may give you that extra step against the other competitors that is always a plus when fishing in tournaments.

In the professional division, usually the boat that catches their limit both days is in the top 2 or 3 guaranteed; when Trout are needed to be caught.

Tournaments are stressful and take a lot of careful thought on what decisions to do when and where. Some days the decisions fail and other days they pay off. That is where the luck comes into the picture!!!!

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Most smaller lake trout live in the 70-110 foot depths. If you can find structure and quick depth changes, that is an excellent place for trout to be. Bigger trout are normally in deeper water and are suspended or on the bottom. The suspended trout in deeper water are almost always decent sized and willing to bite with their desired presentation.

We try to locate alewives and baitfish on the bottom. Lake trout like to eat, even though they don't grow quickly If you can find some food, lake trout should be in the area somewhere. Lake trout usually do not tend to move quickly like salmon can overnight. But, of course when it comes tournament time, the huge numbers of lake trout always disappear. :)

There are a lot of specific variables involved with catching lake trout consistently, the most important being locating them and then figuring out their desired presentation.

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Again, this depends on what sized Salmon you have been catching while PRE-FISHING. There may be large salmon out deep and there may be smaller salmon. Usually, you will catch salmon while fishing for Steelhead anyways. Your speed is faster and more lures are Steelhead and Salmon type lures, unlike while specifically fishing for Lake Trout.

A lot of guys catch their 9 Salmon and then go and fish for Steelhead and you just continue to catch more and more Kings and have to throw them back; dead or alive.

There are a ton of different ways you can look at the tournaments and your plan of attack. The best way to get used to the tournament atmosphere is to go fun fishing and try to act like you are in a tournament to become familar with the certain techniques and ways you would like to handle things. Just like any other sport; practice, practice, and practice. :)

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