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Targeting Lake Trout

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I was at a salmon clinic about 4 years ago and the person teaching the class (some big, successful tournament / charter fisherman) was asked about targeting lake trout.  He showed the set up he ran which was basically a dodger trailed by a Spin N' Glo.  The biggest tip he gave was to limit the number of lines you are putting down low, just above the bottom.  He said his catch rate actually decreased with the more lines he ran that hugged the bottom.  Because of this, he only runs 1 line down deep for Lake Trout.

I am wondering what you guys think of that and if there are other presentations I should try other than the dodger and Spin N' Glo set up.  I was thinking about trying a couple of SWRs down deep and seeing if that does a better job of not spooking them.  Also, can you effectively target them without riggers?  I've caught some suspended Lakers on my 300 Cu before, but I'm more interested in ways to target that bottom 10 feet and I'm not sure how accurate I can be with my long lines.

Feedback?  Suggestions?

Thanks!

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I target lakers, you can almost guarantee a laker or more per trip. The second thing I target is steelhead. Then I put a few lines in the wheelhouse of salmon "waters". I have caught more suspended lakers and high water column salmon this year than most other years. My spread is my middle rigger thumps bottom with a fly with a spinnie on it behind a monster of a white paddle. That never changes (biggest producer). Then my 2 corner riggers at 10 to 15 ft off bottom. Then my low divers tick bottom with laker gear on it. My high divers are at the thermal break with a rotator of some sort and a fly. On my coppers lately I've been running big lures. Then I usually have a few mag lips out. Man those have been a salmon getter this year.

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Wire divers work good, just have to let them way out and bump bottom or be very close to it. Spin doctors work too with spin and glows, they are more speed forgiving than dodgers if you want to target salmon higher in the water column too.

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3 minutes ago, EdB said:

Wire divers work good, just have to let them way out and bump bottom or be very close to it. Spin doctors work too with spin and glows, they are more speed forgiving than dodgers if you want to target salmon higher in the water column too.

Do you use your charts to determine how much line to let out on the wire divers or do you let line out until you feel it hit bottom and then pull a little line in so it runs just above bottom?  I worry about letting it hit bottom before because I've found I'm pretty good at catching zebra mussels on my hooks.

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6 minutes ago, Lured Inn said:

I target lakers, you can almost guarantee a laker or more per trip. The second thing I target is steelhead. Then I put a few lines in the wheelhouse of salmon "waters". I have caught more suspended lakers and high water column salmon this year than most other years. My spread is my middle rigger thumps bottom with a fly with a spinnie on it behind a monster of a white paddle. That never changes (biggest producer). Then my 2 corner riggers at 10 to 15 ft off bottom. Then my low divers tick bottom with laker gear on it. My high divers are at the thermal break with a rotator of some sort and a fly. On my coppers lately I've been running big lures. Then I usually have a few mag lips out. Man those have been a salmon getter this year.

Sent from my XT1565 using Great Lakes Fisherman Mobile App
 

Thanks.  I've never tried the map lips.  I might add those to my spread.  My boat is in Saginaw Bay right now.  I've been learning how to catch walleye this spring and summer.  But I'm putting it back in Lake Michigan at the end of the month and will try your suggestions.  Thanks.

 

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If your looking to catch lakers don't be afraid of running more than one rigger deep. I successfully run four riggers all the time and have been doing it for years. All I suggest is you stager leader length from balls. I like running lighter balls on rear of boat for more blowback too. I run all sorts of tackle from dodgers and flys,squids and spin and glows to spoons. Check out gl-tackle.com or his eBay fishknocker. I have been fishing there gear for a couple of years and put a ton of fish in the box. IMG_1491271301.064778.jpg. Good luck.


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I don't agree with 1 rigger. Lakers save my trips a lot. A spin and glow is probably the key to lakers in most cases. We typically run them behind a 8" paddle or a dodger and the spin and glow also has a 2" fly and some beads. I run out of Chicago and down here slow (1.8kt-2.0kt)is great for lakers but I also have found many times they want it fast like 3kt plus. I typically run a rigger 5-10' off the bottom and one thumping bottom. WIth WIRE not braid Dipseys to get bottom let out enough so you are say 20' from the bottom. Then set the drag so it creeps out and stop it once it finds bottom. We have a flat bottom so we can get away with this. Rocky areas probably not possible. Need to use wire or you will get cut off.

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I have done well with only my two downriggers skipping the bottom when the boat rolled in the waves. I also run a diver off each side but I do not let them contact bottom because I don't debris on my divers. The spin docs and spin and glows don't usually pic up bottom debris because the spin n glow floats and usually stays clear of the bottom. Expereiment wih lead lengths behind the ball though. One year south of Ludington we were getting the lake trout with a 70 ft lead behind the ball with tin can dodgers and spin and glows. A local charter captain was struggling with catching trout near us that day. After talking with him on the phone he could not believe we were running that long of lead. He tried it and started to catch fish. I have also had days in Frankfort where we only ran 15 ft leads and caught limits. Good luck .

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Every area is different but yes more than one on bottom. If you are fishing a steep break let one with a 8 or 10 lb ball hit bottom on the shallow side then go with the heavy  ball on the other side. You are compensated for the ball rolling down hill and not tangleing. If in a flatish are it wont matter and could drag a chute rigger for three. Dodgers or fish catchers or spin docs with a peanut spin and glo or fly and squid even clean spoons will all nail them. They will tell you what they want. Imo waste to try and target them with divers unless you really don't think you will hit any other species as the above will keep you in lake trout. You also can still go other species speeds and still catch lakers by playing with the lead lengths and action of all the above wich is why i quit cowbells. 

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