I finally got to try out my new Echotail bladebait made by Vibrations Tackle, LLC on some lake trout! It was a great success, too!
Saturday started off VERY cold (at least for us Yoopers) at 5 below F, so I wasn’t in a hurry to get out on the ice. There are lots of closer places to fish,, but since I was after lake trout and heard the fishing has been good out of Pequaming, I made the hour long drive from Calumet. By the time I got there, I think the temp was up to a balmy 8 degrees, with calm winds and sunshine, so it felt pretty warm. With a quick stop off at Indian Country Sports in L’Anse to get some sucker fillets for bait I ran into some Chicagoan’s who were also heading to the same place.
One of them asked, “Have you ever done this before?” “Well, I never fished out of Pequaming and most of my fishing has been from a boat, but I’m no stranger to lake trout,” I said.
We fished in the same area and, so they requested that I let them know if I catch anything. They set their lines in a little shallower water, from the advice of Steve at ICS. I set up a little deeper – 270 feet of water after drilling 2 holes through 2 feet of hard ice, I set one heavy jig (5 oz.) with a big chunk of sucker bait on it (for chum bait) near the bottom and fished through the other hole, just 4 feet away. My fishing line was tipped with a 2-1/2 oz Echo-tail with white glow paint (that actually glows greenish) and hooked on a small piece of sucker. I think I hooked and hauled up my first laker after about 20 minutes. After catching 2 more, the neighbor buddies came to fish closer looking for some tips… they hadn’t had any bites yet, but after a short time, one of them missed a hit. He said he wasn’t paying enough attention when it hit, so he didn’t have a chance to set the hook.
“How much to do you move your jig?” I vary it from none to lots.
“What are you using for bait?” I started with sucker, but now have a piece of trout belly fat because it stays on better.
“How deep are you fishing?” For lake trout, you NEED to be on the bottom. (when ice fishing)
“How do you find bottom?” Count your wraps as you let it down… it should be about 145 wraps, which is 270 feet at 2 feet per wrap.
“I’ve been watching you move your jig up and down and mirroring your moves, but I’m still not getting ‘em.” Eugene says. “Oh, I think I just had a bite!”
“Well, that’s the other thing, when you feel anything at all, you need to set the hook immediately.” I tell him.
As the sun was getting low on the western horizon, I had my limit, so I was trying to catch one for Them, but UN-successfully.
As we were leaving, Eugene comments “I don’t know how you do it, there were 3 of us and we’re going home skunked…”
“Well, fishing for lake trout is a deep subject you know.”
By the way, when I got back home, I took out a lake trout study http://www.glifwc.org/Reports/Project%20Report%2004-01.pdf that shows depths and temperatures of water that tagged lake trout inhabited. In this study, 124 Lakers were tagged with monitoring chips and released in Lake Superior, then 15 of them were caught by fishermen and returned to for analysis. It’s a very interesting study and a lot can be learned from it, but if I had used it to decide how deep to fish, I’d have been at 120 feet, not 270.