|Getting ready to release|
Most fly fishing for lake trout is done on lakes and ponds in the spring and fall while the water is cool and the trout are feeding close to the surface on minnows. Anglers appreciate the opportunity to fish for "lakers" at ice out, often casting streamers towards the remaining ice and stripping them slowly or trolling bucktails behind a lake clear wobbler. As the water temperature rises, it is more important to understand the lake trout's habits and habitat. Being carnivorous and a top predator, they follow baitfish, often holding in depth structure or steep ledges waiting to ambush their prey. Fly fishing in deep lakes is a challenge; locating the likely lake trout habitat then presenting your "fly" at the appropriate depth and speed are not easy. I have learned a few tricks that make it easier, like studying the lake or pond's contour map, noting average depth, deep spots, and any extreme drop off or ledge. Another important piece of information that can be gained from a good map are feeder streams or springs that may supply cold water even during the warmest months of the summer. The perfect spot would be a steep drop off near a cool feeder stream. Now the trick is to get your fly to the appropriate depth. I usually use a full sinking line with about a 10 ft leader; it isn't neccasary to use a tapered leader, just straight mono will do, putting a few small split shots about 16 inches from your fly. This will speed its descent to your desired depth. Sometimes I will use a Lake Clear Wobbler in place of the split shot to add weight, flash, and movement to my streamer. If you decide not to use the wobbler, make sure you create extra movement by twitching and changing your trolling speed. I prefer the slow erratic troll that can be created by paddling a canoe, guideboat, or rowboat to the constant speed created by an electric trolling engine. It is very important to troll slowly enough to fish deep but not too slowly that you get hung up on the bottom. Two of my favorite streamers for lake trout are the Black nose dace and the White zonker.
|A nice Laker caught using a 9' 8wt rod and a Hardy St John reel |
the 50 year old Hardy was screaming!