Lake trout lessons

We have been suffering through some awful weather for the last few weeks here in Sunset Country, but the long-range weather reports an end to the wicked cold soon!
It couldn’t come soon enough for me!
Of all the fishing opportunities available to us here, lake trout fishing probably is the best bet for a successful outing at this time of year. While walleyes and crappies may be going through a bit of a mid-winter lull, the lake trout bite is in full swing.
Since trout are, far and away, the most aggressive fish under the ice, we can set up in a fish shack, stay warm, and wait for the trout to come to us.
We have plenty of great trout waters all over our region. Some offer a better chance at a big fish while others provide steady action all day long.
It’s up to you to decide what suits your personality more.
Trout are great eating, but anglers should practise catch-and-release with big fish. They are very slow growing (in many waters they will grow less than a pound per year, so releasing big fish is crucial).
If you kill a 20-pound fish, it will take 20 years just to replace that fish.
The reason I write this is I still run into people who have big trout lying on the ice. They are so fun to catch, especially big fish that fight so hard.
We should consider ourselves lucky to have the opportunity to catch them out our back door.
Look at any trout anglers’ bait arsenal and they surely will have tube baits on board. These bass baits are the most popular trout bait going and for good reason—they produce fish year after year.
But instead of the traditional white tube that most folks use, try a different colour. Chartreuse is one of my favourites. Or on waters where fish feed predominately on bugs and crayfish, try brown or black tubes.
On many of the smaller inland lakes, this is the case.
As far as fishing line goes, lake trout typically are found in deep water, so take off the mono and spool up with some no-stretch braid or superline. Braided line has zero stretch, so anglers can feel bites much easier and hook sets are much more solid.
Tubes will twist your line after a day on the water, so tie a swivel about two feet above your tube and run 10-pound monofilament or fluorocarbon from the swivel to the tube.
These lines are less visible in the water—contributing to more bites.
The biggest bass tournament in the world is taking place this weekend in South Carolina. The Bass Masters Classic is running Friday through Sunday on Lake Hartwell, where anglers are fishing for a $500,000 first prize.
Unfortunately, unless you have an American dish and have access to ESPN2, you will not be able to watch live on TV, but you can watch the weigh-ins live on the Internet.
Meanwhile, I will be in Winnipeg at the Mid-Canada Boat show this weekend.
If you are looking for something to do, make the road trip and check out all the new boats and gear for 2008 at the Convention Centre there.

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