Spring the prime time for catching lake trout

Across Northwestern Ontario, we are fortunate to have the great lake trout fishing opportunities that we do. They are a fragile fish that require deep, clear, and cold water to survive–and we have a bunch of it.
While lake trout spend much of the summer in deep water, spring is prime time to catch them because they can be found in shallow water and they usually are in the mood to eat.
There are several aspects of fishing for lake trout that appeal to anglers, the first of which is that most of the water they inhabit is remote with beautiful scenery.
These fish fight as hard as any species we have across Sunset Country, they are pretty good to eat, and they are relatively easy to catch, especially at this time of year.
When it comes to catching lake trout in the spring, trolling is a great tactic because it allows you to cover a lot of water. And in doing so, you’re going to put your lure in contact with fish.
My favourite trolling baits include spoons or minnow-imitating crankbaits.
Monitoring the speed on my GPS, usually I want to be moving in the 2.5-3.5 m.p.h. range.
When it comes to selecting your lures, you should consider the size of fish in the water you’re fishing. On many of the smaller backwater lakes, there are great numbers of fish but not as many really big lake trout.
If you get on one of the larger lakes like Dryberry or Lake of the Woods, where bigger fish are known to exist, you may want to try larger lures. I have caught lake trout before that have had two- to three-pound burbot or suckers sticking out of their throats so they will take down a big bait.
Trolling is great because it quickly can give you an idea of the depth the fish are in and the type of structure they are relating to. If you are trolling and keep getting bites in 25 feet of water, then that may be a depth to stay focused on.
Sometimes these fish show up at the mouths of the shallow mud bays where they will feed on perch; other times it could be main lake points.
Once you have an idea of where lake trout are hanging around, both casting and jigging can produce fish, as well. I like to use four- or five-inch soft plastic minnow imitators like an Impulse Smelt Minnow on a 3/8 to three-quarter ounce jig.
This also is a great bait to drop down on fish that you see on your sonar units.
In the next week or two, if you get out on some lake trout water, one of the best ways to know that you are hitting the bite perfectly is if you see flying ants on the water. I’m not sure exactly what it is but for a week or two in the spring that the flying ants are hatching always has been the best time to catch lake trout.
You will notice these fish puking them up when you’re fighting them and their bellies will be full of them, as well, particularly on some of the smaller lakes.
Lake trout are a great-eating fish but anglers should know they are a very slow-growing fish so please, folks, release the big ones. They are so much fun to catch.
We’re lucky that we have the great opportunities that we do right here in Sunset Country, so let’s all take care of them. On most waters in our region, lake trout grow at a rate of about a half-pound per year so if you killed a 10-pound trout, it would take nearly 20 years to replace that fish.
This early-season opportunity only lasts for a few weeks in the spring before lake trout move to deeper water for the rest of the summer. So if you are thinking about a fishing trip this coming weekend, you should take advantage of this great spring-time bite.

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