In the summer time, lake trout hit best in the morning between first light and 10:30 am. They will hit better if the surface of the water is dead calm and it’s a clear sky with high pressure. Any other conditions will cause them to slow down. If it’s early spring, the trout seem to feed in other parts of the day. In some lakes, the trout feed aggressively before dark.
Structure and wind
Take a close look at the structure of the shoreline and try to extend the elevation patterns into the lake. If you see a cliff, odds are the water is deep at its face. If you see a string of islands, odds are there is a shallow shoal that runs between them. Trout like drop-offs so you would want to troll parallel to the string of shoals and not over them.
When you drop your line to the bottom, count how many times you let out line. You can get a good estimate of the depth. For lake trout, try to stay in 30 to 60 feet and close to shore. If you come across a spot and catch a trout, odds are there are more of them there.
The wind is very important when trout fishing. Traditionally for warm water fish like walleye or pike, you would fish on the side of the lake where the wind is blowing–the logic being that the fish follow the surface food that it being blown in. With trout it’s the exact opposite. The wind also blows the warm surface water which does not hold enough oxygen for the trout. So, fish the side of the lake where the wind is coming from.
There will be lake trout out in the middle of the lake suspended about 40 to 60 feet down. They are usually in close proximity to schools of bait fish. If you are closer to shore in 40 to 60 feet of water and not catching anything, drop your line down to the bottom so you know how deep you are and then leave your rig at that depth and head out into the open water. In the open water, you will usually catch less trout but they will be bigger. This is not always the true. There are occasions where all the trout are out in the open water, especially when the last few days have been hot with a strong wind that keeps changing direction.
Next time we’ll talk about depths for fishing and catching trout in the middle of summer.