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How To Catch A Lake Trout By: ...someone

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I am heading into Alder Lake in the BWCA with my daughter in the 2nd week of June. The DNR site states that the Lake trout population is up in that and other area lakes. I have never really fished for them. I am looking for some ideas to start with. Lures, Depth, Time of Day, Presentation; you know - complete novice on the subject. I have been to this lake several times before. I know it pretty well. Thanks

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Shoot me an e-mail, I have an IF video on Lakers that might help. rnikko (at) comcast (dot) net. If you'd like I could loan it to you for a while as I have not watched it in quite a while.

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I wrote a guide series for the paper I work for last summer, and one of the pieces was on catching lakers on Bdub lakes.

There are a lot of ways to catch lakers, and this is simply one experienced fisherman's way he does it. Looks like a good way to me, too, though my laker fishing has been mostly limited to shore casting and trolling with downriggers. The times I've been jigging, I've done it like he says and had success.

Figured it would help you.


Ely guide Chris Kleist is only 23 (24 now, I guess), but he started guiding at a surprisingly early age.

Nine years old, would you believe? Kleist said he’d already been with his father on lots of guide trips by that age, and when his dad’s client list overflowed, some of the clients, recognizing the pint-sized angler already knew his stuff, took him on.

“Their big kick was I was too small to pull the cord on the 25-horse,” said Kleist, who’s been guiding ever since and started doing it full-time at 16.

While he targets many species, he knows lakers are one of the most aggressive and powerful.

Here’s how he finds them, hooks them and lands them on.

Deep, but not bottomless

Kleist looks for deeper water, but not terribly deep. From 35 to 80 or 90 feet is common, and he says 50 to 60 feet is a good start. Kleist always takes a portable electronic depth finder when guiding for lakers in canoe country, but recommends that those without them simply canoe in circles for awhile, testing depths. It may look funny, but it’s pretty simple to determine depth by counting your lure down to the bottom or reeling straight up from the bottom and counting reel handle revolutions. He also paddles around until he sees suspended fish on the electronics, then stops to jig them.

The simplest technique is to head to the upwind side of the lake over deep water, drop your jig to the bottom and simply keep jigging as the wind pushes you across the lake.

And jigging is the ticket for deep canoe-country lakers. Kleist favors bucktail jigs in 1/2 and 1 oz. sizes. You can get them bigger, but the lighter weights sink fast enough so you’re not wasting time and drop more slowly than the heavier ones during the jigging process. The slow drop can trigger less aggressive fish.

Tipping the jig with pieces of cisco or smelt or minnow is fine, but Kleist usually doesn’t bother.

“The fish aren’t following it with their nose on it and saying ‘I think that smells pretty good so I’ll bite,’” he said. Rather, lakers like to chase, and Kleist believes they most often hit simply by seeing the flash of the lure and instinctively hitting what looks like a wounded cisco heading for the surface. Jigging spoons such as Krocodiles and other brands work too.

Tough enough stuff

Kleist, with medium to medium-heavy baitcasting tackle and 10- to 12-pound low-stretch monofilament line, drops the jig all the way to the bottom. When the lure hits bottom he immediately sets the hook hard, in case it was a fish that stopped the line instead of the rocks. Then it’s the repeated motion of jigging up hard, reeling down the slack, jigging again, reeling the slack, all the way up to the surface.

Then back down again and again until you find fish. Often, lakers will follow a lure and hit it close to the surface, and it’s possible in the clear lake the trout favor to look down and see the fish come up the last 20 feet.

“When you get a hit, set the hook hard, then reel down and set it hard again,” Kleist said, “to really set those hooks in.”

While 1- to 4-pound fish are average, Kleist said a persistent laker angler has a good shot at a fish in the teens any day and a 20 is a legitimate possibility.

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I don't know if this'll work for you, but we pulled an 8 lb laker out of Alder a few years back - and I challenge you to repeat this. My wife and I were wondering about the walleyes in that lake so we paddled our canoe around dragging spinners and worm harnesses. We did hit a few bass. I think my wife had on a little joe spinner - chartruese with chart. beads. I make em myself. Anyway, we were doing the North Shore with no luck when we decided to trek to the South shore. We dragged our lures across the lake and about half-way there, we stopped to dig out a snack. Of course, our baits both dropped almost straight down. That eight pounder hit my wife's bait like a freight train. She had set down her rod, and almost lost it. It was a nice fight on a med/lt walleye rod. This was the first laker I've ever seen take a spinner.

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Thanks alot everyone...I appreciate the incredibly quick feedback. I have a pretty good idea of where to start. I believe the NW side, near the peninsula is a pretty deep area. I lost a rod there back in the 80's. crazy.gif

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mr scott, hey i go up to alder every year too, we mostly fish for the awesome walleyes, but i know where the lakers are to, caught some real nice 10 pounders last year, if you promise not to tell everyone you can shoot me an email and ill tell you all the secrets, they are tons of fun [email protected]

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Not familiar with the topography of Alder lake but my wife and I nailed a couple lakers jigging within 6 FEET of a steep rock face that dropped to 60+ feet. Again, we were 6 feet from the rock and the depth was 60+. We dragged 3/40z. Blue/Silver Little Cleo spoons around and bagged one fish by trolling. We caught two within 3 ft. of that rock face by vert.jigging the spoons and picked one up on a 4" white tube jig (sorry, referred to them as, hope I NO Offend....Tampons) vert.jigged also. Lost a couple because we didn't set the hooks hard enough. Best of Luck.

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