One of the pleasures of anticipating your fishing trip to Canada is assembling the kit of gear that will allow you to successfully catch the fish you want. Here is the basic gear list for lake trout. For those new to this fishing, the Andy Myers Lodge website has an overall primer under Fishing, entitled Planning Your Trip: A Year on Eagle Lake.
Lake trout are in the shallows warming up and feeding early in the season (10-40’). This means that you can cast and jig for concentrations of fish on points and bars, or long-line troll large stretches of shoreline or the shallower depths of open waters where fish are scattered and roaming. Later in the year they move much deeper in the lake (40-100’), requiring a change in tactics and gear. The good news is that, as they move downward, they become concentrated in specific deep water holes so location is very easy. They do come shallow again to spawn in the fall, but the season closes at the end of September, which is generally before the water cools enough for them to move up the water column.
ICE OUT/EARLY SEASON (Casting and shallow trolling)
- Spinning rod/reel/line combinations – 7’0” to 7’6” medium light to medium action, fast to extra fast taper spinning rod like a St. Croix Premier, Legend Tournament, or Legend Extreme; with a Shimano 2500 Series Stradic or Ultegra spinning reel, spooled with 10-12 pound monofilament or fluorocarbon line, or 30 pound braid with a 6-8’ Seaguar fluorocarbon leader; OR
- Trolling rod/reel/line combination – 7’6” to 9′.0″ walleye/steelhead trolling rod with medium light to medium action and moderate to fast taper, like the St. Croix Eyecon; 300 to 500 series level-wind trolling reel, such as a Shimano Tekota, with line counter ability preferred but not necessary.
- Lures – Crawler harness spinner rigs (though you will be using with them minnows, cut strip bait, or Berkley Gulp Flukes, not with crawlers) with a minimum of 10 pound test leader material and 15-20 pound preferred. Get #5-#7 blades in silver, blue/silver, and chartreuse (flashy prism type finishes are preferred).
- 3 to 5″ spoons in silver, blue/silver, chartreuse/silver, or gold, such as: Little Cleo; Sutton; Mepps Little Wolf; Williams Wobbler and Whitefish; and Daredevil.
- Tube jigs of 4 to 5” and ¼ to ½ oz such as Kalin’s or Mission Tackle, in white, pearl, blue/white, chartreuse/white; or 4-6″ fluke/jerk minnows from Kalin’s, or Berkley Gulp in the same colors as the tubes with jig heads of ¼ to 5/8th oz.
- 3 to 6″ minnow baits, both shallow (2 to 10′) and deep (12 to 20′) in silver/white, blue/silver, white, or firetiger, such as: Livingston Jerk Master; Rapala Original and Husky Jerk; Yozuri Crystal Minnow; or Berkley Flicker Minnow.
- Rapala Cowbell Lake Troll with 20 pound leader and ball bearing snap swivel, used with minnow baits, spoons, or a #1 hook and #4 treble stinger with a 30 pound fluorocarbon connection used with big minnows or fillet strips.
MID SEASON THRU FALL
- Rod/reel/line combination – 6-6’8” medium to medium heavy action, extra fast taper spinning rod like: St. Croix Premier; Mojo Bass; Legend Tournament; or Legend Elite; with a Shimano 2500 series spinning reel, spooled with 10-12 pound fluorocarbon or 30 pound braid, with a 6-8’ leader of 12 to 15 pound Seaguar fluorocarbon; OR
- Lures – 6-7′ medium to medium heavy, extra fast taper casting rod like the St. Croix Premier or Mojo bass, with a Shimano 300-400 series Tekota level-wind reel, spooled with the same line recommendations as for spinning rods/reels.
- 1/2 to ¾ oz, 4-5″ tube jigs and 4-6″ fluke/jerk minnows, such as Kalin’s and Berkley Gulp, in white, pearl, blue/white, or chartreuse/white.
- Jigging spoons of 5/8 to 1 oz, in silver, white, glow, or chartreuse, such as Acme Kastmaster, or Swedish Pimple.
- Jig heads of ½ to 1 oz in white, glow, or chartreuse, with a # 4 stinger connected with 30 pound monofilament or fluorocarbon (used with a big minnow or fillet strip).
- Rapala Rippin’ Rap or Jiggin’ Rap, 3-4″ long, and 5/8th to 3/4 oz, in blue/silver, chartreuse/white, or glow.
- Rod/reel/line combination – 8 to 9’ medium action, moderate taper steelhead or walleye trolling style rod like the St. Croix Eyecon, Shimano Tekota LC 400-500 series level wind, line counter reel, spooled with 12-17 pound fluorocarbon or 30 to 40 pound braid, with an 8 to 9′ leader of 15 to 20 pound Seaguar Fluorocarbon.
- Lures – 4 to 6” spoons, in silver, white, blue/silver, chartreuse, or glow. These are to be used with weights or down riggers so lighter weights give a better wobble and flutter at slow speeds. Try: Little Cleo; Williams Wobbler or Whitefish; Sutton Spoon; Mepps Little Wolf; or Daredevil.
- Lewis Rat-L-Trap, 4 to 5″, in blue/silver, white, or glow.
- Minnowbaits of 4-7″ like: Rapala Original and Husky Jerk, Yozuri Crystal Minnow; Livingston Jerkmaster, or Smithwick Rattlin’ Rogue, in silver, white, glow combinations with blue, grey/silver, chartreuse, or purple backs. Shallow runners are best since they are used with weights/down riggers.
- Trolling accessories — Snap Weights from Off Shore Tackle; Poor Man’s Downriggers; or 6 to 10 oz Bottom Bouncers. Planer boards from Off Shore Tackle. Bring down riggers if you are bringing your own boat and have them.