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> > Can lake trout be taken readily on flies

SmallstreamAugust 19th, 2007, 1:11 pm
State College, PA

Posts: 103
I was looking at the alaska pictures that the troutnut has on this site and saw the pic of the lake trout (pretty sweet looking fish I might add, alaska looks awesome) and was wondering if people actually fly fish for them. It seems that they are usually caught in deep water. Are these fish only in lakes or are they sometimes in rivers too.
SofthackleAugust 19th, 2007, 1:37 pm
Site Editor
Wellsville, NY

Posts: 540
I've never actually did much fly fishing for lake trout, however, I know that a lot of people do it successfully. A lot of float tubers out west do a lot of fishing for lakers. Also, there are many fly fishers in Scotland and Ireland that fish for lake fish. Do some online searches and I'm sure you will find a lot more information. I'm sure Jason will add more, too. I would be tempted to use wet flies and streamers on a full sinking line, but that's me. I'm sure there is surface action, too.

"I have the highest respect for the skilled wet-fly fisherman, as he has mastered an art of very great difficulty." Edward R. Hewitt

Flymphs, Soft-hackles and Spiders:
Jmd123August 19th, 2007, 1:41 pm
Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2611
Smallstream, there was an article not too long ago in one of the major FF magazines about, as they put it, "hook-and-cook" lake trout in Yellowstone Lake. The idea is to GET THEM THE HELL OUTTA THERE so they don't compete with the native Yellowstone cutts in there. Not only did it have tackle recommendations - think of a gear set-up for northern pike - but they also included recipes for the "cook" part. If I find it around my (rather messy) apartment, I'll let you know what issue it was in.

Also, I have heard that at Isle Royale National Park up in Lake Superior, lake trout come into the shallows to feed in spring and they can be caught off docks with spinning tackle. Not too much of a stretch to go with a 9-10 weight and some pike flies. My only trip there was in August of 2000, when the lakers were under about 150-200 feet of water. Next time...(I did nail a nice 10" brookie on a grasshopper imitation in an inland beaver pond there - and boy, was it ever tasty!)


P.S. GO THERE for whatever reason if you ever get the chance. It is one of the most beautiful places I have ever been, and there's more wildlife there than you can shake a stick at (moose, wolves, otters, loons, bald eagles, mergansers, fox, beavers, red squirrels, etc.).
No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
WillyAugust 19th, 2007, 7:52 pm
Winnetka, IL

Posts: 52
I have caught lake trout in both Cayuga Lake and its tributaries on the fly. There are some lake trout that actually run the creeks and spawn and will aggressively hit streamers. I have caught two fish in the 30" range this way. I also caught a lake trout with a sinking line over about 40 ft of water, while my buddy was jigging for them. It can be done, even in the big lakes, but it has to be the right situation. The water temps and bait situation have to be conducive to lake trout moving in shallow.
Check out my fishing pictures on Instagram.
TroutnutAugust 20th, 2007, 1:42 am
Bellevue, WA

Posts: 2737
I have a nasty confession to make: the lakers so far on this site were caught on spinners! However, I probably could have caught them on flies, too. We hadn't unpacked the fly rods yet on this float trip and the guide had some spinning rods hand so we used those. These fish were all in less than 4 feet of water in a river within 100 yards downstream of the outlet of a large, deep lake. They came down there to feed, not to spawn. I caught a couple and my dad caught at least 1, and there were more around. I had a big one make a couple passes at a 14-inch grayling on the end of my line.

A few weeks ago I was at an above-the-treeline lake in the Alaska Range. I was hiking with Lena with a fly rod brought along as an afterthought, so I didn't bring waders, and there were fish rising just on the edge of my casting range. I know most of them were grayling, but some porpoising tails seemed too large -- they were either massive trophy grayling, or lakers. Probably lakers. If I'd brought waders I probably could have caught those.

I'm definitely going to chase them on the fly this fall. Lake outlets seem to be promising around here all summer, but the laker fishing is supposed to be best after the lakes turn over when they come up really shallow. There are several spots in the Alaska Range I want to try when that happens.
Jason Neuswanger, Ph.D.
Troutnut and salmonid ecologist
SmallstreamAugust 20th, 2007, 9:56 am
State College, PA

Posts: 103
that sounds awesome, I hope you are able to hook into some.
RleePAugust 20th, 2007, 5:11 pm
NW PA - Pennsylvania's Glacial Pothole Wonderland

Posts: 398
We used to catch Lakers in Algonquin PP in Ontario on spinners and small spoons in less than 10 feet of water if the spring had been fairly cool prior to our annual trip in late May. This was back in the 60's. We'd also catch a few in the Amable du Fond River that connects several of the lakes in the NW portion of Algonquin.

I'm sure these fish could have been taken on streamers, etc.

BigunsNovember 10th, 2008, 5:55 am
Posts: 2Yes, lakers are nuts for flies. I am going to fish them today, as a matter of fact. I have been targetting a tailwater section below a dam. The trout over the last 3-4 weeks have smacked any fly resembling a fleeing minnow, or even caddis nymphs. I have a feeling many of these 2-5 lb fish have never laid eyes on a fly before. They must be in the flow to target a food source, because the larger fish spawn in the main body of the lake. They even become aerial in the shallow (2-5') water. It has been a huge end of season bonus. Every fish has been released, in case they are spawning in the river.....Tight lines, Biguns.
BigunsNovember 11th, 2008, 9:05 am
Posts: 2A banner day on the flow, yesterday. Clouser red/white and blue/charteuse took over 20 fish. I could almost sight fish them like salmon. Some took them on the dead drift, others chased the fleeing fly downstream, some even in the tailout. Air temp 34f, water not much warmer. I had to get out after 2.5 hours, the breathables just don't do it at this time of year...BRRRR! I would upload photos, but need some advice, cheers, Biguns.

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