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Ok, so I have started fishing this summer with down riggers on Lake George for Lakers and LL salmon.  I have put in a some hours and have had limited success. I have caught a few lakers, only one keeper and 0 salmon.  I am running cow bells, with spoons, stick baits, flatfish. I am not sure if my speed is good as it doesn't read at such slow speeds.  I know the fishing is good where I am cause there is always a few boats in the area.  What should my speed be? I turn like crazy trying to figure it out., How far of the rigger should my lures be. Any suggestions would be welcomed.  Does anybody on here fish Lake George?  Thanks for the help.

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yea I fish lake George once in a while try trolling 1.8 to 2.0 no faster then 2.2 I do well in George with speedy shiners and cowbells right on the bottom try a f-7 flat fish behind the cowbells 30-36 inches back from cowbell and 15-20 feet back from the ball that f-7 is a hot lure on lake george

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A couple things come to mind....the speed at which you are trolling and how you are running your equipment. i don't know whether you have a water temp meter of any type but it would be helpful to find out where the thermocline .is located at right now (point in the water column where the water changes greatest between consecutive depths) . This is not the scientific definition but hopefully it works for you (can change even in the course of a day some places but can also be stable for a bit too from one location to another or one day to next). Lake trout are going to be preferring something like 42-48 degrees while the landlocks will  prefer 50 to 56 degrees or so (these are rough mid ranges not the low or highs they are found in). This suggests that you fish for each species differently, and also that you can try fishing for each species exclusively or both at the same time but with different tactics because they will probably be located in different "layers" of the water column.  My suggestion is to fish exclusively for each at first  (either lakers or the landlocks) until you start connecting with them fairly consistently. They each for the most part respond to different speed ranges and tactics as well as the temps differences. Hopefully you have something to  somewhat accurately gauge your speed GPS or speed impeller on your fish finder. Lets look at the lakers first:

 

Lakers are often "bottom huggers" but also suspend in deeper water. Lake George is somewhat similar to the Finger Lakes (rather than Lake Ontario) so many of the things that work real well in the FL's will work there. Try to find bait suspended or bottom-oriented and fish near it.  Look for them on the fish finder to be deep in the water column and/or on bottom and compare your temp readings of the water column with where the preferred temp range  either meets or is just above the bottom. There are many versions and sizes of cowbells and I'm not sure what (or how you are running them) but with downriggers you need to get near but not on the bottom and you need to know the bottom real well where you are fishing too to avoid hanging up your weight. A way to minimize this is to start in a little shallower from where you are marking the fish and fish from shallower to deeper gradually with the ball say a couple or 5 ft. off bottom and gradually keep lowering the weight as you go out deeper. This is assuming that you are running your cowbells close to the weight (say 10 ft or less). If you are using something like the flatfish behind it or something that dives erratically run a little higher off bottom than you would for say a flutter spoon to avoid hang ups. My strong suggestion is to order some "peanuts or wobble trolls or spin n glows" to use behind cowbells and run them 18 inches to 24inches behind the cowbells. Run the cowbells at about 1.8 or 9 to 2.3 or so. It can change depending whether going across current or against it....Don't fish WITH the current if possible. Frequently (and carefully) raise or lower your downrigger just slightly (say 5 ft.at most) and travel in "s" patterns with turns. If you are in a smaller boat and it is very calm try rocking the boat back and forth a little in case something is following and may hit because of the change in action.

 

Landlocks: Again look at the temperature profile. Look around at the depths suggested by the preferred temps.Try to find bait and if possible suspended or bottom oriented fish around it (the preferred temp and/or bait).  Try a combination spoons (e.g. Stingers Small Evil Eyes, Sutton 22's or 44's or 8's or 11's  and stickbaits (e.g. Rapala J-9, Small to medium Yozuri's, Renegades, or Rebels etc. ) Especially with the spoons - use sliders about 7 or 8 ft long (depending on rod length) with smaller and light spoons about 12 or 15 ft from your main lure) (you want them "whipping" around near the prop wash area down).I run stickbaits back from 50-100ft and spoons from 15-75 ft back depending on conditions and the particular spoon (remember though more slack whenthey are run further bach and the first thing you may see is a jumping fish way in back of the boat :) . If you run sliders with stickbaits leave more room between them say 20ft.) Most of the time the landlocks will be roaming around near bait or structure such as points or stream mouths. They often respond real well to speed of lures (although Sutton's are not known for doing well at speed the smaller ones mentioned do OK) so I'd say start at 2.0 and go up to 3.0 or so. They have even been known to hit at much higher speeds but those aren't the lures for it. They often hit at a change of speed and on fairly radical turns. I sometimes go into idle for a second or two and then give it some gas and make a bunch of turns and this works for rainbows as well.

I know other folks will perhaps have very different ideas and things that work but over the years this has been my BASIC approach and it has worked quite well. Les

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les, and everyone, thanks for the great info.  I think I may have been going to slow.  My depth finder will give me the speed at around 2 mph, but below that it has trouble. I don't have the best depth finder this season and I plan on upgrading next year, so this one is all I got.  I will try to get a temp probe tomorrow to better see what's under me. I don't know what sliders are.  I have been running my cow bells right off the ball, then my release and about 4 feet then lure.  I really need to go out and fish with somebody who know what's up.  I am getting together quite an arsenal of gear to hunt these fish but it is hard, when you have know Idea what to do and how the best way is to rig it.  I am a bass fisherman that has converted to deep water in search of the big one, plus  I like to eat them much more than bass. I am going to hit the water tomorrow and see if I can't put this info to work and lets hope I can get some nice fish in the boat.

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A slider is  a mono leader about 7 or 8 ft. long (shorter than your rod) that acts as a second line with a lure on it attached to your main line with a lure on it. It has a snap swivel at both ends with your "other" lure at one end of it.You first run your main line iut to the desired length (say 30 ft) and let the lure down about 15 ft. and then attach the non-lure end of the slider (the other swivel snap) to the main line and let it down into the water. You then let both lines down to the depth you prefer (say 50 ft). The slider will seek out the belly of the slack in your mainline and for the most part stay there but at change of speeds and turns it can move up or down (hence the name"slider") It gives a lot of action to the lure and most of the salmonid family like it even at higher speeds. If or when a fish hits the slider instead of the lure on the mainline and is fighting he releases the main line from the release and the slider slides down to the other lure but the swivel is too small to go over it so it just stays there. When you bring in the fish the importance of length of the slider becomes apparent.....you need it shorter than your rod so you can net the fish. It is possible to use a longer leader but then you have to pretty much "hand line" the fish once you reach the main line lure. I hope this helps.... I tried to be as specific as I can. It is much easier to be shown I think.

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You can get at app on your phone that works well. rnsurfnturf on this forum used it on my boat and matched up well to the 2 gps's I have on the boat. Im sure if you pm him he can tell you what one it is. Also as sk8man mentioned if there are currents gps speed may need to be different, but you at a minimum need some way of reading speed then you can at least trial and error a bit till you can connect. Keep at it.

Justin

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I always do pretty well with salmon gear in LG - green flasher/flys around 2.0 to 2.5. Cowbells always get me a much smaller class fish for some reason. 

Edited by carpedium
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