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I've always heard that lakers are ol' reliable...what's a good program to start with if I want to target them in the mid-summer?

---Big spoon at 39 degrees and 1.5 mph at the ball?

What depth do you typically run a bottom bouncer at? (I tried bouncing dipsys off the bottom once in 50-60 fow, that didn't end well!)

In general, if the bite's gone cold or you quit marking fish ---before changing location and while all the gear's still out, is it worth dropping the riggers deep and slow troll your king rigs for a laker? Anyone have success doing this?

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cowbells and spin n glows work the best for lakers working the bottom for me in mid summer, you may catch a few every now and then on spoons or your king set-ups but if you want consistency go for the cowbell set-ups. For me 1.8 or less for down speed.

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  • 1 month later...

Cowbells all the way, you can't lose.  Put them down until they are bonking the fish in the head with them, and go as slow as you can go, and still get them to spin, and you will slaughter them.  Peanuts and spin and glows work good, but so do mirage and geen flies behind the cowbells, I have found.  Good luck with those lakers! :yes:

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So--- if you're in 250-300 fow, just drop riggers to the lowest marks on the graph...assuming their lakers? Don't imagine you'd bounce bottom at that fow...

Or in general is 300 fow too far out for lakers? And we should fish where I can work lures near the bottom?

Edited by markmonkey1
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  • 2 weeks later...

I am a poor lake trout fisherman and I don't fish the Great Lakes. Sometimes I just can't buy a

bite. And it seems to me at the start of the season your first fish is always the hardest one to catch, then its easy afterwards. Why I don't know but it may be something in their school mentality or the release of a fear scent or something. Guys go ahead and make fun of me but this is what I have found. My solution which may partially answer your question is to use cow bells followed by a minnow 2 - 3 feet with a small treble hook coming thru the anus, presented just over their heads when they are shown on your sonar to be 2-3 feet above the bottom. The minnow can 't spin so a couple of tooth picks are pushed thru the mouth to keep the body straight. I have also used a dodger followed by sucker meat but the minnow program seems to work better. They seem to always found near depth changes (breaklines) or rock - sand transitions. Usually though as the season progresses I switch over to spoons, but I only have success using the narrow canoe type of spoon which I think imitates smelt or minnows. I like silver, blue yellow and green and yellow in any combination. A yellow flutterchuk by Epinger can be really good fished shallower than you would think on a day with intermittent sun, rain and clouds - overcast etc. Line diameter seems to be a factor. Fresh 12 pound test seems to work best for me and I try to always reduce my swivels etc and to always use ball bearings. Line let back from my rigger is about 50 feet or shorter. I believe that my favourite spot has a couple of underwater springs and this is always keeps the water cold when the wind comes from the right direction. I am not trolling deep. I have been only going down 42 feet in most of my areas to again place my lure just over their heads. When trolling its usually slow 1.8 - 1.6 mph with lots of turns and sometimes I crash the bottom to wake them up. However there has been the odd time when I have sped up and caught trout, but its really rare. I have not really been successful using body baits but have not tried hard enough, preferring spoons. My largest fish have. always come on a spoon presentation sometimes presented six feet behind cowbells. A fixed slider above cowbells sometimes works very well. I have noticed that there are days when my fish have disappeared and I believe the fish in my area are heavily influenced by the wind and I believe that Lake Trout do travel near the surface at night to different areas. I have a friend who regularly catches trout on deep diving bass lures at night. There seems to be a migration of sorts from one area of my lake to a spot many miles away. There also seems to be times when they switch on and then just switch off. I have no explanation for this and don't understand it. Hope this helps and sorry to be lengthy.

jim

Sent from my iPad using Lake Ontario United mobile app

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I target lakers almost exclusively, unless the walleye bite is on.  I fish the east basin of Erie between Dunkirk and Barcelona.  Hammer them every time.  Cowbells + Peanut fly is the gold standard.  It always catches fish.  Bounced right on the bottom, 15ft behind the ball.  Ive caught them going slow as 1.5mph, and as fast as 2.5-3mph.  This past weekend I put out a 42nd SpinDoctor + Frog fly and a Double Pearl spindoctor with Green Hammer fly, trolled about 15ft up from the bottom, and it absolutely hammered them as well.  Big magnum spoons also work great.....greens and orange colors.  Catching lakers really isnt that hard.  Ive had days when Im running my dipsys up high for steelies, and my cowbells and magnum spoons on the bottom for lakers, at the same time, going steelhead speeds, and caught lakers and steelhead.  That makes for an armbusting day.

 

I am usually fishing the 90ft - 180ft range, so its easy for me to get the balls bounching on bottom...unless blowback is extreme.  If you find cold water you can also fish them up high in it.  Ive had lakers hit my dipsys so hard that I thought my rod was going to snap in half.  A 30-35lb laker hitting a wire dipsy hard is awesome.

Edited by jigstick
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I normally do my trout fishing out of Olcott- does the 100-13 fow guideline apply there?

This past weekend, we were fishing for kings in 400-500 fow and our bite was slow...we stuck it out. Just to give the friends with us some action, think I should have went for the laker bite? Are they that reliable?

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Lakers are very reliable.  Catching them is easy if it is done right.  I would widen the depth zone from 80 - 220 on the bottom.  Look for hooks laying on the bottom.  If you see one, most of the time there are a ton with them. There will be certain depths that hold them in good numbers.  Do some looking around by trolling inside waters before setting up a laker program.  It will save you a lot of time. 

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If you use Gamblers general strategy together with the other info (cowbells and peanut or Spin-n-glow) or the flasher fly approach near bottom it is as close to a guarantee as you will get in fishing. 

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I guess Im going to have to sharpen my Laker skills too as the Salmon fishing for me this year sucks. They fight a whole lot better than people give them credit for, I have no problem with them. My question is now that I have 20 and 30 lb test Flea flicker and Sea Flea line (otherwise it is not fishable with all the fleas lately) on my reels and isnt that going to scare them away? I usually use light line, flouro tactics in my bass and freshwater fishing but with the fleas as bad as they are there really isnt a choice. Using regular big game, I had to put the rods down as they were unfishable, couldnt get line past tip plus Im not screwing around all day with fleas. So anyways my question is how to make this "anchor rope" stealthy. I was thinking of using a flouro leader on a tiny barrel swivel?? Anyone tried this? Not sure if a back to back uni knot would work with 30 lb. test and BTW the sea flea line got 0 fleas yesterday but also no fish.

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I use the 30 lb Sea Flee with a #8 (50 lb test) Spro swivel and 20 lb Seaguar fluro leader on my riggers without problems. Occasionally there are a few fleas attached at the juncture of the swivel connecting the two lines but that has been it. Lakers are not very "line shy" so I wouldn't worry about that. You can run flasher/fly without the fluoro or with cowbells for lakers without "spooking" them. My wire lines have been hammered by the fleas....

Edited by Sk8man
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Fantastic advice above from some great laker anglers. I also love to fish for them and would add one more thing: please take the time to learn how to properly catch and release these beautiful creatures. As more anglers target them and presumptively release them, I think it 's important to take the time to learn how to "burp" their swim bladders and learn how to torpedo them head first to stimulate them to swim back down to the bottom. I find that lakers are much less sensitive to the temperature and pressure changes like a big salmon, and quite easy to revive and get swimming again, as long as you take the time to get the air out of their swim bladder.

 

http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/9224.html

 

Good luck to all,

 

Chris

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Good post Chris. I find bringing them up slow (not too slow) will increase their survival chances. The really little guys get unhooked at the back of the boat if they are not full of air. The cowbells do a good job of letting them come up slowly most of the times unless they are horsed in.

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  • 5 months later...

They can definitely save a trip when the salmon are being difficult!!  I think they are fun in the Spring too, on light tackle, when you catch a few of them up shallow when going for Browns!!  They do tend to pull a little harder than the browns!!  :)  :yes:  :yes:

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