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Eyecatcher

Northeast, PA Lake Trout

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I’ll let you guys know if we do any good. Wind looks decent enough, water and air temp is all I’m concerned about. Winter needs to go away for a few months haha.

 

Good luck Char , I hope you slay them.

 

Ps. Take lots of pictures.

 

Sent from my iPhone using Lake Ontario United mobile app

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Early spring fishing on Lake Ontario, water temperature below sixty degrees, I would catch Lake trout right up to the beach as the sun became low in the sky. Dawn and sundown where the warmer water had plenty of bait fish. Once the sun came up higher, like 8:00 AM the fish would head out to fifty foot and deeper to escape the sun.

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When it's good, it's great.  Start early in the "bite" from the inside of the Western End of the mountain (first 40 and 2nd 40) til you find them and Chase east and out as temps warm.  Believe it or not, they will school relatively tightly, so nail one or two, there will be more close.  

Edited by Storm Warning II

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Isn't this the guy whose wife was calling from the Coast Guard Station to...Please come home sir!

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Never got out this weekend. Lake was glass all of Saturday and early Sunday, but the water was dirty beyond belief (couple feet of vis max) from Thursday’s storm and not even the charters went out. Water was still cold too (38-39°). Next weekend until the end of a May, as long as winds are under 15mph and the mudline isn’t 8 miles out, we’ll be out there every day we can.

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39 F degree water is the denses and when the condition exists on the surface, the water is the same. This is when the "lake turns over". The fish can be anywhere except the bottom feeders such as perch. There are no good concentrations  since they can be anywhere. Shoreline areas warm up quickly from sunlight and stream flows. There are charts on the internet showing daily surface water temperatures taken by satellite of all the Great Lakes surface water temperatures. This is the key to fishing success.

 https://www.glerl.noaa.gov/res/glcfs/glcfs.php?lake=e&ext=swt&type=N&hr=00

 

This chart shows where to find fish today in Lake Erie. As the water warms the metabolism of fish increase and their feeding rate increases.

  

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15 hours ago, jimski2 said:

39 F degree water is the denses and when the condition exists on the surface, the water is the same. This is when the "lake turns over". The fish can be anywhere except the bottom feeders such as perch. There are no good concentrations  since they can be anywhere. Shoreline areas warm up quickly from sunlight and stream flows. There are charts on the internet showing daily surface water temperatures taken by satellite of all the Great Lakes surface water temperatures. This is the key to fishing success.

 https://www.glerl.noaa.gov/res/glcfs/glcfs.php?lake=e&ext=swt&type=N&hr=00

 

This chart shows where to find fish today in Lake Erie. As the water warms the metabolism of fish increase and their feeding rate increases.

  

Hey Jimski, so in spring look for warmer water. But what do we look for in summer, after the surface temps are warm? Do we then look for cooler surface temps? Thanks

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I don't know about Erie but Lake Ontario, I find lakers in the same water year round.  The only time they vacate the area is when the temp gets above 50 degrees.  Year after year, lakers are found in the same areas.  I have caught a lot of big lakers in Lake Ontario on the same exact weigh points from previous years.  You guys are saying the lakers disappear in summer, how deep have you tried?  I have caught them as deep as 220 on the bottom in Lake Ontario. 

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57 minutes ago, GAMBLER said:

I don't know about Erie but Lake Ontario, I find lakers in the same water year round.  The only time they vacate the area is when the temp gets above 50 degrees.  Year after year, lakers are found in the same areas.  I have caught a lot of big lakers in Lake Ontario on the same exact weigh points from previous years.  You guys are saying the lakers disappear in summer, how deep have you tried?  I have caught them as deep as 220 on the bottom in Lake Ontario. 

Fishing NY Erie waters out of Dunkirk or Barcelona, there’s usually a pretty solid summer fishery for them. Just have to find the cold water and work 100-140 FOW in my experience. For some reason in PA waters during the summer, which are the same depth off North East and usually the same bottom temp, no one ever fishes for and rarely reports Lake Trout. It’s all spring fishing in PA. Which again is odd because it’s the same depth, temp, and there’s just as many forage fish as NY waters to my knowledge. Maybe it has something to do with NY stocking more fish? But spring fishing is about equally productive in PA and NY so... I’m stumped. Going to have to try Summer Lakers off North East a few times this year just to see if there’s still a few around. The last LEC CWTG coldwater report that came out in 2017 showed that NY definitely had a more abundant Laker population in the summer than PA, for whatever reason.

 

As far as actual depth, they’ll come in to 40-80 FOW during the spring and 20-60 FOW in late Fall, but I find them in 90-140 FOW in both spring and summer, regardless of surface temps. Lots of guys work 50-70’ heavily during April and May but we’ll head out to triple digit water during the same period of time and catch just as many. They’re always in deep water, a few just move shallower while they can when the water is colder. Again going back to the LEC report, very few Lakers are found deeper than 140-150 FOW in Erie regardless of the time of year.  150 seems to be the cut-off line for fishable numbers.

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There’s some great info here for those curious about Erie Lakers (and other CW species):

http://www.glfc.org/pubs/lake_committees/erie/CWTG_docs/annual_reports/CWTG_report_2017.pdf

 

I read the yearly reports religiously and they’ve provided me with a great understanding of the Erie Char population. (Still waiting on the month-late 2018 report...)

 

And as a final piece of data, this image was taken from the 2016 report and shows the disparity in Summer population size between PA and NY waters.

A5C68F1B-3EFA-4537-94E7-AF811BC946FE.jpeg

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A key indicator for locating fish is the location of the algae bloom. The algae feed the phyto plankton that feed the fry and minnows. The plankton thrive in 55 to 65 degree water temperature water. this happens on the surface in "early June" As the lake waters warm the plankton bloom drops in depth so at the end of June fishing the bloom is located off shore in 30 to 55 foot of water. Locating the bloom on your fish finder is a cloudy area. Where the bloom meets the shallow shore waters is the perfect area to fish for perch then.  By mid July the bloom has moved deeper to to 65 to 70 foot depths as the surface water temperatures have risen to the upper 70 degree condition. This is the time that the perch are now concentrated from all over the lake in schools over ten foot deep solid. You can fish only one line when you find them out there. In mid August the cool nights start bringing the perch into shallower waters and the perch seeking travelling begins again. Good luck.

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Fishing NY Erie waters out of Dunkirk or Barcelona, there’s usually a pretty solid summer fishery for them. Just have to find the cold water and work 100-140 FOW in my experience. For some reason in PA waters during the summer, which are the same depth off North East and usually the same bottom temp, no one ever fishes for and rarely reports Lake Trout. It’s all spring fishing in PA. Which again is odd because it’s the same depth, temp, and there’s just as many forage fish as NY waters to my knowledge. Maybe it has something to do with NY stocking more fish? But spring fishing is about equally productive in PA and NY so... I’m stumped. Going to have to try Summer Lakers off North East a few times this year just to see if there’s still a few around. The last LEC CWTG coldwater report that came out in 2017 showed that NY definitely had a more abundant Laker population in the summer than PA, for whatever reason.
 
As far as actual depth, they’ll come in to 40-80 FOW during the spring and 20-60 FOW in late Fall, but I find them in 90-140 FOW in both spring and summer, regardless of surface temps. Lots of guys work 50-70’ heavily during April and May but we’ll head out to triple digit water during the same period of time and catch just as many. They’re always in deep water, a few just move shallower while they can when the water is colder. Again going back to the LEC report, very few Lakers are found deeper than 140-150 FOW in Erie regardless of the time of year.  150 seems to be the cut-off line for fishable numbers.
I agree with most info here except the depth cutoff. I have had my best days much, much deeper.. I fish them off North East and they are deep all summer as well. I enjoy fishing them with light tackle and noodle rods. A much better battle and bringing them up slower has a much better survival rate.

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10 minutes ago, steelie said:

I agree with most info here except the depth cutoff. I have had my best days much, much deeper.. I fish them off North East and they are deep all summer as well. I enjoy fishing them with light tackle and noodle rods. A much better battle and bringing them up slower has a much better survival rate.

Sent from my SM-G930V using Lake Ontario United mobile app
 

Can’t tell whether to be excited or if this is a joke lol. But in all seriousness man, you get them jigging in Erie? I’ve been trying to jig one for theee years and still haven’t had any success. I didn’t think it was even possible to get much/any deeper than 150 in PA waters either, maybe out by the CA border?

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Wowzas, never even thought to try fishing that deep.  Glad I started this thread, learning a lot about Lakers!  Can’t wait for next few weeks!

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If you are looking for Lake trout in northeast Pa, try Harveys Lake in Luzurne County. It is the largest natural lake in Pa. and there still are a few Lakers in it. Water is still cold yet, 41 degrees. Spoons or cow bells work well...

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They are talking about “North East Harbor” on Lake Erie. Located on the Pa/Ny line

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Another factor that might hold fish is the lake bottom.  I find more lakers over clay / mud bottom than rock.  Anyone know what the bottom consists of in the PA waters? 

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I fish “the humps” out of Barcelona. Loaded with lakers

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1 hour ago, GAMBLER said:

Another factor that might hold fish is the lake bottom.  I find more lakers over clay / mud bottom than rock.  Anyone know what the bottom consists of in the PA waters? 

I believe it’s mostly mud after 40-50’. We drag balls on the bottom out deep and never snag (knock on wood). At the very least, it’s consistently flat.

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Keuka Lake in NY ice fishing has a vertical trolling method for lake trout. A spoon is jigged on the bottom and reeled up and the lake trout follow it and strike it on the way up. The speed of the rising spoon gives it the attraction for the strike.

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What do you guys think, will the lake finally cooperate this weekend or are us 2-day warriors getting the middle finger again? Fingers crossed for two feet or less on Saturday.

Edited by Char_Master
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Lake is muddy for awhile out but we’re heading deep in an hour or so to try anyway. Haven’t been out yet this season and the future wind forecast isn’t looking great, so I have to burn gas at some point this spring haha. Anyway else going to be out today? Either way, I’ll post a report tonight.

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Just realized I never made a report. Anyway, we fished off North East Saturday and went 5/7 on decent Lakers in the 25-30” range. Nothing huge but I’ll take it for our first day this season! We fished 62-110 FOW and hit every fish in 78-110 FOW, all right along the bottom. Anything shallower than 70 FOW was in the mudline and the reduced visibility killed the bite. Had lines in at 7:50 and fished until 3:30, but the bite totally died after 12:30 for us. Downriggers took every fish. We threw the kitichen sink at them (spoons, Dodgers, flashers, everything) but caught every fish on a green/chartreuse gambler rig (thanks for the quality product, Brian!). Speed at the boat was 1.2-1.8mph. Surface temps ranged from 38.1-40.8° where we were picking up fish. A bit cold for this time of year but hopefully that means the spring fishery will last for awhile! Maybe I’m the minority, but these guys all fought very well and there’s no fish I’d rather be pursuing! Hoping to get out again this Saturday, weather permitting.

9F613B6C-6E27-4625-B15E-876C20E44A48.jpeg

6C86D675-F493-4A6A-BA60-760E0AA6D7FF.jpeg

8A8B338B-DAE4-47F7-B033-AF79B7ED5695.jpeg

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