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April Trolling Program - help!


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So over the last couple years I've learned the techniques for mid/late spring, summer and fall, but not early spring yet!  My goal this year is to make a trip in mid to late April, likely fishing Canadian waters to the Niagara bar.  Would you be so kind as to share how your techniques differ for this early season type of fishing?   What would be your 6 rod program?  What depths are the fish found typically and what depths of the water column are most targeted?  I will be mostly targeting silver fish but should we try our luck with Browns as well?  

 

I think I have all the equipment at this point (riggers, wire, boards, dispey, lead core, weighted steel etc)  ... last year I got really good using in-line boards and weighted steel which put a lot of extra fish in the boat... but for early spring is it more of a 15-35 ft. game?  3-5-7 color etc.?  Mostly spoons?  Smaller spoons, stinger/super slim?

 

Thank you in advance!!  

 

~ErieBuck

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Early spring is mostly a brown trout game for me. I prefer big boards with sticks. I leave the in-line boards home because unlike walleye, losing a brown is no big deal to me and I am more in it for the unimpeded fight and sport of it. We run downriggers with lighter Michigan stinger spoons and 6-8 sticks on the big boards. We get the occasional silver, steel, pike, and bass doing this in 8-20ft of water. Some guys have great luck with divers close to boat. Maybe someone will chime in with that info, but early spring, that’s my spread. No leadcore, or snap weights, or anything fancy, if I want more depth I’ll go with a suspending husky jerk or smithwicks. I just fishing the colored water which is usually best in close. 

Edited by McWally
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If you're fishing Canadian water mid to late April fish it like you would Walleye back home with deep sticks in less than 30' of water. You can also go out deep and use the traditional Summer methods too at time. 

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2 hours ago, McWally said:

Early spring is mostly a brown trout game for me. I prefer big boards with sticks. I leave the in-line boards home because unlike walleye, losing a brown is no big deal to me and I am more in it for the unimpeded fight and sport of it. We run downriggers with lighter Michigan stinger spoons and 6-8 sticks on the big boards. We get the occasional silver, steel, pike, and bass doing this in 8-20ft of water. Some guys have great luck with divers close to boat. Maybe someone will chime in with that info, but early spring, that’s my spread. No leadcore, or snap weights, or anything fancy, if I want more depth I’ll go with a suspending husky jerk or smithwicks. I just fishing the colored water which is usually best in close. 

good call on the unimpeded fight with the big boards, makes it a lot of fun.  Are you speaking to the western end of the lake in early spring?  

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2 hours ago, Yankee Troller said:

If you're fishing Canadian water mid to late April fish it like you would Walleye back home with deep sticks in less than 30' of water. You can also go out deep and use the traditional Summer methods too at time. 

thinking about mid/late April, I guess I was envisioning a feeding frenzy of coho, steelhead, and kings with mixed in Lakers and maybe a brown or two in early season action west of the bar.  Maybe mid april is a little too early and I should target first week in May prior to the Derby to have a few more options available including the bar itself...?   If you had to pick between the two what do you think the best fishing would be?  Thanks!

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9 minutes ago, ErieBuck said:

 

thinking about mid/late April, I guess I was envisioning a feeding frenzy of coho, steelhead, and kings with mixed in Lakers and maybe a brown or two in early season action west of the bar.  Maybe mid april is a little too early and I should target first week in May prior to the Derby to have a few more options available including the bar itself...?   If you had to pick between the two what do you think the best fishing would be?  Thanks!

 

It's weather dependent, but if going that early you better look from the Welland Canal to Jordan Harbor and stay somewhat skinny 30' or less.

 

April kings love bright sticks. We've done really well on these - Bay Rat X Long Deep in Can't Afford it, Cracked sea Coral, Frog, and My Secret to name a few.

 

If you slide deeper your catch will be mostly Lake Trout until you find a pod of Kings. If you want BT, Coho, and Steel you may be better doing the shoreline thing.

Edited by Yankee Troller
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7 minutes ago, Yankee Troller said:

 

It's weather dependent, but that early ad you better look from the Welland Canal to Jordan Harbor and stay somewhat skinny 30' or less. Your catch will be mostly Lake Trout until you find a pod of Kings. If you want BT, Coho, and Steel you may be better doing the shoreline thing.

You mean for BT, Coho and Steel will be in that same 30' as you mention mostly Lakers occasion pod of Kings, or BT/Coho/Steel even tighter to shoreline?  

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3 minutes ago, ErieBuck said:

You mean for BT, Coho and Steel will be in that same 30' as you mention mostly Lakers occasion pod of Kings, or BT/Coho/Steel even tighter to shoreline?  

 

No, on the shoreline you'll find BT, Coho, and drop back steelies. That 20-40' is where you would concentrate looking for Salmon. If you slide out deeper than 40' you're going to get mostly into Lake Trout, but you will find Salmon mixed in with them. Typically, you mark that waypoint and work it when you get bit by a Salmon. You might go through 40 Lake Trout until you get one Salmon bite though.

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got it, many thanks!  I'm usually all slimed out with Lakers from the early season on Lake Erie.... so definitely don't want to be catching mostly Lakers if I make the trip over!  So I should focus on that 20-40 to hit Salmon, steel and browns.  

 

 I picked up some of the Bay Rat XL Deeps last year, nice plugs.  Will grab a few more!  

 

Thanks again, you're the best 

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4 hours ago, ErieBuck said:

good call on the unimpeded fight with the big boards, makes it a lot of fun.  Are you speaking to the western end of the lake in early spring?  

This was the way we fished them in Hamlin NY back in the day and the way we fish them currently on the east end. I’m talking March through early April. We didn’t target chinooks, they were a by-catch if we got lucky. 

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