Fishing for lake trout is one of my favorite types of fishing just because of how hard they fight. Most of the time you’ll have to catch them by boat but at certain times of the year, you’ll be able to catch them from the bank. In this post, I’m going to be talking about how to catch lake trout from the shore.
We’re going to be talking about the rod/reel you should be using, what fishing line to use, what’s the best lure/bait, and how to actually fish for them. There really isn’t a right and wrong way to target lake trout but this is what I’ve had the most success with. Continue reading or watch the video below for the full details on how to catch lake trout.
When To Catch Lake Trout From The Shore?
Fishing for lake trout from the bank is only worth your while certain times of the year. The only time you’ll catch lake trout from the shore will be in the winter and spring. These are the only times of the year when the trout will come to the shallower water to feed.
In summer and early fall, trout will be a lot deeper and you’ll need to be in a boat to reach them. I’m sure you could get lucky and get one but most of the time you won’t be able to cast out far enough.
The reason trout are deep in the summer and fall is that the water is colder and that’s what they prefer. The shallows are going to be too warm for them and that’s why there’s no point in going for them. In winter and early fall, the water will be cold enough for them to come in and feed on some of the smaller fish.
Best Lure For Lake Trout
Like I said before, there isn’t one right way to fish for lake trout but I’m going to be showing you what I’ve had the best results with. My favorite lure to use for lake trout is a spinner. Something dark in low light and something bright in brighter conditions.
If I’m fishing in the morning or evening (or on a cloudy day) I’ll use something black, brown, or gold. Something like this is going to work a lot better than something bright. If I’m fishing in brighter conditions I’ll use something silver. My favorite is a size #4 Stingeye spinner in silver Chartreuse. See our favorites here.
What Gear To Use For Lake Trout
The first thing we’ll talk about is what rod and reel to use. Since you’re fishing from the bank, you’ll need a rod that can cast a long distance. That’s why I’d recommend a spinning or baitcasting rod. Most people should go with a spinning rod just because they’re easier to use and not much can go wrong. The only thing you’ll want to make sure is that you’re using a medium-heavy rod (since lake trout can get fairly big).
The next question is what fishing line to use. You can use whatever you want but I almost always use a 10-20 braided line for any type of fishing I’m doing. The reason I like braid is that it’s thin and that’ll let you cast a long distance. I’ve done the testing and braid casts better than mono or fluoro. It also stretches less so you can get a better hook set in. I’ll then toss on a 15-20 lb fluorocarbon leader because it’s invisible to the trout.
You can attach the two lines using a swivel or tie them directly together. It doesn’t really matter and the choice is up to you. If you’re using a weight then I’d probably go with a swivel (it’ll hold the weight in place). If you want to tie them directly then you can use the Surgeon’s knot.
Lake Trout Technique
When I’m fishing for lake trout from the bank I like to use the slow roll technique. I’m not sure if that’s the official name for it but it’s what the guy I learned it from called it. All it really is is dragging the spinner along the ground. Fishing for rainbow or other types of trout is a bit different because you can simply cast and retrieve it.
Step #1 is to cast your line on and let the spinner sink to the bottom. Since you’re going to be dragging it along the bottom, you’re going to need the heavier line in case it gets snagged. If you use lighter tackle then it’ll break off every time. Braid is super strong so it’s not going to happen as much.
Step #2 is to drag your spinner along the ground and reel in the slack. You’ll want to keep your rod parallel to the ground and you’ll want to reel and drag fairly slow. You can just cast and retrieve but this technique seems to work a lot better.
Step #3 is to quickly reel in when you get pretty shallow (when you get 2/3 the way in). Trout most likely aren’t going to be that shallow anyway and all you’re doing is risking getting snagged. Just reel in your line and cast it back out.
It’s really that simple. It’s not going to result in fish every single time but if you’re fishing the right time of year, there are actually trout in the water, and you use this technique, you should have no issues catching some good lake trout.
Happy fishing. If you want to catch more fish, use more hooks.
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