East Central Outdoors
Although there are no lakes in east central Alberta containing lake trout there is an excellent one just a few hours north at Cold Lake.
Over the past few years, fishing for lake trout has become very popular and Cold Lake is where many anglers have went to pursue them.
Lake trout will remain reasonably shallow (less than 10 feet deep) at first ice-off but as soon as the water starts to heat up in June and through the summer they move deep. Deep meaning in the 50-100 foot range (and often deeper).
Lake trout can still be caught with standard gear but typically to get your lures to the depth required to consistently catch lake trout some heavier gear will help.
Rods in the seven to ten feet range (especially if you are using a downrigger) and baitcast reels loaded with 20-50 lb. braid work well for lake trout.
Lake trout will come up a long way to hit a lure, I have observed them rising 20-30 feet on the sonar to strike a lure, but controlled depth fishing is the key to success in my opinion.
Controlled depth can be achieved a few different ways, with a line counter reel, slip or snap weights (two to four ounces) or a dipsey diver or pink lady.
The dipsey diver and pink lady are designed to dive when you are trolling and also have a small fin on top that can be adjusted to move your presentation off to the side, which is handy if you are running multiple lines.
The line counter works somewhat similar to a downrigger. Although you may not know the exact depth you are at with the line counter reel, if you are contacting fish it is easy to return to the depth by simply letting out the same amount of line as you did on the initial trolling pass.
The easiest and preferred method for controlled depth fishing is with a downrigger.
With good sonar you can locate lake trout or schools of bait fish and place your lure at precisely the depth to contact fish as you can see the downrigger ball on your sonar.
Keep your presentation a few feet above the depth of the fish as they will usually congregate below the bait schools waiting for a weak or injured fish to drop out of the school.
There are many flasher/spoon setups that will work well for lake trout. I use a small to medium silver or silver/blue flasher (Apex or Hotspot) about three to five inches long, with about a four to six snell line to a spoon or anchovy rig.
Some popular spoons are Williams wobbler, Kitimat, Little Cleo, Len Thompson, Krocodile, Manistee and Coyote.
For colors, I use a silver, blue/silver, green/silver and blue/green, although other colors can work well to. More important than color choose spoons with a different shapes and sizes as the vibration given off by the spoon is usually felt by the fish, long before they see the color.
Keep changing spoons until you contact fish.
Probably my best success has been using anchovy rigs behind flashers.
These are a bait rig that have a small plastic cup that you put the head of a four to five inch anchovy, smelt or other bait in and slide a small wooden plug (toothpick size) through to hold the bait in place. It is has been my experience over the years, regardless of species that fish seem to hit and hold onto a bait rig better than a metal or plastic lure.
Once you locate fish jigging can also be effective, best jigging technique summer or winter is to drop your jig to the bottom, and then retrieve at a fairly quick rate to the surface. Don’t stop or slow down until the jig is right to the top, strikes can be pretty hard…….so hang on!
Best jigs for this are about a one, two or three ounce tube or bucktail jig in white or white/black.
Cold Lake is a huge lake and pretty much wide open. Huge waves can whip up pretty quick so keep an eye on the weather.
Laker fishing is quite different than other species, but is great fun, and the fish pull hard.
Have a great summer and remember to take a kid fishing!