May 10, 2018

Springtime is Trout Time

Subhead: Brown, lake trout abound in shallower waters of Lake Michigan this time of year

By: Capt. Lee Haasch

As Trevor unhooked the last dock line and shoved the Grand Illusion 2 away from our dock, we headed east into the near darkness. A sliver of moon and a thousand stars guided us to the entrance to the Algoma harbor and past the Algoma lighthouse.

I slowly changed my angle north and powered up to head to our fishing destination. Trevor joined me on the bridge.

“Everyone doing OK below,” I asked.

“Coffee is poured, muffins being eaten, and they are cutting cards to see who goes first,” Trevor answered.

It was a brisk morning, but the cabin was toasty warm. With very little wind, it will be a beautiful day once the sun awakens.

“We’ll head up just past Utech’s Bay and set in about 20 feet of water and troll up to Stoney Creek. There’s been a fair amount of brown trout holding from Jerry’s cottage to Stoney,” I informed Trevor.

I slowly eased the throttles back as we neared our target starting point.

Trevor already had his first line back about 100 feet and was setting his Yellow Bird and dropped it into the water as I grabbed my first pole and started letting line out. He started setting his second line and then screamed, “Fish on! Who’s up?”

He wacked that No. 11 Clown floater Rapala on the outside Yellow Bird. No sooner did our customer take that pole from Trevor and began reeling, and Trevor again hollered, “Fish! Fish! Lee your outside bird!”

Sure enough that Green Tiger UV Husky Jerk was working on a brown trout of its own.

“Who’s next?” I yelled.

Lake trout on return trip

May mornings often start like this, especially weekdays when there is little traffic in the shallow water. Fearing clear water, I chose to start just a little deeper and work the shelf area next to the drop off and it paid off. We managed to capture four nice chunky brown trout and battle two more before a “pre-net release,” in just a short three-mile troll.

As the sun rose slightly higher, I slowly turned around a prepared for a return troll – this time slightly deeper to see if a few lake trout are feeding just off the shelf. Trevor started changing a few of the inside rigs to orange/gold Rapalas and once again, it didn’t take long.

“Fish, fish on!” Trevor yelled. He had just let about 15 more feet of line out on that Slide Diver to get it a little deeper. That triggered the strike. Minutes later he slid the net under a beautiful 15-pound lake trout. “They’re here!” I exclaimed.

Early in the year, the lake trout like to slide into the shallow water and feed on round gobies. Often times as the sun gets higher, they will be found just off the shelfs in a little deeper water, and with cooler water temperatures in the spring they feed fairly aggressive.