Smashing lakers, jigging

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Red Barchetta
Posts: 5
Joined: Fri May 06, 2022 10:06 pm
Species: Trout

Smashing lakers, jigging

Post by Red Barchetta »

Had several incredible outings on Champlain this year, given that this is my first year on this lake. We began the year mostly trolling in bays & caught fish suspended initially 15-35’ down, using flashers and or spin doctor combos with flies and rapala’s. When that slowed, continued to troll for them down deeper 90’-125’ but got tired of down rigging fish and couldn’t wait for these fish to set up on deep sites.
While doing my research this winter, I couldn’t believe I would have 20-35 fish days jigging for them, having fished mostly Canadian lakes (Memphre, I.e., heavily pressured and not stocked) but that’s exactly what materialized almost every trip since June 24.
Our 7 biggest lakers of the year were: 3x 30”, 2x 31”, 1 x 31.5” & 1x 32” , 140 trout landed in 8 trips.
What amazed me most was 65% of these were natural reproduction fish (very amazed; cause everything I had read on blogs and on YouTube videos suggested that these fish were not successfully reproducing - couldn’t be further from the truth!).
Was out there this past Saturday and noticed that the surface temp had declined to 70 degrees (from 76.7 3 weeks ago) and that the larger breeder fish had evacuated the summer spots i found them on from early July - late Aug, (in preparation for spawning i guess?), cause all we hooked up with were 15-19” class fish.
My question to the group here is, where are they staging for the next 3-4 weeks - mouths of rivers, or back in the bays?
I leave you with some highlights from 2022 season!
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Last edited by Red Barchetta on Wed Oct 19, 2022 4:39 pm, edited 2 times in total.
60Fishman
Posts: 50
Joined: Wed Apr 13, 2016 8:24 pm
Species: lake trout, salmon, bass

Re: Smashing lakers, jigging

Post by 60Fishman »

Glad you had a good year. I was jigging lake trout yesterday and caught several in the 27-31" range. In fact I only caught one under 20". The last time I was out, 2 weeks ago, I was catching them at 105-110 feet. Yesterday I started at that depth and and had no luck for almost 2 hours. Eventually I found them at 85-90 feet so they had moved up but they were in the same general areas for me, just shallower.

Just curious how you know they are wild fish. The reports and studies (Vermont F&W I believe) show there is more natural reproduction going on and for sure there are a lot more wild fish. Howevere, if you are going by fin clips New York State does not fin clip all stocked fish and that has been the case for years. I have not been able to find out if that is the case specifically for lake trout but I know for a fact that all the stream rainbows I have been catching for years in a river near me, that is entirely a stocked fishery, has all non-fin clipped trout. I have noticed more Lakers with more colorfol (usually more yellow in the stripe) in their fins compared to others but I am not sure even that is a reliable indicator.
Red Barchetta
Posts: 5
Joined: Fri May 06, 2022 10:06 pm
Species: Trout

Re: Smashing lakers, jigging

Post by Red Barchetta »

Hey there 60Fishman,
Thanks for the comment.
Yeah I guess you’re in tune with the lake a little more than I am. For the most part throughout all of august and part of July for that matter, the majority of my fish were caught in that 100-115’ range. Saw some variation early Am and evenings, but that range worked well for me especially where I fished. I tried fishing 80-95’ in this one vicinity (half dozen spots along trend) and no luck. The bigger breeders just weren’t there anymore - it was ghost town! I was baffled and my son really disappointed! ( believing throughout the summer that we were hot shit😉)
It only dawned on me in the last hour of daylight, to move closer to a transition zone, a well known hump located closer to shore relative to the above spot, thinking that they were heading back into the bays, so it might make sense that this spot would hold them on their way back to early spring spots, …and we found them. Boated 5 fish in 40 minutes, 4 in the 24-25” class and one 31.5” fish; we also missed 4 more that came off, so yeah the theory sort of proved correct.
RE stocked vs. hatchery fish, I spoke with a biologist on shore by boat launch in July, and she confirmed that hatchery lakers for the last 10-15 years have all had a fin clipped.
Maybe she’s mistaken, will certainly call NYS & Vermont wildlife department to further inquire.
This years research will be trying to understand where the salmon, steelhead are, cause I din’t hook into a single one all year!
60Fishman
Posts: 50
Joined: Wed Apr 13, 2016 8:24 pm
Species: lake trout, salmon, bass

Re: Smashing lakers, jigging

Post by 60Fishman »

I have nevere been able to find good information from NYS DEC. I only know from their web site where they say only some fish are fin clipped and what I observe on one river. So it may be that the LT are clipped. Would like to know.

I doubt I am more in tune on the lake, you got out a few more times than me. Sunday morning I was about 5 minutes away from using the downriggers to cover more water or I was even contemplating trying for bass, until I finally found a depth and area with some agressive fish that saved the morning. It just goes to show what an amazing fishery LC is that catching only 5 LT of the size you describe is considered a down day. A lot of places that would be a banner day. You don't get double digits it is like what is wrong.

If only the lampreys were under better control. One of the ones I caught Sunday was right at 12 lbs but it had a real nasty lamprey wound right behind the gill plate. I released him and he went straight down but you wonder how much longer he will survive with that wound. With all the fish caught you rarely hear of a fish pushing or getting to 20 pounds. I think 13-15 pound range usually wins the LCI. I am convinced that the lampreys just eventually wear down a lot of these fish and they do not get to reach their true size potential.
AvgJoe
Posts: 6
Joined: Mon May 23, 2022 7:37 am
Species: All
Location: Charlotte, VT

Re: Smashing lakers, jigging

Post by AvgJoe »

Red,
Looks like you've had a great year so far! With no electronics or spot lock we get them jigging from little boats w binskys or mepps flying Js when the wind is right. Can I ask what type of jig your using? Its always good to expand the arsenal.
Red Barchetta
Posts: 5
Joined: Fri May 06, 2022 10:06 pm
Species: Trout

Re: Smashing lakers, jigging

Post by Red Barchetta »

You may indeed ask me, and sorry for the tardy reply AvgJoe.
I’ve been using 2 ounce Spro jigs (white and green) combined with a 4” orange grub tail, and they seem to have been all over this on several outings. Others in my boat utilized heavy jigging spoons (mackerel style ones) 1 3/4 ounce weight. These heavier lures get you to bottom quickly and a few strong taps on the bottom usually resulted in lakers coming over to inspect it (they’re ultra curious creatures!) which is when we begin reeling up the water column- and the result is almost always a predatory follow!
We didn’t use the sonar for video fishing much, preferred to simply wait for them to swim around the baits then crank through the water column and it almost always resulted in some incredible hook-ups.
Best of luck to you this fall!
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