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Late Season Lake Superior Lake Trout Dream Trip

by James HolstAdministrator on 10/25/2011

Herb Hilinksi with the 1st
fish of the trip... what a
way to start!
Late last week as I made final preparations for a trip to Lake Superior in Michigan waters for a shot at some late season lake trout I was all but out of my mind with excitement over "what might be?!" Our timing was right. We'd done our research. Water temps looked to be right where we needed them to be for a successful trip and the near shore wind forecast predicted calm to 3 foot waves during our stay. The timing looked "just right" for a legit shot at a 25+ pound lake trout!


Grant eyes the trolling
spread like a hawk at
sunrise.
I would be making this trip with two very good friends, father-in-law Herb Hilinski and Grant Sorensen... both of whom live in or near Duluth.

Grant, as many of you already know, fishes Lake Superior in the Duluth area relentlessly throughout the spring and summer. Herb, despite living within miles of the big lake his entire life, had only been on the lake chasing lakers one time in 67 years.

Lake trout season in Michigan waters remains open until the end of October and as the water temps on the big lake cool in advance of winter lake trout start to accumulate in large numbers around in-shore reefs and islands in preparation for the spawn.

Whereas some fish species turn up their noses at all but the most carefully presented baits and lures during their spawning rituals lake trout seemingly lose their minds with aggression making them overly willing to strike out at an angler's offerings. And many of these fish run big. Really big!! And it is this "perfect storm" of conditions that had us targeting lake trout when most had already put their big lake boats up for the season.


Hammered Silver Spoons w/
Bright Colors and Dots for
Contrast were ON FIRE!
Of course not everything worked as planned. In all honesty our original plan was to jig fish for these lake trout but that just didn't come together for us on this trip. When the lake was calm enough to fish jigs the fish were inactive. When the clouds rolled in and the fish got active, the winds kicked up making our attempts to fish jigs utterly futile.

The solution? Fire up the kicker and break out the trolling gear. The fish were up feeding in the top half of the water column so we didn't need anything too fancy to get the job done. Actually, in all honesty, the crankbaits used would have looked right at home tied to a crankbait rod being run by a Mille Lacs Lake walleye guy fishing at night right now. Shallow diving stickbaits worked the best with #13 jointed raps, 900 series reef runners and Bomber Long A's taking most of our crankbait fish.

We rounded out our presentation by fishing two of our allowed 9 rods (3 per person in MI) on downriggers. 4 - 6 inch spoons with BRIGHT contrasting patterns worked very well trolled at 2 - 2.2 MPH. Depths fished were 21' - 31' feet down over 40' - 60' of water. Our most productive areas were narrow rock spines that topped out around 35 feet with deep water on all sides. Our most productive spines were miles in length and would alternately rise toward the surface and drop back down to 50' of water or so along the entire length creating perfect spawning habitat and structure to hold the lakers.


Shallow Running Crankbaits
like this 900 Series Reef
Runner ROCKED!
Early in the morning, later in the afternoon or any time the winds kicked up the cranbaits would produce. If the winds laid back down or the sun popped out the fish would forgo the boards and crankbaits and focus their attentions on our spoon rods. When the conditions were right... MAN, YOU BETTER BE READY TO WORK! We would hit 2 or 3 fish at a time which meant we had to fly into action clearing boards, fight fish and reset rods to keep everything working smoothly.

One thing we picked up on that really paid huge dividends for us was to resist the urge to fish baits just above any lakers shown on our electronics. These fish wanted to come up and ambush baits from below and they're willing to come a long way in the water column to do it! Most of the time we fished in 50' - 60' of water and we regularly marked fish within 2' of the bottom. Drop lures on downriggers just a couple feet above those fish you say? We found that to be a complete waste of time. Now, brings those baits up in the water column, WAY UP, and the fish would rise to the baits and crush them. With 35+ foot water clarity fish can see baits from a LONG way off and we found that by positioning our spoons 19' - 31' feet down and our crankbaits 7' - 15' down our catch rates jumped dramatically and any time we messed with deep diving crankbaits or deeper downrigger sets the fish all but dried up.

The rest of this report will follow as additional replies.



Location : Michigan
Water Body : Lake Superior
Species : trout
Water Temp : 49
Technique : trolling


--------------------
James Holst
In-Depth Outdoors Pro Staff
In-Depth Outdoors TV - Watch Episodes Online Here!
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James HolstAdministrator

Re: Late Season Lake Superior Lake Trout Dream Trip


Here's Herb's first Lake Superior lake trout and our first fish of the trip. For those that have tangled with these fish you know how incredibly strong they are and what it takes to get one to the net. You WILL alternate back and forth between laughing at how strong they are and grumble about how long the fight lasts. It was nothing for some of the larger fish to work out 150 or more feet of line after the strike before the person at the reel could start gaining line. About the time you think you're winning and the fish would be in the net soon.... ZING... there goes another 100' of line in the trout's favor and you start over!



I know Herb was worn down by this 38" trout... and we were just getting started!


James HolstAdministrator

Re: Late Season Lake Superior Lake Trout Dream Trip


Here's another shot of Herb's 1st laker. The head on these fish is amazing and obviously built to engulf BIG baitfish. Smelt, herring and smaller trout are all on the menu and I would imagine these larger lake trout choke down anything they come across. Our spoons and crankbaits were nothing more than mere morsels to these fish.



James HolstAdministrator

Re: Late Season Lake Superior Lake Trout Dream Trip


Everyone worked as a team on this trip! When a big laker would hit the line would start peeling out and everyone had to chip in to make sure lines didn't tangle and that the boat was kept on a productive heading. Thankfully these fish gave us a lot of time to get things done before it was time to grab a net with some of the fights lasting 10, 15 minutes or more.



The Skeeter WX 2100 we fished out of on this trip is a trolling machine. The huge cockpit allowed us to fish 6 lines on boards and 2 - 3 lines on riggers with ease. One of the things that I really appreciate about the hull design on this boat is that it is all but impossible to take a wave over the back of the boat or bow regardless of wind speed, wave height or boat speed. I've been in way too many boats that took huge gulps of water over the transom when netting a fish in bigger waves and that just doesn't happen in the 2100... even when 2 big guys stand on the back deck.

--------------------
James Holst
In-Depth Outdoors Pro Staff
In-Depth Outdoors TV - Watch Episodes Online Here!
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James HolstAdministrator

Re: Late Season Lake Superior Lake Trout Dream Trip


Between Grant and I we both made sure that Herb's first trip with us to Superior would be a memorable one and that meant he had to do the rod work on the first batch of fish. Herb hung in their for the first half dozen or so and then he started to get more insistent that "it wasn't fair" to hog all the fish. Of course we did catch him rubbing his hands and stretching out his wrists when he thought we weren't looking. These fish will flat out wear you down.



James HolstAdministrator

Re: Late Season Lake Superior Lake Trout Dream Trip


Here's Herb with a gorgeous "red fin" (same fish in previous photo above) that smoked a spoon fished 21' down over 55 feet of water. The red orange coloring on some of these fish is incredibly vibrant and makes them one of the better looking fish in fresh water, in my opinion.



James HolstAdministrator

Re: Late Season Lake Superior Lake Trout Dream Trip


Starboard side of the WX 2100. We ran 3 boards per side and we "stacked" 2 lines off of the starboard rigger. One spoon would run 31' down. The other 21'. So easy... even a walleye fisherman can do it!



James HolstAdministrator

Re: Late Season Lake Superior Lake Trout Dream Trip


Grant gets into the action after we put Herb through the ringer with the first half dozen or so. Notice the "triple tree" rod holder behind Grant. I wasn't sure how I would like this type of hold holder arrangement but let me tell you... I LOVED IT! Instead of tying up your whole gunnel with a series of holders you stack them vertically which keeps rods out of the way and frees up gunnel space to do important stuff like net fish when they don't want to come in over the transom.



--------------------
James Holst
In-Depth Outdoors Pro Staff
In-Depth Outdoors TV - Watch Episodes Online Here!
---------------------



Calvin Svihel

Re: Late Season Lake Superior Lake Trout Dream Trip


Wow, that looks like some serious fun.

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James HolstAdministrator

Re: Late Season Lake Superior Lake Trout Dream Trip


This is an early AM shot on Sunday. The sun is just coming up and the weather is perfect for tangling with big lakers. We had low clouds, rain and the winds kicked up a bit producing 3 - 5 foot waves... just the way the trout like it. Sure, sunny and calm conditions are good for the fisherman but we didn't make this trip to take a comfortable boat ride so we were excited to see the wind and waves to see how the fish responded. Plus the 2100 handled it with ease.

Our best fishing was yet to come.



--------------------
James Holst
In-Depth Outdoors Pro Staff
In-Depth Outdoors TV - Watch Episodes Online Here!
---------------------



James HolstAdministrator

Re: Late Season Lake Superior Lake Trout Dream Trip


This fish was our first hook up on Sunday AM. We had just got all lines set when I got my hands on the rod attached to a planer board being pulled backwards at a high rate of speed.



--------------------
James Holst
In-Depth Outdoors Pro Staff
In-Depth Outdoors TV - Watch Episodes Online Here!
---------------------



James HolstAdministrator

Re: Late Season Lake Superior Lake Trout Dream Trip


Shallow diving cranks in white were hard to beat and a 900 Series Reef Runner took top honors as a fish catching machine on this trip.

For those looking to lay in some cranks for this type of fishing, if lakers are going to be your target, white is a "go to" color. Other patterns will catch fish of course but when in doubt... "white is right" when it comes to catching lakers.



And don't worry about using larger lures. On this trip we caught fish on Rapala Magnums and Depth Raiders which would usually be used by muskie anglers. Big lakers don't know that or care.


James HolstAdministrator

Re: Late Season Lake Superior Lake Trout Dream Trip


After your 3rd or 4th fish of the morning the hands and wrists start to ache. Of course that's when the big fish seem to show up. Here I am whining a bit about my hands when Grant throws a deserved "suck it up, cupcake" at me.

He's lucky he didn't swim home.



James HolstAdministrator

Re: Late Season Lake Superior Lake Trout Dream Trip


The hands didn't give out and the fish finally made it to the net. I can't overstate how much fun it is to tangle with this fish. A #10 laker will out-pull a #20 catfish, muskie or bass any day of the week with energy to spare.



Note that not all big lake trout are female. This big male was right in the middle of the spawn and fought like he was flat out PO'd over being separated from the ladies. Even if it was only temporary.

--------------------
James Holst
In-Depth Outdoors Pro Staff
In-Depth Outdoors TV - Watch Episodes Online Here!
---------------------



James HolstAdministrator

Re: Late Season Lake Superior Lake Trout Dream Trip


What follows is one of my favorite fish fighting sequences. I had just run out a #13 jointed rap on the outside board when the clicker on that rod rang out loud and long. We knew it was going to be a big fish based on how fast the line was spinning off the reel and Herb was going to have his hands full given that the lure was set back 180' feet behind the board and the board was over 150 feet out to the side of the boat. Talk about a knock down, drag out fight!



hop307

Re: Late Season Lake Superior Lake Trout Dream Trip


Quote:

After your 3rd or 4th fish of the morning the hands and wrists start to ache. Of course that's when the big fish seem to show up. Here I am whining a bit about my hands when Grant throws a deserved "suck it up, cupcake" at me.

He's lucky he didn't swim home.






"suck it up cupcake"


James HolstAdministrator

Re: Late Season Lake Superior Lake Trout Dream Trip


I'm only laughing 'cuz it hurts so good!"



James HolstAdministrator

Re: Late Season Lake Superior Lake Trout Dream Trip


That, ladies and gentlemen, at the 10 minute mark with 250+ feet of line to go is the look of concern that the fish might actually win.



James HolstAdministrator

Re: Late Season Lake Superior Lake Trout Dream Trip


Grant was ready with the net... 10 minutes ago!



Ron Johnsen

Re: Late Season Lake Superior Lake Trout Dream Trip


Great report & nice fish

James HolstAdministrator

Re: Late Season Lake Superior Lake Trout Dream Trip


Herb hangs on and boats a gorgeous red fin that was long and lean fresh from off the spawn. This photo just doesn't do this fish justice.



James HolstAdministrator

Re: Late Season Lake Superior Lake Trout Dream Trip


Close up of the "red fin." More orange than red, really, but stunning regardless.



--------------------
James Holst
In-Depth Outdoors Pro Staff
In-Depth Outdoors TV - Watch Episodes Online Here!
---------------------



James HolstAdministrator

Re: Late Season Lake Superior Lake Trout Dream Trip


Grant takes "BIG FISH" honors on this trip with this 28# GIANT. This big girl looked like she was about to pop based on her girth. I know when I first saw this fish below the boat I came unglued. It just didn't seem possible that these fish could be this big.



The only thing better than catching that fish was seeing it swim off like a rocket after a couple quick pics. You could just tell she was an old warrior based on the numerous lamprey scars and deserved to pass on her genetics to another generation of lunker lake trout.


James HolstAdministrator

Re: Late Season Lake Superior Lake Trout Dream Trip


For the record... that huge lake trout hit THIS SPOON.



James HolstAdministrator

Re: Late Season Lake Superior Lake Trout Dream Trip


Herb with a very dark and heavily mottled laker. The variations in color on these fish was amazing.



James HolstAdministrator

Re: Late Season Lake Superior Lake Trout Dream Trip


Compare the previous pic with this very silver fish. One thing they all had in common was they put smiles on angler's faces like no other fish I've ever tangled with.



--------------------
James Holst
In-Depth Outdoors Pro Staff
In-Depth Outdoors TV - Watch Episodes Online Here!
---------------------



James HolstAdministrator

Re: Late Season Lake Superior Lake Trout Dream Trip


On more and final pic. Grant caught this one on a Depth Raider of all things. We were testing the "can't go too big" theory and sure enough even the muskie plugs got whacked.



This trip was simply amazing and will be on my annual list going forward. 40# fish are a possibility and I want to put my hands under one that size before my time is up.

Thanks go to Herb and Grant for being amazing partners on this trip.


Joel NelsonAdministrator

Re: Late Season Lake Superior Lake Trout Dream Trip


My goodness does that look like fun. Sounds like extreme salmon fishing in a more remote locale with bigger fish. Thanks so much for taking the great pics, really brings us there. From the looks and sounds of it, you guys fished hard and were well-rewarded!

Joel

--------------------
Joel Nelson - Ice Pro Staff
joel.nelson@in-depthoutdoors.com



Chris Tuckner

Re: Late Season Lake Superior Lake Trout Dream Trip


Beautiful fish and GREAT report!!!

Timmy

Re: Late Season Lake Superior Lake Trout Dream Trip


Awesome report and GREAT pics. Those are my favorite of fish to chase. I have been there many times - but never in October (a spawn time trip there is on my bucket list).

Just one boat made the trip? You guys are braver than I. We always run at least two boats out there 'just in case'.


How many other fisherman did you see?

Tim

--------------------
I'd rather be in the boat with a drink on the rocks, than in the drink with a boat on the rocks.


hop307

Re: Late Season Lake Superior Lake Trout Dream Trip


Looks like I will need to add another fishing trip to the bucket list.
Awsome fish "cupcake"


James HolstAdministrator

Re: Late Season Lake Superior Lake Trout Dream Trip


Quote:

Just one boat made the trip? You guys are braver than I. We always run at least two boats out there 'just in case'.




Just one. I agree having other boats along is ideal but you'd be surprised how hard it is to get people to go on something like this.

Quote:

How many other fisherman did you see?

Tim




Combined total during the length of our stay we saw 5 boats. 2 were traveling through the area and 3 were fishing. We didn't see anything shorter than 24 foot so we were definitely the small boat on the water although I never once wished we were in a different boat.


Justin Schneider

Re: Late Season Lake Superior Lake Trout Dream Trip


Absolutely incredible read James!

This post makes me miss fishing the Great Lakes for trout and salmon. I'm definetly going to make it a priority to get up there a few times next year!

--------------------
Justin Schneider - Insurance for your auto, home & boat!

Ph. 952.938.9190

Email: Justin.Schneider@comcast.net



James HolstAdministrator

Re: Late Season Lake Superior Lake Trout Dream Trip


Quote:

My goodness does that look like fun. Sounds like extreme salmon fishing in a more remote locale with bigger fish. Thanks so much for taking the great pics, really brings us there. From the looks and sounds of it, you guys fished hard and were well-rewarded!

Joel




We caught one dandy rainbow, too. We need to get together a couple boats and make a group trip out there next year.

--------------------
James Holst
In-Depth Outdoors Pro Staff
In-Depth Outdoors TV - Watch Episodes Online Here!
---------------------



Pete Bauer

Re: Late Season Lake Superior Lake Trout Dream Trip


Fantastic pictures and story! Great job guys, that looks like a blast!

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Pete Bauer - BauerOutdoors.com


James HolstAdministrator

Re: Late Season Lake Superior Lake Trout Dream Trip


Quote:

Absolutely incredible read James!

This post makes me miss fishing the Great Lakes for trout and salmon. I'm definetly going to make it a priority to get up there a few times next year!




Having the larger fiberglass boat has opened up a wide variety of destinations I wouldn't even think about going to in a smaller boat. I know I'll be going back after these lakers again next year.

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James Holst
In-Depth Outdoors Pro Staff
In-Depth Outdoors TV - Watch Episodes Online Here!
---------------------



James HolstAdministrator

Re: Late Season Lake Superior Lake Trout Dream Trip


Quote:

Looks like I will need to add another fishing trip to the bucket list.
Awsome fish "cupcake"




I guess I have that coming.

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James Holst
In-Depth Outdoors Pro Staff
In-Depth Outdoors TV - Watch Episodes Online Here!
---------------------



Ralph Wiggum

Re: Late Season Lake Superior Lake Trout Dream Trip


All I can say is, "WOW!" One heckuva trip!

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~Ryan (my name is not really Ralph Wiggum )


Timmy

Re: Late Season Lake Superior Lake Trout Dream Trip


Quote:

Quote:

Just one boat made the trip? You guys are braver than I. We always run at least two boats out there 'just in case'.




Just one. I agree having other boats along is ideal but you'd be surprised how hard it is to get people to go on something like this.





Nope - not surprised at all. It is tough getting guys to go in August......October would be that much tougher.

If you ever getthe itch to organize a group - I have a fully equipped 1850 Tyee and have been there many times. I'd be in if the scheduling works out.

I love it out there. There is no more peaceful sound to fall asleep to than the water wooshing into the shoreline rocks. Where'd you guyz camp?

T

--------------------
I'd rather be in the boat with a drink on the rocks, than in the drink with a boat on the rocks.


Rootski

Re: Late Season Lake Superior Lake Trout Dream Trip


Wow! There were a bunch of other things I was going to say, but....WOW!

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If people don't occasionally walk away from you shaking their heads, you're probably doing something wrong - John Gierach


Chris Granrud

Re: Late Season Lake Superior Lake Trout Dream Trip


Have you ever read a report and get a churning feeling in your stomache. THAT IS SIMPLY SICK MEN!!

Grant, Herb and James UNREAL!!

Your efforts and showcased results have clearly taken me back. Lake Trout are a species of freshwater fish that I truly have a desire to pursue at some point in my fishing career. Your ability to "Tame these beasts" out of a Skeeter WX2100 is impressive to say the least.

Beyond the undeniable beauty and girth of these fish I am very impressed with your rigging prep to efficiently chase these fish in a big water arena. Clearly I'm not versed in "Down Rigger" applications. Board running and your ability to stack trolling rods, operate riggers and fine tune Board set-ups has me clapping my hands and stomping my feet at the same time. I have to believe your efforts have many anglers eyes WIDE OPEN.....as well as their Mouths .

Grant..........What can I say Man that 28# Laker is an amazing fish. My hat is off to you pal. I know your quite versed in chasing lakers. Though this may very well be just another "BIG GIRL" for you I am truly AMAZED!! I can't imagine the composure that it must have taken to not "cannonball" off the side of the WX2100 after landing that special fish.

Herb.....REST UP MAN!! I bet James didn't explain the full contact nature that a trip such as this might entail. Lord knows fishing with Holst can wear your wrists out.

James........Hats off to you Pal. I know of NOBODY that preps in the nature you do for optimum success in which you men clearly achieved. Your feverish attention to detail clearly paid off in "FISH FAT"!!

Being aboard several filming missions the true "Paradigm of Fishing", documentation and of course filming can be a tall task to achieve and gift wrap for all to enjoy. I commend you 3 for sharing your adventure with us. Truly amazing from the first fish to allowing "Cupcake" to put the beans to a Laker!!

Great Job Men!!

On a side note I'm quite interested on some close up shots of your stacking rod set up and overall rigging for this application. LORD all I need is another passion. DANG IT this is supposed to be my RESTING TIME !!


Steve DeZurik

Re: Late Season Lake Superior Lake Trout Dream Trip


Good Lord.....

Chris Granrud

Re: Late Season Lake Superior Lake Trout Dream Trip


I can't get over this; OK......So you tried to rip plastics for these fish. We all know adapting to what the lake will give you often times determines overall success or failure on a trip. My guess would be when conditions warrant this method would be truly sick.

I have to believe there would be a moment in time your HOPING for a strike then the rest of the trip in which your FEARING one.


Jeff Huberty

Re: Late Season Lake Superior Lake Trout Dream Trip




Totally Impressed


Rootski

Re: Late Season Lake Superior Lake Trout Dream Trip


Quote:

OK......So you tried to rip plastics for these fish.




Heck I was going to ask him if they were shallow enough to reach with a fly rod. You know, the 10 weight with the big reel that has 200 yards of backing

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If people don't occasionally walk away from you shaking their heads, you're probably doing something wrong - John Gierach


Chuck Nordahl

Re: Late Season Lake Superior Lake Trout Dream Trip


Very impressive! Brings back lots of good Superior memories, but never caught lakers of that magnitude. Wow!

AllenW

Re: Late Season Lake Superior Lake Trout Dream Trip


As someone who's just getting into great lakes fishing I see I can add another destination for next year, all goes well.

Good post, thanks.

Al

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Remember our vets, they need our help, just like they helped us.


Jack Naylor

Re: Late Season Lake Superior Lake Trout Dream Trip


Terrific Report, Pics, and Fish.
Unreal....

Jack

--------------------
USA- Home of the Free, Because of the Brave !!
Aspire To Inspire, Before You Expire

I'd rather walk with you than just point the way


Grant Sorensen

Re: Late Season Lake Superior Lake Trout Dream Trip


Thanks guys it was a fun trip to say the least. Definately ranks up there in my list of big lake trout trips. James and herb were an awesome crew because this is truely a team way of fishing, especially when you have 9 rods out, downrigger balls snagging on bottom, 5 foot waves etc, it is something that cant be done without a good team of guys.

I have been fortunate to learn a lot in the past few years concerning the patterns and ways to target these larger fish, both in Minnesota and michigan waters alike. James was already hooked on big lake trout long before we started fishing together but I think I have added to that addiction to say the least lol. By paying attention to small detail and breaking down an area severely as James and I have, one can somewhat feel not-so-overwhelmed at the extreme magnitude of this lake. They sure are a great fish and provide an endless amount of fun once hooked up. Its not always easy getting them to bite, but once you figure out a pattern its about as fun as it gets. We released every big fish we could but we had two descent sized fish die on us due to hooks deep in the gills and the fish pretty much bled out. It is important to release these big fish, as they do not grow fast when the water averages 40 degrees where these fish spend the majority of their lives. The big one I got, was about to burst open she had so many eggs in her. Sometimes the memories of the fish swimming away rival those of catching her, and this was definately the case.

James pretty much sumed it up with the report and pics. It was a blast and I look forward to doing it again buddy. There is still a lot to learn !

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Grant Sorensen - Ice Pro Staff
grant.sorensen@in-depthoutdoors.com


jetro

Re: Late Season Lake Superior Lake Trout Dream Trip


WOW! Definitely titled appropriately. Well done!

D-Train

Re: Late Season Lake Superior Lake Trout Dream Trip


Man that is just awesome. What a fun trip.

In the pic of the spoon that the big fish hit, it looks like a black line, maybe fireline? When fishing such ultra clear waters do you put an emphasis on visibility or lack thereof in line selection or do you put that low in your list of attributes for line selection? Like Chris I'd love to read more about your rigging.


Grant Sorensen

Re: Late Season Lake Superior Lake Trout Dream Trip


Quote:

Man that is just awesome. What a fun trip.

In the pic of the spoon that the big fish hit, it looks like a black line, maybe fireline? When fishing such ultra clear waters do you put an emphasis on visibility or lack thereof in line selection or do you put that low in your list of attributes for line selection? Like Chris I'd love to read more about your rigging.




That is a superline. I really perfer it on a downrigger rod. A lot better than mono. And on visibility, yes you should be concerned, but it does not seem to matter on a rigger. On a board it is a different story. Ill talk with James and one of us can elaborate on our set up

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Grant Sorensen - Ice Pro Staff
grant.sorensen@in-depthoutdoors.com


GMAN

Re: Late Season Lake Superior Lake Trout Dream Trip


Awesome fish men ... James you are a fish god

Joel Ballweg

Re: Late Season Lake Superior Lake Trout Dream Trip


Very nice report and even more impressive fish!
Well done guys.

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JOEL BALLWEG - IDO FIELD STAFF
B'Fish'N Tackle.com
Ballweg's Guide Sevice, LLC
Lake Wisconsin Fishing.com




Jmarksman

Re: Late Season Lake Superior Lake Trout Dream Trip


Very nice pic's and report! Lakers are a blast.

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John Marksman
Marksman Guide Service
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Marksman-Guide-Service/184699227210?ref=hl


Jim Hudson

Re: Late Season Lake Superior Lake Trout Dream Trip


Great fish, fellas.. Way to dial it in and get bit, big TIME!!

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Jim Hudson


Bob Bowman

Re: Late Season Lake Superior Lake Trout Dream Trip


SWEET

Those are some great looking fish and a fantastic read

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Bob Bowman


grumpy

Re: Late Season Lake Superior Lake Trout Dream Trip


WOW, WOW - CATCH & RELEASE = PRICELESS

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SEMPER FI 67-71


biggill

Re: Late Season Lake Superior Lake Trout Dream Trip


Quote:

Nope - not surprised at all. It is tough getting guys to go in August......October would be that much tougher.




Didn't ask me!

Now I can see why you couldn't sleep before this trip. Great pics and good job getting them dialed in!

So I'm assuming you weren't at Isle Royal. What port or town did you go out of? I may be interested in a trip out next year.

Is there any ice fishing in that area?


fishnutbob

Re: Late Season Lake Superior Lake Trout Dream Trip


Now thats what I call a fantastic fishing trip and great report. Nice job guys. Now try and beat that trip for big fish next year. I would go on a trip like that in a heartbeat.

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Bob A.
Walker,Mn.




Matt P

Re: Late Season Lake Superior Lake Trout Dream Trip


Wow! That reminds me of Salmon fishing! So much fun!

James HolstAdministrator

Re: Late Season Lake Superior Lake Trout Dream Trip


Quote:

On a side note I'm quite interested on some close up shots of your stacking rod set up and overall rigging for this application. LORD all I need is another passion. DANG IT this is supposed to be my RESTING TIME !!




I did a "Big Water Rigging" post as a separate thread in the Skeeter Boats forum to keep from it getting lost here.

http://www.idofishing.com/forum/showflat.php?Number=1057147

Let me know if you have any questions. I'll do what I can....

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James Holst
In-Depth Outdoors Pro Staff
In-Depth Outdoors TV - Watch Episodes Online Here!
---------------------



James HolstAdministrator

Re: Late Season Lake Superior Lake Trout Dream Trip


Quote:

In the pic of the spoon that the big fish hit, it looks like a black line, maybe fireline? When fishing such ultra clear waters do you put an emphasis on visibility or lack thereof in line selection or do you put that low in your list of attributes for line selection? Like Chris I'd love to read more about your rigging.




Great question about line visibility and water clarity.

The rod in question was rigged with 6/20 Stealth in green and as Grant stated it was tied directly to the spoon.

The rigger rod on the other side of the boat was rigged with 6/20 Stealth in green with a 20 foot flouro leader (20# Vanish). As near as we could tell there was absolutely no discernible difference in catch rate between the two rods.

The crankbait / planer board rods were Shimano Talora trolling rods in 7'6", 8'6" and 9'6" lengths with the shorter rods pulling the boards closest to the boat and the longest rods pulling the boards further away.

Reels used... Shimano Tekota line counter.

Line... 20# test Berkley Sensation in clear.

And that's that. Pretty darn simple, really. Holler if I left anything out.

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James Holst
In-Depth Outdoors Pro Staff
In-Depth Outdoors TV - Watch Episodes Online Here!
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Joe JC Conley

Re: Late Season Lake Superior Lake Trout Dream Trip


Count my boat in on that trip James! Awesome fish!

We caught one dandy rainbow, too. We need to get together a couple boats and make a group trip out there next year.




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James HolstAdministrator

Re: Late Season Lake Superior Lake Trout Dream Trip


At midnight on Monday the laker season on Superior is closed in MI waters. Until next year...

Unless we can get out there... somehow... to ice fish. Hmmmmmmmm.

I guess I need to start saying prayers for the coldest winter on record to help make THAT happen.

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James Holst
In-Depth Outdoors Pro Staff
In-Depth Outdoors TV - Watch Episodes Online Here!
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mbenson

Re: Late Season Lake Superior Lake Trout Dream Trip


Quote:

At midnight on Monday the laker season on Superior is closed in MI waters. Until next year...

Unless we can get out there... somehow... to ice fish. Hmmmmmmmm.

I guess I need to start saying prayers for the coldest winter on record to help make THAT happen.




James, I know this was posted here last spring, but be careful what you wish...

Older and wiser is not always the case when it comes to some fishermen and their passion for ice fishing. Some folks learn from past experiences or take fewer risks as they age but not these ice fishing veterans. While they had hoped to be the ones doing the catching they become the catch after a harrowing ice fishing experience on Lake Superior. What's that saying, "Crazy is as Crazy Does?"

Dramatic rescue of ice anglers on Lake Superior
Posted on January 27, 2011 by Sam Cook

In case you missed this in todays Duluth News Tribune, Ive pasted a story about a rescue of two ice anglers from the ice of Saxon Harbor on Lake Superior on Saturday. I have fished with one of the men who was rescued, Skip Wick of Hurley. This shows you can never really be sure about ice, especially on Lake Superior.
By Sam Cook scook@duluthnews.com
For an hour and a half, Skip Wick had been trying to stay upright on a chunk of ice in Lake Superiors 8-foot swells.
The 80-year-old ice angler, stranded on the lake Saturday after big waves undermined the ice in Saxon Harbor east of Ashland, knew his options were limited.
As I was standing there, the ice kept breaking up, said Wick, a retired shop teacher from Hurley, Wis. There was a big roar, like a jet going over, and here would come a wave.
The roar was the sound of the waves, later estimated by Ashland firefighters at 8 to 12 feet, lifting and grinding chunks of ice as far as Wick could see. The chunk he was on was about as long and wide as a car, he said.
As it turned out, Wick and fishing partner Mike Popko of Saxon, Wis., were plucked off their respective ice pans after a harrowing two hours by the Ashland Fire Department using an air boat, or wind sled, called an Ice Angel.
Those were the worst conditions I have ever been in for an ice rescue, said Lt. Tom Walters of the Ashland Fire Department.
Popko, riding a chunk of ice 30 yards away from Wick during the ordeal, feared the worst.
It was awful, said Popko, 61. It was like a bowl of Jell-O with all this busted-up ice. He (Wick) and I would be in troughs between the waves, and we couldnt see each other. I really didnt think I was going to make it.
Walters said it was surprising Wick and Popko could remain on their ice chunks.
How they were able to maintain their balance going that high up in the air and back down is beyond me, Walters said.
AN ICE PUZZLE
The day had begun like many for the 50 to 75 ice anglers fishing on 12-inch-thick ice out of Saxon Harbor near the Michigan state line. Then, without warning or big wind, the ice began to fracture, Wick said. He was about 500 yards from shore, he said.
The first crack was to the north, he said. The second one went through my tent.
These were fine cracks, Wick said, giving the ice the appearance of a puzzle.
The wind was not blowing hard at that time, Wick said. But a front was moving into the area and the waves may have been pushed by winds farther down the lake.
When he saw the cracks form, Wick yelled to his son, Richard Wick, also of Hurley, and grandson Cal Wick, 8, fishing nearby. They threw all of their fishing gear into a 12-foot boat they had towed onto the ice on a trailer behind a snowmobile. But as they and other anglers headed for shore, the swells began to further fracture the ice.
The trailers wheels became lodged in a crack between ice chunks, so Richard and Cal continued to shore on the snowmobile. Skip Wick and Popko kept moving toward shore, jumping from one ice chunk to another.
We got to the point we couldnt go from cake to cake, Popko said.
The ice ahead of them had broken into pieces too small to support them. Other anglers, who hadnt been fishing as far out as Wick and his companions, were able to reach shore safely.
LONG WAIT
From that point, and for almost two more hours, Wick and Popko were alone on their respective floes. They couldnt communicate over the gnashing and grinding of the ice. They both managed to stay dry and warm, but the ride was terrifying.
I looked at the situation and thought, Am I going to drown or get crushed to death? Popko said. When a wave would crest, the chunks would separate. Then, in the troughs, one big chunk would crash into another one. It would about knock you on your rear end.
Wick had been on ice floes four or five times previously in his life.
This isnt my first rodeo, he said.
But all of those had been clean breakaways. He would just get in his boat or canoe, which hed brought along for just that purpose, and row or paddle back to landfast ice.
On one occasion, he had to paddle a floe back to solid ice using only his ice chisel, he said.
But this was different, because waves were pushing all of the broken ice toward shore.
Reflecting on the incident, Popko thinks the men made a mistake.
We should never have left the boat, he said.
A LONELY FEELING
Wick recalls feeling isolated on his ice chunk and realizing he was on his own. He knew nobody on shore could get a boat or snowmobile out to them on that heaving ice.
I had no control over my survival, he said. (But) I was never fearful. I was hoping I would be rescued by something. A chopper (helicopter) was my number-one thought.
Firefighters from Ashland, the only fire department in the area with a wind sled, received the rescue call at 12:50 p.m. and then had to drive about half an hour to Saxon Harbor, Walters said.
It was nearly a white-out, Walters said. You could hardly see the piers out there.
He and his crew of three launched their 20-plus-foot airboat, powered by a single large fan, and began venturing out to Popko and Wick, whom they could see from shore.
I gotta be honest with you, Walters said. My whole crew, we were pretty worried. We didnt know that the craft could handle that situation. We had never had it in water like that.
Bouncing across the ice chunks, the firefighters reached the men in about 10 minutes, Walters estimated. They threw a weighted rope to the men, first Popko and then Wick. In each case, the watercraft was then able to get close enough that the men could clamber aboard. They reached shore about 2:30 p.m.
Both Wick and Popko expressed their gratitude for the firefighters efforts.
Now Wick just wants to get his boat, and his fishing gear, back. He has been to the lake nearly every day since the incident and has seen the boat bobbing on the ice at least once, he said. He planned to contact a pilot to see if the boat could be located from the air.
The Iron County Sheriffs Department has not received charges yet for the rescue from the Ashland Fire Department. If charges are received, they will be forwarded to the Iron County Board to see if Wick and Popko will be charged for the rescue, according to a Sheriffs Department spokesman.
Wick said Saturdays incident will not change his practice of ice-fishing on Lake Superior, which hes been doing for almost 60 years. Popko was less sure about that.
My wife said, You gotta promise never to go out there again, he said. But fishing is one of my favorite pastimes.

Mark


dented boat guy

Re: Late Season Lake Superior Lake Trout Dream Trip


James, I saw your show this morning with you catching lakers on Superior and you looked like a kid in the candy store or an eight year old on Christmas morning. I know, I got that look three years ago on Pipestone in Ontario when I started catching lake trout by accident while fishing for walleyes. Up until then I was always a walleye guy and I still fish for eyes most of the time but lake trout fishing has become my new passion. Now when we go there we have to catch the eyes for shore lunch in the morning but then in the afternoon I get giddy because we get to fish for lakers. We have great success with leadcore running 5 to 8 colors and jigging deep. Something I will try this year is deep slip bobbering( I know don't laugh). I can't imagine how much fun this could be if it works. Anyway thanks for the great show and I would encourage you to do an occasional show on lakers because there is not a lot of useful info out there on lake trout fishing, at least for soft water.

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