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Fishing for Spring
Lake Trout intogue1.jpg (26143 bytes)

By Mike Christy

   Trolling for Maine's native lake trout just after ice out is a  popular spring pastime. It may be one of the most uncomfortable pastimes due to the raw weather conditions anglers must endure. But it's spring after all and it's a chance to get out of the house, and maybe catch a few fish! For few weeks in April and May the activity on Maine's inland waters is teaming with anglers hoping to hook into Old Grand Dad Togue.

   Lake trout are relatively easy to catch during this time of year, at most times they can be found right on the surface. Flat-lining a streamer fly or sewed on smelt straight off the stern is the most popular method for taking fish. A fly rod matched with sinking line and a long leader has proven to be the best early season tackle combo. Second best recommendation is a medium action spinning outfit with 8lb test. Either a smelt imitation or Rapala type swimmer which mimics the forage fish in the lake is your best bet. Troll these offerings at a slower speed than you would for salmon.

HINT: To get your lure into the water sooner, place a downrigger release clip on the transom of your boat. Place your line into the clip and your rod into a rod holder. Take up the slack until a slight bend in in the rod tip.

   When you cant find lake trout on top, then go right to the bottom. By studying lake depth maps, look for bottom topology which is flat over a large area. If it is sandy, that's even better. Try trolling with lead core or down-riggers with large dodgers and spinners in front of lures. The best togue lure is the flatfish. A U20 flatfish in the SLIS color is highly recommended.

   After the thremocline sets up, which usually occurs around June in most waters, tactics using the above mentioned deep water techniques must be used to catch lakers.

togue2.jpg (23899 bytes)Where to Fish

   Togue prefer water temperatures between 48 and 52 degrees. In the spring they are usually found in the shallows and near the surface of the lake. Like salmon, togue may be found at the mouths of  streams and rivers entering the lake. The reason is the spring spawning runs of smelt which concentrate the fish.
   Later in the season togue can be found in depths of 50 to 200 feet depending on the body of water. They are bottom oriented fish and can often be found where the thermocline meets under water structure such as humps and ledges. If you can find a school of bait, the correct water temperature and structure, you will have pretty good chances of being successful.

Major Togue Lakes

There are many lakes which hold lake trout in the state, listed below are  three big hitters.

Three hundred foot deep Sebago Lake in Cumberland County is Maine's premiere lake trout fishery. Three areas to target are the northern area of Jordan Bay, the westerly side of Indian Island and the area off Wards Cove in the main lake. Ice-out is typically in the first weeks of April.

Daily limit on togue: 5 fish; minimum length limit: 16 inches.

Moosehead Lake holds abundant lake trout environment. The northern shore off Farm Island and Mount Kineo are popular spots. Try the northeast area off of Deer Island for togue infested water.

Daily Limit: 3 fish in the aggregate, not to include more than 1 salmon, 1 trout, 3 togue (only 1 togue may be longer than 18 inches; all 3 may be between 14 and 18 inches).

Washington county hosts West Grand Lake. Areas to target are The Narrows and the big water side of Hardwood Island. Its best to check with a local to find out where the fish have been hitting lately.

Daily Limit: Togue: 2 fish of 18 inches (General Rules)

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