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Lake Trout by any other name is still a Lake Trout

Lake Trout by any other name is still a Lake Trout

A lake trout referred to by any other name is still a lake trout. But geographically speaking they are alternately called mackinaw or mack throughout much of the US and Canada, but can also be referred to as togue or lake char, or even gray trout. No matter what you call them they are still big, vicious, and more than eager to shred a fly, especially if you are willing to fish from a boat in the freezing wind, at ice-out. But many fly fisher know these fish are worthy of your pursuit.


Native to regions in Northern US, Canada, and Alaska they have been transplanted with such success they are classified as an invasive species in many lakes, most notably Yellowstone Lake, where they are actively netted and destroyed. Their aggressive nature that is harmful to some eco-systems is the very trait that makes them so exciting to fish. In these days, if you miss the taste of fresh caught trout there are plenty of places where keeping a lake trout will allow you to dine on one while promoting conservation practices. 


It is commonly thought that trolling with spoons and a yard of hardware thirty feet deep is the only process that produces trout. But we say nay. Early in the spring shortly after ice-out, casting in the shallows, especially around inlets and outlets, is very productive. Especially if you are lucky to be fishing lakes with a smelt run. Water in the plus or minus 50 degree range is desirable. Fishing from a free floating canoe or paddle boat allows you to cover plenty of water especially if no rising can be found.


Later in the season trolling from the same craft with either a floating or sinking line provides an enjoyable way to pass a day. Once fish are located, casting with a sinking line can entice more fish using a clouser minnow, Mickey Finn or Grey Ghost. If you reeled in a nice fish while trolling, allowing your next cast time to sink can seem like an eternity. Likewise an appropriately slow retrieve is difficult after the adrenaline rush. If you think your retrieve might be too fast, it is. Slow is the name of the game until the strike. Then you are in for a battle. Be prepared with at least a 6 weight rod, up to 8 weight rod. Maxima Ultragreen Leader in appropriate weight selection is a good choice for tippet.

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