On the Hunt for Lakers
There's no doubt that it is hard to resist the pull of a Lake Trout. Having caught some of them over 28" over the last several years, there is no freshwater fish that can match their fighting ability or for the duration that they continue to resist coming up through an 8" hole in the ice and while most of the bigger ones I've caught while going after other fish (usually on very light line and tackle), the chance at catching specimens over 30" is a large pull to go to Pactola Reservoir, even if I'm still learning the ropes about targeting them.
A friend of mine has been catching them regularly this year, but like me, is still looking to catch that one over 30". So, we decided to give them a shot last weekend during the latest polar vortex weather pattern we've been having here, and I invited along a new fishing friend of mine, Kevin from Wild Walleye Outfitters.
He and his kids had never caught a Lake Trout before and wanted to give it a shot. Despite the well-below zero wind chills and high barometric pressure, I still felt good that we could at least catch something in an area that has produced a decent bite most of the season according to reports from other friends.
It was a morning to put up a flip-over sled or hub. Luckily, we had both along to stay warm in between checking Arctic Warrior setups and jigging at different holes. As before, the bite was on the dead sticks. Once the fish were hooked, Matt and I handed off the rods to the kids.
The first one reeled up was a small one, but Fenton still had a good time reeling it in. On the next tip-down, Darrah got to reel in a nice 23" specimen. Matt and I had a few chases around our jigs, but he was the only one who caught anything jigging.
Then the Cold Snap Outdoors CSAW rod went down hard! After setting the hook, I handed off the rod to Kevin since he had yet to reel in his first Laker. After inhaling the Northland Glo-Shot jig, the fish wasn't going anywhere! Kevin reeled up the fish and posed for a quick pic before sending the fish back down the hole. In these below zero temps, fins and eyes on fish can freeze very quickly so it is necessary to get them back into the water as quickly as possible. He also managed to catch a 25"er a bit later a Warrior in his hub.
While it was by no means an active bite due to conditions, at least Kevin and the kids hauled in their first Lakers and I'm sure it will not be the last time to try and find the bigger ones. With temperatures looking to stay mostly in the 20s and 30s for the next 10 days or so, it's looking like a late ice season is in the cards and I'll be looking forward to it as we start to head towards late ice and the uptick in fish that follows.