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Lake Trout Fishing Tips

If you ask anyone with at least a little bit experience, they’ll tell you that lake trout is one of the most popular fish to catch. If you’re not as experienced yourself, there’s no need to back down from fishing for lake trout since it’s quite easy with some tricks.

All you need for success is some basic knowledge about the fish and how to catch it. We’ve made a list of tips and tricks you should follow for success. These are easy and will make fishing for lake trout much easier.

About Lake Trout

This native North American trout lives in freshwater and is one of the most popular game fish. Though it’s native to North America, it has been introduced to South America, Europe, and Asia. Ontario, Canada has more than 25% of the world’s lake trout population.
Lake trout eat snails, crustaceans, insect larvae, leeches, and other small fish, all depending on the trout’s weight, length, and age.
Their popularity should be supported by stocking programs due to how popular the fish is among anglers.

This is the type of fish you can find in large, deep and cold lakes. They usually spawn in fall, though this depends on the weather patterns and the location of the lake. Small lake trout live deep in the water and eats small aquatic pray and plankton.

trout lures

Their color makes them easy to tell apart from other trout. They have greyish or dark green body with white or yellowish spots. However, their head is elongated, much like of any other trout. The belly of lake trout is white or orange-red.

Things You Should Know


The depth may be one of the most important factors when fishing for lake trout. Because they like cold water, you’d have to go deeper as the weather gets warmer. Right after the ice-out, it’s recommended you stay between the surface and 10’.

When it’s middle of spring, make sure to be about 20 to 30 feet deep. However, when it’s summer, fishing for lake trout gets a bit harder. These trout like to be at the thermal layers where is around 53F. You can also find it in the holes where natural spring pumps cold water into the lake.

Lure Selection

trout baits

Many factors decide the type of lure that’s best when fishing for lake trout. You want to consider things like lake trout population, the season, depth and bait fish that’s available at that moment.

If you’re going for an artificial lure, make sure to find those that mimic native bait fish you’d actually find at the lake you’re fishing in. Also, talk to some professionals that could help you to choose the best fishing gear again considering the location.
Live bait is always a better choice than artificial lures.

High activity areas

Lake trout aren’t considered schooling fish but do tend to stay in the same area. This means that if you catch a lake trout, the odds are that there are more nearby. It’s recommended that you stay in the area where you’ve caught at least one fish because you’ll most probably catch a few more.

However, if you don’t catch anything for a while, try and change location. You’ll have to keep doing this until you find the spot where there are some lake trout. Again, keep in mind the depth and temperature of the water to find where there most likely are fish.

Use Live Bait

how to fish

As mentioned above, live bait is definitely a better choice than any artificial one. A nightcrawler is the best live bait you can go for if you hope to catch the trout.

If your access to nightcrawlers is limited, try with some salmon eggs or medium and large minnows. Check with your local tackle shop for some additional information on what the fish in your area are biting on. In many cases, fish likes different food depending on the region and the season.

Fishing Line for Trout

When you’re catching trout, you want to make sure you have the right fishing line. Mono-filament, fluorocarbon, and braided fine lines are your common choices. The less visible the line, the better – and that’s why we prefer fluorocarbon.

Without the right fishing line for trout, you won’t have the proper setup.

Utilize A Fish Finder

A fish finder is somewhat an expensive piece of gear, but it can improve your odds of finding lake trout with ease. This allows you to spot schools of baitfish easily and also find at what depth the trout are.

This is one of the best ways to fish for the trout because you can find them in no time. It’s a helpful tool that may seem expensive, but it’s a worthy investment. However, fish finders only work when you’re fishing from a boat.

mackinaw fish

Lake Trout Facts

Some facts are just fun to know, and others that are actually useful when fishing for the lake trout. Knowing some basic information about the fish you’re trying to catch has been proven effective many times.

Lake trout is a big fish and for that reason a little harder to come across. Knowing its average length and weight can help you choose appropriate fishing gear and equipment. The range is also a crucial factor to consider so that you know if there are any lake trout at the location you chose.

Also, some people know the fish by other names. It’s good to know as many nicknames for lake trout as possible so you can ask around for advice on live bait and best location. Its scientific name isn’t as crucial, and you won’t hear people use it often, but it can’t harm you to know.

Overall, every good fisher should know as much as possible about the fish he’s trying to catch. Not only this can make fishing for it much easier, but it’s also a part of the fishing culture to know these things.

Here are a few things you should know about lake trout:
• Scientific name – salyelinus namaycush
• Nicknames – lake char, mackinaw, lean, grey trout, siscowet, paperbelly, togue and touladi
• Average lifespan – 25 years
• Average length – depending on the body of water, lake trout is about 14’’ to 20’’ long
• Average weight – it can be as big as 50+ lbs.
• Range – native to North America, can be found in Asia, Europe, and South America


Fishing for lake trout is always fun because it’s a big fish and it’s always special when someone catches it. Hopefully, some of this information helps you the very next time you go fishing for lake trout.

Consider getting a fish finder and try to use a live bait whenever you can. These two things alone can improve the odds of catching a lake trout.

The key is to follow these tips and not give up. It’s recommended that you learn as much about the fish as you can and keep on fishing at different locations. You might end up with a 50 lbs. fish before you know it.