How Lake Trout Fishing Works

Lake Trout Fishing Conditions

La­ke trout respond to warmer weather by going deeper. They're not afraid of the sun -- they're just following baitfish. Of course, the location of the baitfish also depends on the lake: where it gets its water; whether it has formations such as inlets, shoals and sandbars; and how big it is. Take the time to research your location.

The best time of year for lake trout is often early spring. They're hungry, and they're not very discriminating about when and where they feed. That means they're easier to catch throughout the day. If the lake has only recently lost its ice, the lake trout may be right at the surface. Later in spring, they may be as low as 45 feet (13 meters) deep.


In summer, lakers swim low -- down to 100 feet (30.5 meters) in some places. They're also pickier about water conditions and feeding times. Look for calm water, and try fishing between dawn and midmorning, or at twilight. In general, you'll have better luck on an overcast day, when there's less sunlight penetrating the depths and baitfish and game fish alike feel more comfortable venturing out for a meal.

­You can usu­ally fish for lake trout until about October in the Northern Hemisphere, but in late fall, the northern lakes start to ice over. Lake trout spawn around October, which can make them more visible and more prone to take risks. If you fish during the trout spawn, remember not to overfish; you need to leave some lake trout to spawn so they'll always be around.

As you probably know, a warm, fine rain can draw fish to the surface. On a rainy day, watch the water for the movements of minnows and other baitfish. You might see them scatter suddenly. That means there's a predator -- such as a lake trout -- in the vicinity.

Watch the weather report. In general, avoid fishing for a few days after a cold front. Warm fronts can bring the fish out. If the day is windy, cast from the side of the lake the wind is blowing from. [Source: Skrzec] If you're on a boat, find a bit of shelter, and then cast with the wind.

So how do you actually catch these fish? You have some options: jigging and trolling. (They're not just for singles bars any more!) Read on to learn more.