How Lake Trout Fishing Works

Jigging for Lake Trout

A jig, or bucktail, is a lure with a weighted body. Jigging gets its name from its characteristic jumping, bobbing and fluttering motion, which makes the lure mimic a wou­nded baitfish.

Not all of the jigging motion comes from the jig itself. Some of it comes from you. At a leisurely pace, you'll be raising and lowering the rod, or waving it from side to side. Vary the height and the timing to give the jig a genuinely erratic movement; this helps the lure mimic the wounded fish. As you drop the rod back to the horizontal position, reel in the slack line.


Don't be too hasty with your pace (or jig stroke). Cast into shallows or sunny water first; watch what happens, and get to know the motion of your lure.

Lake trout go for light lures in general, and jigs are no exception. Try a spoon jig, also known as a wobbler. You can also try attaching lake trout's favorite meal -- a live minnow -- to the jig. Remember, the jig's motion is what attracts the trout. The small fluttery motions of the lure are just as important as the bigger line movements that come from your jig stroke. So make sure you're attaching the minnow in some way that permits it to move. Try hooking it upside down, for example.

Lake trout don't spend much time near the shore, so you'll most likely be jigging from a boat. As always, look for underwater formations, vegetation, and submerged trees and other wreckage.

Jigging tends to work best at either end of the lake trout season -- early spring or late fall. For the rest of the year, you might be better off with trolling. Learn more on the next page.