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Up to date Feb 17, 2023 9:44 AM

It’s important to match lures for lake trout to the scale of the predominant baitfish within the waters the place you moist a line because the voracious predators like to eat different fish. The most important of the chars, they’ll attain sizes measured in kilos relatively than inches, with 15 to 40 pound fish not unusual. Lakers or mackinaw are discovered throughout northern North America and are native to Alaska, Canada, and the northeastern United States. Time of yr and water temperature are important elements find them—fish could also be close to shore and shallow early within the season after which as much as 200 ft deep in the summertime months. 

Although trolling is commonly the primary angling tactic related to these fish, casting and jigging lures are each strategies that may be surprisingly efficient. Maybe the best problem is attempting to slim down the overwhelming array of decisions accessible to anglers at this time. Listed below are some solutions that will help you work out the most effective lures for lake trout.

How We Selected The Finest Lures for Lake Trout

My introduction to Salvelinus namaycush (lake trout) got here years in the past on a visit to Gangler’s North Seal Lodge in Manitoba. Once I moved to the Finger Lakes Area of New York, I used to be pleasantly shocked to search out these hard-fighting piscivores thriving within the deep pure lakes of the area. To spherical out my choice course of, I’ve additionally sought out the enter of skilled anglers {and professional} guides. 

The Finest Lures for Lake Trout: Opinions & Suggestions

Finest for the Shore: Rapala Shad Dancer Crankbait

Finest for the Shore

Why It Made the Reduce: A flexible bait with massive motion in a small bundle.

Key Options

  • Size: 2 ¾ inches (additionally accessible in 1 ½- and 2-inch sizes)
  • Operating Depth: 9 to 14 ft
  • Major Fishing Methodology(s): Casting, trolling


  • Out there in 24 colours to mimic numerous baits and meet completely different water circumstances
  • Fishes properly each casting and trolling
  • Robust distinct wobble motion 
  • Sturdy development
  • An incredible multi-species bait 


  • Not good for deeper casting displays

I purchased my first Rapalas with garden mowing cash once I was ten years previous—they usually’ve had a spot in my deal with packing containers ever since. Rapala is well-known within the fishing marketplace for its fish-catching baits. The Shad Dancer design is definitely a synthesis of attributes from two of Rapala’s different profitable lures: the Shad Rap and the Tail Dancer. Merging the motion of the Tail Dancer with the form attribute of the Shad Rap has confirmed to be a profitable mixture. 

For shore fishing, I like a lure that enables me to cowl water successfully and a crankbait is fingers down among the finest baits for doing this. I can stroll a shoreline, fancast a given space, and really feel assured that any hungry lakers prowling that water will see this bait. Extra importantly, that engaging wobble has a method of getting fish to eat. 

My favourite colours embody blue flash, firetiger, silver (Rapala’s traditional black again and silver sides), purpledescent, Yellow Perch and silver fluorescent chartreuse. If I needed to slim that down, I’d go together with the silver and silver fluorescent chartreuse, which offer you a fundamental pure tone and a brighter enticing look. Attempt each and let the fish let you know which they like.

The aggressive tight wobble of the Shad Dancer can readily be felt, letting you recognize the lure is monitoring and fishing correctly all through the retrieve. Additionally, on extra refined grabs when the fish continues swimming towards you after consuming the bait, you discover the absence of that wobble—set the hook!

Finest Trolling: Yakima Bait Flatfish

Finest Trolling

Yakima Bait Flatfish is the best trolling lure for lake trout.

Why It Made the Reduce: When trolled at sluggish to average speeds, the distinctive vast wiggle motion has been drawing strikes longer than I’ve been alive. It’s onerous to argue with a observe report like that.

Key Options

  • Size: 1 to six inches
  • Fishing Depth: 20 ft most depth (with out weighted help)
  • Major Fishing Methodology(s): Trolling


  • Out there in dozens of size and colour/sample choices
  • Unbelievable wobbling motion at sluggish to medium trolling speeds
  • Constant swimming motion


  • Requires added weight to fish in depths better than 20 ft

I can nonetheless image my first Yakima Flatfish—orange with black spots (Orange Flo within the Yakima Bait index)—and wow, did it catch fish! Designed by Charlie Helin within the early 1900s, the Yakima Flatfish has confirmed itself for over 100 years. 

For lake trout, Yakima Bait has its Flatfish Lake Trout sequence. These lures measure 6 inches lengthy, weigh 1.82 ounces, and are geared up with #4/0 trebles. Inside this sequence, the T-60 Metallic Silver Clown, Frog, and Metallic Silver Blue (Pirate) are all wonderful producers.

These baits are perfect for flatline trolling (no added weight) in shallow water or for trolling behind an inline sinker or downrigger for a deeper presentation. When trolled throughout shallow humps, Yakima Flatfish can produce unbelievable outcomes. The marginally nose-down orientation of the lure will periodically trigger it to bump or momentarily “dig in” to the underside, which in flip causes the lure to work extra erratically. This usually triggers a strike.

Finest Jigging: Z-Man Scented Jerk ShadZ

Finest Jigging

Z-Man Scented Jerk ShadZ is the best jigging lure for lake trout.

Why It Made the Reduce: The split-tail design simulates an erratic baitfish motion that even makes me wish to eat it.

Key Options

  • Size: 4, 5, and seven inches
  • Fishing Depth: 100- to 200-foot depths aren’t an issue
  • Major Fishing Methodology(s): Jigging, casting (sluggish flutter presentation)


  • Erratic motion induces strikes
  • Powerful ElaZtech development makes for excessive sturdiness
  • Impregnated with pure Professional-Treatment Mullet Tremendous Gel scent
  • Out there in 39 colour choices 


  • Can “soften” if saved with different extra standard plastic baits

The Z-Man Scented Jerk ShadZ had been initially designed for saltwater angling and have undoubtedly made their mark in marine fishing circles. Nonetheless, as is so usually the case, the crossover from salt to sweetwater is simple. Rigged on a ¼- to ½-ounce 90-degree jighead, the buoyancy of the Jerk ShadZ causes it to hover horizontally like precise baitfish. When dropped vertically, this bait has a tantalizing motion. As soon as lakers have been situated, drop the bait and cease it quick above the fish; they may usually rise as much as take the bait. If not, added jigging motion, from refined to extra dramatic, with a ending pause and hover is often sufficient to get a fish to commit.

My must-have colours embody pearl, shiner, dangerous shad, and smelt; for a vivid bait that will get fish’s consideration, go together with electrical rooster. An added bonus of this bait is its use in shallow water conditions. When fishing shallow construction that holds lakers within the spring and fall, like tributary mouths and rock and rubble humps, this bait will be lethal when fished in a extra conventional jerkbait model. The sluggish, fluttering descent of the bait and erratic motion when labored can lead to some jarring strikes.

Finest Fly Fishing: Clouser Deep Minnow

Finest Fly Fishing

Clouser Deep Minnow is the best fly fishing lure for lake trout.

Why It Made the Reduce: It will get down, has nice motion, and will be tied in an countless number of sizes and color-schemes. And fish simply eat this fly.

Key Options

  • Size: 5 to six inches 
  • Operating Depth: 4 to 10 ft (floating or intermediate strains)
  • Major Fishing Methodology(s): Casting


  • Extra enjoyable than the proverbial barrel of monkeys
  • Efficient for various displays, from sluggish and erratic to quick bursts
  • Will be fished on a floating, intermediate, or quicker sinking line


  • Restricted to spring and fall fishing within the southern portion of the lakers’ vary 

In fly fishing circles, anglers usually speak concerning the habit of the seize. Apparently, they’re usually speaking about different salmonids, often browns, rainbows, or steelhead (the lake or ocean-run model of rainbows). Fortunately for anglers within the know, lake trout additionally like to seize a streamer. 

For on a regular basis fishing, it’s onerous to beat the Clouser Deep Minnow. Initially tied for smallmouth bass, this fly has gone from a selected fly to a sample model that may be modified in numerous methods. The big dumbbell eyes are a key to its effectiveness, each permitting it to sink and creating a definite jigging motion that implies wounded prey. This motion rings the dinner bell for any close by mackinaws. 

When you tie your personal flies, I’m a little bit of a traditionalist so I like bucktail if the hair is lengthy sufficient. Flash n Slinky Fibre is a superb artificial different. Tied in all white, the legendary chartreuse over white (“If it ain’t chartreuse, it ain’t no use”) and blue with silver flash over white are all good colour mixtures. Remember to add some flashabou or different flash materials between the coloured over and below wing layers. 

Issues to Think about Earlier than Shopping for The Finest Lures for Lake Trout

A variety of lures can set off a chew from hungry lakers. There’s no magic bullet that will get it executed on a regular basis, although sure artificials undoubtedly stand out from the gang. Numerous circumstances and concerns issue into the alternatives we make when pondering the cavernous yaw of our tacklebox, looking for that subsequent flash of inspiration. Right here are some things to bear in mind when choosing the right trout lures.

Boat vs. Shore Angling

Fishing from a ship for lake trout has particular benefits. The flexibility to maneuver and discover the fish utilizing electronics is the obvious upside. Within the search course of, trolling is a viable approach not accessible to the shore sure angler. As soon as fish are situated, fine-tune lure choice to the strategy of angling you assume will likely be best. 

When you’re fishing from shore, it’s secure to say you received’t want trolling lures. Nonetheless, I wish to provide as many various seems as doable and be versatile in my method to the part of lake in entrance of me. When you can cowl it totally, from deep to shallow and with strategies that vary from extra aggressive to extra refined, you’ll be able to drastically enhance your odds of hooking up.

Season, Water Temperature, and Depth

Every of those elements might simply benefit it’s personal dialogue part. Nonetheless, they’re additionally very carefully associated and interdependent, so it simply is sensible to speak about them collectively. Seasonal differences – size of day, quantity of daylight and common temperature ranges drive modifications in water temperature. Water temperature, in flip dictates the depths the place you’re most probably to search out the lakers. Like every little thing in nature, there’s variability and exceptions however general, lake trout are very a lot a coldwater fish. A superb fundamental water temperature vary to search for is between 40 and 50 levels. 

Usually, spring and fall can imply discovering optimum temperatures in shallow water and close to shore. In these conditions, fish can usually be discovered between 5 and 20 ft deep; select lures that shine in these depth ranges, like crankbaits and gentle plastic swimbaits. Throughout summer time months, warming floor temperatures drive lakers deep, usually someplace close to the thermocline. Consequently, select lures and strategies of presentation that will let you successfully work the depths. Jigging and trolling with downriggers are most likely the 2 best modes of deep-water presentation.

Angling Methodology – Trolling, Vertical Jigging, or Casting

Like all angling, flexibility and flexibility equate to extra fish caught. As soon as I discover fish—or discover a good location—I select my methodology of angling. This helps slim down the lures I would use. Some are fairly specialised—I wouldn’t select my favourite vertical jigging lure if I had been planning to fish an aggressive trolling sample whereas exploring a brand new lake. 

Different lures can provide extra crossover. Traditional spoons, comparable to giant Daredevils and 5 of Diamonds will be trolled, fished vertically or forged and labored again to the boat or shore. Know the strengths and weaknesses of every lure in your tacklebox and also you’ll be more practical in selecting baits that get eaten.


Q: What colour lures are finest for lake trout?

One of the best lure colours for lake trout fall into two classes: imitative or pure and enticing or “bling.” Within the first class, select lures that counsel the predominant baitfish species—fundamentals like black, silver, gold, white, and pearl are good beginning factors. In numerous onerous bait choices, pure colours are sometimes picked for the imitated bait in query, like smelt, shad, alewives, and many others.

Within the “bling” class, yow will discover vibrant colours like chartreuse, orange, and firetiger. My finest tip is to attempt lures from each classes whenever you begin your day. When you’re fishing with a associate, one particular person ought to go pure and one ought to go bling. In case your location is sweet and the fish are seeing your baits, they’ll let you recognize which colour model they like that day.

Q: What dimension lure is finest for lake trout?

One of the best dimension lure for lake trout is one which mimics the scale of probably the most prevalent bait the fish are feeding on. Lake trout have the potential to develop to substantial dimension they usually do that by consuming different fish. The scale of forage can even range with the seasons, so take note of that as properly. When doubtful, a choice of lures within the 4- to 7-inch vary ought to show efficient.

Q: What depth is finest for lake trout?

One of the best depth for lake trout is set by water temperature. Discover water that’s between 40 and 50 levels and that holds faculties of bait. Within the spring and fall, this can be shallow, between 5 and 20 ft. Summer time warmth that warms floor temperatures to the excessive 50s or above will drive the mackinaw deep. In these circumstances, deep humps in 100 to 200 ft of water will be hotspots for lakers. For deep-water fishing, fish finder turns into a key piece of kit, although data of the lake and a contour map can present sufficient intel for locating the fish. 

Remaining Ideas on the Finest Lures for Lake Trout

Lake trout are wonderful gamefish that develop to prodigious dimension, combat properly, and style good, too. To efficiently goal these powerhouses, contemplate whether or not you’ll be fishing from a ship or shore, which angling strategies you favor, and the time of yr. Select your lures accordingly, discover the chilly water and bait, and grasp on—the seize of a giant laker is one thing you’ll always remember. 

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