Three-Way Rigging Lake Trout — Lake of the Woods

with James Lindner & Jeff Simpson

Three-Way Rigging Lake Trout: James Lindner and Jeff Simpson show you one of the best and most effective ways to cover lots of water and trigger the active fish into biting.

When lake trout are stacked deep, a handful of presentations can work to produce lots of fish, but three-way rigging lake trout is undeniably one of the best ways to find and catch fish fast. Lake of the Woods has provided some of the best fishing grounds in the world for decades and is renowned as a sports fisherman’s paradise. Tomahawk Resort rests peacefully on the shores of this massive shimmering pond while under the cool surface lurk Walleye, Northern Pike, Bass, Muskie, Lake Trout, and Crappie. Tomahawk Resort is on Lake of the Woods at Sioux Narrows, Ontario. Located in this wilderness vacation paradise, Tomahawk Resort is a full-service lakeside resort with something for everyone. Whether you want to get away from it all on a fully-equipped houseboat or simply move right into a comfortable cottage, your vacation will be worry-free. Fishing, hiking, swimming, or relaxing in the peaceful setting of North America’s most beautiful scenery, Tomahawk Resort provides all of the ingredients for a truly memorable adventure. One of our favorite Lake of the Woods species are the hard-fighting lakers. According to James Lindner, “Lake of the Woods is unquestionably one of our favorite fisheries on the planet. Over the years, both Jeff Simpson and I have spent a lot of time there fishing, pike, musky, walleye, bass, whitefish, crappie and lake trout. Honestly, lake trout are one of my favorites fish species to target on this particular body of water.” Sunset Country has numerous world-class lake trout lakes. Our friends in Ontario do a fantastic job with their conservation efforts of all fish — especially lake trout — and the result of their efforts is clear: quality fish and fishing for decades. As a whole, lake trout thrive in Oligotrophic Lakes that maintain cold, oxygen-rich water. This lake is massive and has an ultra-healthy population of lake trout. “Jeff and I arrived in late summer, so within a 10-minute boat ride, we were already scanning potential areas. We were fishing the Whitefish Bay Area, but Clearwater Bay, Echo, Cul De Sac are just as good because they are so deep, some reaching over 110 feet of water. During this time of the year, the fish tend to congregate in large schools in these deeper water haunts. It’s almost become cliche’ to say, but today’s modern electronics combined with high-definition mapping has made to process finding fish so much easier and faster.” “For instance, in the old days, you spent a lot of your time getting to know the area to avoid getting lost and being extremely cautious to stay away from hazardous areas. Mapping has relieved a lot of that pressure, enabling anglers to move around safely, quickly and with confidence.” Lake trout are pretty easy to find throughout the summer with good electronics. If you can find big schools of cisco or tullibee, you are likely to find lake trout. When you look at the map, start the hunt by driving over these deep lake basins using 2D sonar to find bait and big fish marks. Critical spots include sheer ledge drops, sunken islands, and distinct points and bottlenecks tend to congregate fish. At this same time frame which is late summer, big pike and whitefish inhabit these same areas, so you’ll likely catch a few of these other species while laker fishing. “I almost always start by using a three-way rig to cover water quickly and contact active fish,” Lindner explains. “Light flutter spoons on a three to four-foot lead is a bait trout can’t often resist. Then after we find several spots with notable concentrations of fish, I love to hop from spot to spot and catch them vertical jigging. A medium-fast action bass rods and a handful of baits are all you need. Luhr Jensen’s Crippled Herring spoons, Rapala Flat jigs, and VMC jigs rigged with Big Bite bait soft plastics were hands down the top producers,” said Lindner. The key to deep water vertical fishing is boat control. You want to keep the bait as upright as possible as a general rule. In most cases, you want to hover directly over the fish. It’s a precision tactic where you sharpshoot individual fish that you see on your electronics. Other times you may have to pop the bait up and down to trigger strikes. And sometimes, a slow, steady reeling will trigger bites. Finally, the trick may be to suspend a bait 4 to 5 feet above them and hold the bait steady. A plain bucktail jig is about as good as it gets, like a VMC bucktail jig. For the depth of water where fishing, ¾- and 1-ounce jigs are preferred. Another good option is a 1-ounce VMC Moon Eye jig tipped with Big Bite Jointed Jerk Shad or Suicide Shad. These baits highly resemble small cisco — the lake trout’s natural prey. Heavy spoons can also be good; something like Luhr Jensen’s Crippled Hearing in weights from 1 to 1 ½ ounce enables you down in deep water fast. If the fish are aggressive, they usually smoke the bait as it’s falling. For this tactic, a 7-foot 6-inch’ moderate action baitcasting rod and reel spooled with Sufix 15 to 20 pound Sufix 832 braid with 10 to 15-pound fluorocarbon leader using a Daiwa 300 Tatula.

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