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Lake Trout Fishing

There are Lake Trout in Gowganda Lake. Traditionally guests catch most of them in the spring from ice-out until the first or sometimes the second week of June. Gowganda Lake is a big lake with holes that go down to 150 feet deep. It's also a rocky Canadian Shield lake and has a great forage-base with Lake Herring, Cisco, Chub and Suckers. The lake was build to be a Lake Trout lake. With a lake this big there is no reason why Lake Trout in the 30-pound range are not present.

Traditionally we have not promoted the Lake Trout fishing so very few guests with good knowledge of summer Lake Trout techniques have spent time targeting them. In the spring our guests catch them shallow while fishing for other species and we have seen trout close to 10 pounds being caught even though most are in the 2 to 5 pound range. In mid spring the water starts to warm up and the Lake Trout head deep. After this time we see very few guests catch trout because they are not fishing for them. If you are an experienced Lake Trout hunter we would love for you to come and explore the lake and show us what we have.

Our webmaster, Gary, spent 20 years as a professional fishing guide and happens to be a Lake Trout fanatic. He feels Gowganda Lake's Lake Trout fishery is an untouched gem waiting to be seriously fished.

Below is Gary's opinion of the situation.

What Gary Says

Most people think the spring is the best time for Lake Trout fishing. This statement is somewhat true because people that don't know effective summer techniques only catch them in the spring. To an experienced Lake Trout fanatic like me, this is far from the truth. In reality, Lake Trout fishing is harder in the spring because the Lake Trout are spread out all over the lake at multiple depths and people generally catch them by accident. In the summer they are concentrated down around 50-feet deep and just above the thermocline. They are most comfortable in water that is around 53 degrees. Most people find the traditional deep-water methods for trout to be thoroughly un-enjoyable, which is why not many people fish for them. Below is a fun way to catch them and all you need is 6-pound test line and your Walleye or bass rod.

Traditionally people fished for Lake Trout with steal wire line and later in the 60s and 70s some switched to heavy Bait-Walkers and Dipsy-Divers. With these methods you would need heavy line and tuna rods, which are not enjoyable to use. These methods are also not effective because in the case of Steel Wire and Dipsy-Divers you have no idea how deep you are and waist most of your time because 90% of the trout are within a very narrow band of water in the summer. With Bait-Walkers you have this huge heavy weight on your line between you and your lure, which means your line breaks often when you have a fish on. When the Bait-Walker hits bottom so does your lure.

A simple modification of the Bait-Walker is to use the 3-way swivel technique. This way you can use a 2-oz. weight to bring your lure down 50 feet but there is no weight directly between your fishing rod and your lure. You can also bounce the bottom without your lure getting snagged. Take a 3-way swivel and tie two 2.5-foot pieces of line to the 3-way swivel. Then tie a 2-oz. weight to one line and a regular swivel to the other line and clip on a light silver flutter spoon such as a MooseLook Spoon, Sutton Silver Spoon, Nasty Boyz Spoon or a Williams Wabbler. There are many light flutter spoons on the market. Then tie the line from your rod to the 3-way swivel and you are ready to fish deep for Lake Trout.

Next you want to troll backwards if you are in a motorboat so that you are moving as slow as you can. This method requires a small fishing boat with a motor that is 25hp or smaller. A 15hp or 9.9hp motor is perfect. A big boat with a big motor trolls too fast and the only effective way to fish deep at high speed is with expensive downriggers. A bigger boat can also use an electric motor or a small kicker motor to troll slow. The very best way to troll for trout is in a canoe. Canoes are so quiet that I have found you get way more strikes. To fish for trout in some of our backcountry lakes you have to be in a canoe. In a canoe you need two people and the person in the front has to sit backwards. The person in the front needs to paddle backwards while the person in the back drops their line and then visa-versa. You have to work as a team because the canoe cannot stop moving while your rigs are in the water or they will get tangled. You want to paddle just fast enough that the lure is working.

Next you want to slowly drop your line down 50 feet. You can slowly reel backwards but not too fast or the rig will get tangled. You have to be moving when you drop the rig down. Do not cast the rig! On most spinning reels a full turn of the handle is a little more than one foot of line. If you reel backwards 50 times your lure should be down around 50 feet as the line will be on an angle. You also want to use thin line so it slices through the water and your rig is almost straight down. If you use thick line there is too much friction with the water and you have to go to a bigger weight, which defeats the purpose. I and my fishing buddies have caught plenty of Lake Trout in the 15 to 20 pound range with 6-pound test. You just need to set your drag at the appropriate resistance for 6-pound test. If you can troll really slowly then you can use 8-pound test and if that's what you already have on your reel for Walleye and bass fishing then so be it. It's better to use 6-pound. Visibility is also a factor so try to use dark color line. I like to use the Trilene XT Dark Green monofilament 6-pound test because it slices through the water, it's strong and it does not stretch and twist as much as other thin lines. In the smaller spring-fed backcountry lakes the trout may be shallower in the 30 to 35-foot range during the summer so you only need a 1-oz. weight. Brook Trout and Aurora Trout will be much shallower than Lake Trout or Slake.

You have to set the hook and reel in as soon as you get a bite. People seem to have the habit of hesitating to let the fish take the bait, which means you will lose the trout. Strikes sometime feel really light and there is no way of knowing how big the fish is until you start reeling in. I have had 10 pound trout bite like they are minnows and others that almost pulled the rod out of my hands. You have to treat every bite like it's a big fish.

This method is also great for trolling just off shore in 20 feet of water with a worm harness for big trophy Walleyes. In the fall you can also get into some really big Smallmouth Bass and Northern Pike down 30 to 40 feet.

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