Shoreline Brown Trout!

by Captain Marty Papke

It’s not far away fisherman and longer, sunny warming days start the ice melting, ice flows still bobbing and soon a movement of Brown Trout on an adventure looking and seeking food to satisfy there big appetite after a winter of being in a transitional stage.

Let’s examine areas, foods along with techniques and bait choices that all early season fishermen can stretch there fishing lines and cure those fishing blues!

Once ice out throughout the Great Lakes shoreline areas will soon start opening, now is the time to watching for those sunny days to getting out finding these shallow roaming fish species. Water temperatures warm fast near shore and when reaching approximately 40′ to 42′ spurs in also baitfish like the alewives, shiners and also another spring favorite the smelt. Smelt come a shore to be the target food fish of the Brown Trout and as many of us “smelt dippers” know a favorite food fish of our own.

The Brown’s closely follows schooling smelt and the first several weeks after this begins can be the fastest fishing of the spring and possibly the year.

Water depths and many of these fish are found in the shallow waters of 15 feet and less but with on going spring weather changes of cold and warm temps. can come into the shallows during the day and slide out into water areas of up to 40 feet at night time.

Fishing locations to search and look for would be feeder creeks, streams and river mouths entering the big lake. Reefs, stair-step shoreline structures formed from pounding waves into the sandy bottom bays and shores, holes, trenches and break walls also being key areas to search out for. Using your electronics to seeing these areas. The “key” element for sure is the warmest water you can find. Eye’s focused to your electronics like the Lowrance LCX-19 color combination gps and locator not only giving us the depths, water temperatures but also once fish are caught mapping and plotting courses to coming back to pick up those couple extra fish.

Bait preferences and without doubt minnow style baits like Frenzy Minnows, Challenger Minnows as well the standard Rapala and Bomber baits with their floating action concentrate the shallows well and display the constant wobble and flash so important in taking these spring trout. Other bait selections can be tried as well, flasher/fly combinations like using the Howie Fly kept shallow will attract strikes and another tried method using dead bait rigged on harnesses will take some good catches of fish also don’t neglect using different style spoons as many fish do fall for wobbling spoons and flash.

Tackle choices and I prefer lighter to medium action rods for having the most fun, line size and 10 to 12 pound XL does a great job. Bait casting reels or line-counters work well for precise trolling passes as much of the time long-lining and running baits from 75 to 120 feet out keeping fish less spooked. In-line boards and off-shore let us spread numerous lines on both boat sides covering lots of water and catching those schooled out fish.

Some specific fishing techniques that work for our boats; long-lining at least 75 to 120 feet of line out on baits, tying loop knots although using snaps work fine if using the “u” snaps giving the baits more of that side-to-side wobble so critical in good bites and finally utilizing boat control by running large “s” turns and keeping in touch with the warmest water you can find at this time of year!

The best thing about this “Spring Brown Trout” bite is it’s for everyone out there and an opportunity for all sized boats. Areas fished at this time of year are relatively close to shorelines and river mouths with calm areas most of the time thus giving small boat anglers lots of fun as well.

Yes safety should always be thought of, carry a marine radio for changing weather does occur in the spring but most of the time we are fishing within several hundred yards of shoreline areas.

Here are just a few Great Lakes stops for Brown Trout you might want to check out; Chequamegon Bay/Montreal River, Door County, Marinette/Menominee, Cedar Rivers of the Lake Michigan shoreline, lower Lake Michigan’s eastern shoreline from Grand Traverse Bay down through Frankfort and Ludington along with many areas to many to mention for some fun fishing spring action!

Keep in touch and check with your local DNR for regulations and seasons in the areas your fishing.

Give us a call at: 800-708-2347 or check out our website at: Enjoy the waters, Captain Marty wants your day on the water a great one!

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