By: Chris Shaffer
Pautzke pro Mike Wickkiser has five types of Pautzke salmon eggs in his bag. Like many trout anglers he’s an egg junkie. In fact, he has three jars of Natural Deluxe and two Pink Shrimp stuffed behind the zipper. Last night when I looked at his stash I noticed a new jar of Chartreuse Garlic salmon eggs unopened.
“I had two jars of those,” he told me. “But I used the other one this spring. I use those when the other colors don’t work.”
Most anglers have a favorite jar of salmon eggs. That jar is normally Premium (Red Label) and Green Label. They are the styles most fishing stores pile up by the dozens. Meanwhile, many of the new colors and styles out-fish those staples sometimes. All these eggs are real salmon eggs. However, different colors work better in varying conditions. Chartreuse Garlic came out in 2016 and hasn’t made it to every anglers tackle box yet. To be honest most don’t know they exist.
Last night I challenged Wickkiser to only use Chartreuse Garlic salmon eggs while we filmed a new episode of Pautzke Outdoors. We were fishing a trout stream that hadn’t been stocked since mid May. It’s a stream that is along a busy highway that gets fished daily. Because Natural Deluxe and Pink Shrimp are his favorites (and the two eggs he has the most confidence in) he was reluctant to agree. Understandably, many anglers shy away from trying new baits when they have staples that work every time.
Meanwhile, Wickkiser was up for the challenge. He, like many trout anglers, is a big garlic fan and likes that the chartreuse eggs are garlic scented. The water was low and clear and fishing pressure had be high so he scaled down to four-pound test, a single Water Gremlin BB split shot and a No. 18 caddis hook, all which dangled below a float. The goal was to use the float to keep the salmon eggs slowly moving through the water column. Without the float they’d sit on the bottom and not drift freely. I put a polarizer on our camera and zoomed in on the bobber. Luckily, we could also see the chartreuse eggs drifting a few inches off the bottom.
Not surprisingly, we caught trout on our first five casts. In this hole trout bolted from beneath overhanging limbs and undercut banks and slurped down the chartreuse eggs. Wickkiser didn’t even think about grabbing the Natural Deluxe or Pink Shrimp. And, it was the first time in while his hands weren’t covered in glitter from using Gold Label. We caught and released more than a dozen trout in this hole, all on the Chartreuse Garlic eggs. In fact, we caught one 15 incher twice. We know this because it wrapped us around a limb and broke the line the first time it bit. Ten minutes later we caught the trout again and retrieved both our hooks.
We didn’t start filming until 6pm. By this time shadows were on the water in many places and clouds shaded us from the sun. This is why we opted to employ the chartreuse eggs. In the low light we thought they would stand out, and they did. Keep in mind these chartreuse eggs have the same scent Pautzke Green Label and other jars have. The only difference is color. And, on this evening it proved to be the right choice. We moved down and caught several trout in more holes after the first one. Same stream, set up and eggs.
This isn’t to say that chartreuse eggs are the best egg out there and will be the go-to egg of the future. Meanwhile, it’s a sure bet to add to any tackle box. Sometimes the trout want to see something different. Trout get conditioned to seeing red salmon eggs, which is why Wickkiser prefers the natural and pink. You can now add chartreuse to that group.
Editor’s Note: Pautzke’s new Chartreuse Garlic Balls O Fire salmon eggs are available at most sporting goods retailers and online.