By: Kyle Deavers
This has been one of the better trolling seasons we’ve experienced in a long time. We’ve seen success catching Chinook, coho, steelhead, lake trout and brown trout. This pattern will likely continue through summer. On the Wisconsin side we’re roughly a month behind schedule, which means there’s still a lot of cold water around and a lot of bait fish around, too, which has keep all these species nearby.
Normally this time of year our water is in the mid 60s on the surface. Meanwhile, it’s 55 degrees now. The cooler water keeps the fish shallower. This spring we’ve found the shallow water bite to be the best. We’ve been mainly trolling in 50-100 feet of water each morning, but our best lines have been five to 30 feet deep. As soon as the thermocline sets up we will start trolling deeper. Trolling deeper will work, but our most productive action has been coming higher in the water column.
Recently we’ve been catching 75 percent coho salmon and the rest trout with a few kings mixed in. Our coho are running four-to-eight pounds, but what’s amazed me most is the sheer number of coho we’ve caught this year already. Our coho numbers is better this season than in the last few years. We should have another solid month of coho fishing before hopefully our king salmon show up. Coho have been showing up from north of Milwaukee down to Winthrop Harbor, Illinois.
The lake trout bite remains strong, as it always is. Just because our coho bite has been so good we haven’t fished lake trout as much. However, when clients want to target lake trout we do. Catching lake trout is good right now and is only going to get better. Brown trout are around, but we haven’t targeted them because the coho bite has been so good. Steelhead have been showing from time to time, but that bite will improve as the surface temperatures rises.
All of our action in the last few weeks has come on flasher and fly combos and spoons. When it comes to flashers we use Jensen All Orange OO dodgers or Orange B&B’s with two-inch Mister Derks trolling flies. Standard Michigan Stinger trolling spoons have been effective. Anything in green, gold or blue will get the job done. I’ve been coating all my trolling flies and spoons in Liquid Krill just like we’ve done in previous years.
We didn’t use bait in June, but July and August will be our best bait months. There’s not a lot of kings around right now and the large kings tend to be the best bait eaters.