Catching big lake trout at Flaming Gorge is easy as 123 1. Fish in the right spot. The lake trout at flaming Gorge like to bunch up on underwater hills and mounds, drop offs or cliff edges. Knowing where to locate these spots will put you on track to zero in on the macs. I can help you here, send me a good detailed map of Flaming Gorge, make sure it is this one. See http://www.sportsmanswarehouse.com/...9990134357/cat100772 I will mark it for you and send it back. Send $1 for return postage and the map to Steven Davis 271 E. 250 N. Ivins, Utah 84738. Now that you have the map you are ready to find individual humps and hills where the macs are. You will need a good fish-finder and a good GPS. Go to that area on your map where the macs are located and with your GPS start crisscrossing in a grid pattern. Every time you see a bunch of five or more big fish on the bottom mark a waypoint on your GPS. My GPS will hold a thousand waypoints. By going back and forth and having a notebook, you will be able to get a picture of the bottom. Don't put your waypoints too close to each other. You should only mark one on the top of the hump or edge of the drop-off, where you see the most macs. In your notebook write down the waypoint number and depth. Don't even think about fishing, this may take more than a day, but once you have these secret GPS points you will be able to start making trolling routes where you hit a whole bunch of 90 and 100 foot humps or 55 and 60 foot humps or whatever. Now let's talk specifics, Swim Beach bay is one of the best areas to look for mac. The fishing here is the best from April to July. There is a lot of 50 to 60 foot deep edges that can have lots of macs in May. The spots are mostly on the north side about 100 to 200 yards from the big rock edge of the lake. The bottom here is rocky. Fish your lure 100 hundred feet back from your downrigger ball, and when you fish, stay 1 foot off the bottom. About 100 to 200 yards south of these 60 foot drop offs is a mile of dirt humps in 90 to 110 feet of water. From about mid May to July these humps have large macs on them, with 10 to 50 fish on each hump.These humps run from north east to south west all the way across Swim Beach bay. I will mark both trolling patterns on your map but you will need to find the individual humps by scouting it out. After you find the humps is just like connecting the dots in trolling going from one way point to the next to the next but the good thing about this area is the bottom is soft and you can drop your downrigger ball to the bottom with no worries. Fish 150 feet back from the ball in this area. The next area to fish is Antelope Flats. This area is divided into two parts with a deep canyon draw dividing the two parts. The north part is called the J run, it is very easy to troll and it is the preferred area for steel liners because of the flat gradual slope. It would be a good place to practice dragging the bottom because of how consistent the flat bottom is here. There are big fish here but not in large numbers or spots so other than marking a trolling line and pattern there is no humps to mark. Trolling is from southeast to northwest or northwest to southeast. I will mark it on your map. The main Antelope flat area is at the southeast end of the J run and has a number of canyon draws and can be very challenging to troll these canyon tops and slopes. They can have hundreds of moody lake trout on them and when you see how many lake trout that you are crossing over in June, it can make you crazy trying to get them to hit. The state record lake trout and my biggest lake trout was caught here in this area. It is the preferred area for the boats jigging and on some days there will be 25 or more boats dead in the water jigging these spots. Learning how to weave through them and stay 100 hundred feet from each boat can be challenging. The bottom here is very uneven, rising and dropping from 60 to 100 feet numerous times with lake trout everywhere. Making a straight trolling line here will not work but you can troll here without having to adjust your downrigger too many times by knowing the bottom and having a trolling pattern that is more like trolling the letter W than a straight line. This area can be very productive but on many days the fish act like they have lockjaw, I once trolled this area for eight hours straight without as much is as a tick of a hit on my line and then at 2:15 in the afternoon I get the only hit of the day a 50 pound monster mac. At the end of the June a lot of the lake trout start to move over to Linwood bay, the fishing in Linwood bay is easy and can be hot with large fish being caught all day. Linwood bay has a gradual slope to it from the shallows on the northside out to the center where the lake trout hanging out on the edge of long drop off that runs east and west, most of the Lake Trout will be on this edge or on the east end of the edge that runs north and south. A long trolling run of almost 1 to 1 1/2 miles miles can be made here in basically a straight course east to west or west to east. Trolling here is easy with few snags and depending on the level of the lake you can drop your downrigger ball to the 100 foot bottom and forget it, just troll. Fish your lure 150 Ft back in this area. Fishing here is very productive in July and August with more and more fish showing up every day. Two other areas to mention would be the Anvil area and Sheep Creek, these areas can have big lake trout. I will mark the best spots on your map but caution should be taken in Sheep Creek and other spots South of their, like Hideout and the rest of the canyon area, because of rocky snag filled outcrops, it is easy to lose a downrigger ball here and should only be trolled after making several passes to scout out and mark the bottom and side of the canyon. It is best left for expert downrigger's. There are other places in the lake that have large lake trout but you must know and map the bottom. 2. Fish with the right lure There are many lures that are effective at catching like trout A. Rapala type lures B. Flatfish C. Flutter spoons A. Rapala Type lures are fish shaped lures, usually 3 to 10 inches long with 1 to 3 treble hooks, they can be very effective in certain places and times of day. Example, fish these lures before sun up or after sundown. My favorite Rapalas are the floating Rainbow, Green Pike, Silver Blue, or Silver Chartreuse. Fishing with Raplas early in the morning in the shallow areas can be deadly like on the 50 foot to 60 foot area of swim beach, set your downrigger anywhere from 20 to 40 feet down and go 3.5 to 4 mph. Also Antelope Flats in the 30 to 60 foot areas.This method usually only works before sun up or after sundown. Stay at least 10 to 20 feet above the bottom or you will snag up for sure. Rapala's can be very effective in the late fall to spring. B. Flatfish, big Flatfish were once the weapon of choice at Flaming Gorge but are rarely effective anymore, the big fish have gotten wary of them. But small F7 and F5 flat fish trolled right on the bottom are killers. My favorite colors are all white, silver white and silver blue, they should be trolled at 1.5 mph right on or close to the bottom. They will catch Lake Trout almost as fast as you put them down but they have a problem, they snag the bottom just as fast, and you can lose a half a dozen in a hour of trolling so best to fish them 5 feet off the bottom. C. Flutter Spoons, This spoon is made by different manufacturers. The most well known would be Luhr-Jensen's Needlefish. I made my first flutter spoon in 1975 and called it a Flashy Fish and soon found out they are deadly for all sorts of trout and bass. The difference between a traditional spoon and a flutter spoon, is casting spoons are made with thicker metal versus flutter spoons which are made with thin metal. The affect is that this thin metal spoon has a much enhanced side to side motion giving the lure a much more appealing flattering action. The other benefit is that these lures can be trolled right on the bottom with a downrigger, and because of their light weight they just glide over the many rocks and snags that other types of lures catch. I can troll the bottom a whole day and only lose one or two lures to snags which cannot be done with other types of lures. I would say that I now use Flutter Spoons 90% of the time when trolling. The most effective flutter spoons for Lake Trout would be the small 2 inch size Blue Night, Green Machine, Mack Attack, Whitey Tighty, Excalibur and After Dinner Mint. Troll these lures at 2.25 mph. I like to Troll large or extra large Flashy Fish in the winter and spring when the fish are up off the bottom or in the Canyon areas where it is hard to troll the bottom. Troll these large spoons at 2.75 to 3 mph, the best large and extra large spoons would be the Rainbow, Kokanee and Blue Tiger. Although one size or color of lure on many days might be red hot, on other days you may not catch any fish with it. That is why you should always try a different lure if after a hour or two, you have caught nothing. 3. Fish the right way Now that you know where the fish are and have a bunch of flutter spoons ready to go, there's just a few more details that will help you catch big lake trout consistently and make it all work, many of these details are my opinion about tackle and tactics and can change in the future. I only use line counter trolling reels because I want to know exactly how far back my lures is and because they hold a lot more line which will be needed if you get a big fish on and it decides to run. The best line counter reel is the Shimano Tekota Levelwind, it is not cheap but should last for years of fishing. Okuma also makes a line counter that I like but that one will only last a year or two at most. Line, I like Seaguar fluorocarbon line in 15 pound test but it is very expensive too use and if you get a snag you can lose a lot of line fast, for that reason I now fish with 12 pound Izorline X X X line in smoke color available at Tackle Warehouse see http://www.tacklewarehouse.com/...descpage-IXXXSC.html It is stronger than fluorocarbon and cheap. You will want to buy the1100 yd spool, put on at least 1000 feet on each reel. There is a lot of different lines out there and I've tried dozens of them with bad results, so getting this line thing right is very critical to your success, and if you have the wrong line on it may ruin your fishing for years. Rods, My recommendation is a 7 foot one piece medium action bass rod, there're a lot of good brands out there. The rigging is very important, what you want to do is tie on a Duo-Lock #2 snap with no swivel with a Palomar Knot If you're lure starts to spin or you get line twist you need to slow down you're moving too fast. Downrigger notes, if you have a manual downrigger get rid of the cable and put on 130 pound test braided line. It will cut through the water easier and stop that annoying hum. I use 6 pound round lead balls, don't use the fish shaped ones or the pancake type they will get hung up on the bottom. Change your transducer from pointing stright down to looking one click back. This way you will be able to see exactly where your lead is as you troll, I use offshore downrigger releases. Use the black ones and put your line 3/4 the way back. Ok ! you're ready to fish, put your flutter spoon 150 ft back and send it to the bottom as you approach one of your pre-map trolling lines. People ask me " you don't actually drag the bottom" and I tell them to look at my downrigger balls, see all the dents in the lead from hitting rocks. One last thing, big lake trout are very moody and 20% or one out of five days they just won't bite no matter what your fishing with and then in late August through October they get even more moody so if you get skunked, don't give up, tomorrow's a new day. If you have more questions email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Great write up! Armed with that info, just about anyone can boat a big Mac at FG. Remember to catch and release and that means being able to send them back down to a depth that will level out the gasses in their bodies!
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