BWCA Fishing Corner – Early Season Lake Trout

BWCA Fishing Corner – Early Season Lake Trout

Boundary Waters Ice Out Trout

In the Boundary Waters, ice out lake trout fishing is coming.   Yes, it’s that time of year, again. The days are getting longer, the snow banks are finally shrinking, open ground (not water, yet) is starting to appear. We’re a little slow up north for these kinds of things, but this can only mean it’s not to long before open water fishing returns.  The fishing season opens for all species on May 9th.

canoe fishing boundary waters

The Hot Bite of a BWCA Lake Trout

With the arrival of spring comes a much anticipated “hot bite”. We’re talking about Lake Trout. While it’s true that bass, walleyes and pike can all be good at opening, there is an opportunity to catch an otherwise challenging fish at most other times of the season. Lake trout are a cold water species that prefers water temperatures that are well below the preferences of bass and walleyes. In the middle of summer, these temperatures are found at depths in excess of 30 or 40 feet. During the first month of Minnesota’s open water fishing season, in lakes that harbor lake trout (like the Boundary Waters), that preferred cold water exists in almost all of the water column (surface to bottom). Combining cool water temperature with good oxygen levels (critical for trout) throughout most of the lake, trout can be caught in very shallow water and even on topwater!

Tips For Your Fishing Rig

The best time to take advantage of these conditions is from the opener through about mid-June (depending on how warm the spring is). Conventional casting or spinning tackle with 10 or 12 lb test monofilament line and a medium to med-heavy rod will do the trick. I actually like mono line for spring lake trout fishing because of its ability to stretch. Braided lines are fine for deep water trolling and jigging because of the amount of line out. Its “no-stretch” characteristics provide a solid hook set from a distance.

Using monofilament with shallow lakers give you a bit of a shock absorber affect with a short distance hit. You’ll still get a good hook set and 10 or 12 lb test is plenty strong enough to take on most lake trout in the Canoe Country. It is important to have your reel drag set properly.  Heavier line can certainly be used but 30 or 40 lb test is unnecessary.

Spring Lake Trout Use Most of the Lake

Spring lake trout can use most of the lake. That means you can still catch them deep but traditional lures that don’t dive to 30’ or more are quite effective. These include spoons and spinners. Brands that you might recognize like Dardevle, Mepps, Little Cleo, Blue Fox, Doctor Spoon, Rooster Tail and Williams Wobbler are just a few of the all-time favorites.


bwca lake trout fishing

So, if you’ve never enjoyed a battle with a Canoe Country Lake Trout, your timing is good. Spring…and the fishing opener are just around the corner. May is what we consider a shoulder season (off-peak), so permits are not too difficult to get a hold of. In early June, the permit demand increases. Just give us a call and we can check availability, and maybe we can “hook” you up with some Ice Out Trout!

Fish on.


For more information on BWCA fishing, click here, or call us at 218-365-5837

bwca fishing