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Lake Trout fish identification, its habitats, characteristics, fishing methods.



Lake Trout Fishing Belonging to the char group, the lake trout (Salvelinus namaycush) is known as togue (in the Northeast), mackinaw (in the West), and as gray trout in much of Canada. Native throughout Canada and across the northern United States, lake trout require cold, well-oxygenated waters from 43F to 56F.

Description
    The lake trouts body has a background gray color, often with an bronze-olive overtone. It shades to silvery-white on the belly. The back and sides have many large light-colored, irregularly shaped markings, some of which are wavy or wormlike, like the brook trouts markings. There is also light speckling on the dorsal and adipose fins and on the deeply forked caudal fin, plus a white leading edge on the pectoral, pelvic and anal fins. Lake trout have been known to grow to more than 50 inches and over 100 pounds. Lake Trout description


Habitats
    Lake trout are found in cold waters. Water temperatures exceeding 67F (20C) will eventually kill the suffocating lake trout. In the cold seasons when shallow waters reach the same temperatures as the water at depths of one or two hundred feet, lake trout comfortably feed near the surface.
    Lake trout live in deep, cold, usually infertile lakes. Lake trout are roamers and may move widely in their home lakes and go several hundred feet deep. Their preferred water temperature is about 50F (10C). In the summer they stay deep and can usually be caught by deep trolling. But as the water cools with the fall season and into spring, lake trout may be taken by artificial lures and flies fished shallower, near shore. Lake trout are the least tolerant of salt water of all the chars.
    Lake trout grow more slowly than other salmon and trout family members. They reach a large size because they live a long time, over 20 years. Lake trout feed on smelt and other fish, as well as crustaceans, terrestrial and aquatic insects, and plankton.

Spawning
    Lake trout are bbecame mature when they are 6 or 7 years old. Some lake trout respond to a homing instinct. They return to the same spawning grounds year after year, while others do not. Lake trout do not normally make an upstream spawning run. They spawn in their home lakes at night during the fall. The eggs are deposited over a boulder-strewn or rubble bottom, or over artificial spawning structure, in depths from 40 feet to about one foot. Lake trout may clean their spawning sites by rubbing against the rocks with the snout, body and fins, but they dont prepare a nest as do other trout. After release, the eggs drift down to settle in the spaces between the rocks. The eggs are not guarded. They develop by themselves and hatch the following spring.
    In the fall, lake trout spawn at depths exceeding one hundred feet, or in deep areas of shallow lakes. Females sweep the gravel bottom clear of debris, and then scatter tiny eggs over the area. Many of the eggs, each less than one-fifth of an inch in diameter, are eaten by fish before the 50-150 day incubation period is complete. The hatched fry remain in the deep water, avoiding the cataract-inducing sunlight.

Fishing Methods.
    Troll cold, large lakes until a trout is found, then change techniques and cast to the fish. Though larger than southern trout, lakers do not require heavy tackle to land. Some anglers troll the surface with fly rods, ultra-light spinning tackle, and troll large buck tails or long-bodied streamer flies with flashy bodies.
    Anglers that choose to use larger spoons, spinners and crank baits, will use bait casting or spinning gear. Since trout feed on smaller fish in open, non-obstruction-filled lakes, big spoons resembling familiar bait fish should be used. Still, it pays to experiment; lakers have been known to strike bizarre lures that look nothing like the common forage. In cool, shallow waters, live bait or, where legal, live six-inch suckers near deep drop-offs catch decent-sized trout.
    In summer waters, trout stay in the 50F (10C), oxygen-rich thermocline layer. The use of a temperature probe and depth finder will help locate the regions to troll, and identify schools of forage fish signaling nearby trout. For deep trolling, use wire or lead core line and the length of line required to troll the spoon, spinner, or crank bait lure in the thermocline layer (sometimes over 400 feet). But much lighter equipment may be used when fishing down riggers.
    When looking for areas where trout congregate in the summer, hunt for deep holes, bottom humps in holes, and ridges leading from deepwater to shallower areas, all of which usually require the use of a depth finder to uncover.
    Once lakers are located, try vertical jigging with medium-weight spinning equipment, moving the jig to varying depths and letting it sink to the bottom. Many trout strike the lure as it resumes its upward swim, and pursue the lure almost to the surface. When vertical jigging, lakers will take the lure at any moment and anglers must watch the line for changes in tension and speed, and immediately set the hook.
    Bright yellow or white jigs weighing between three-quarters of an ounce and one-and-a-half ounces, often work better in waters from 50 to 80 feet deep. A 6-inch strip of sucker meat attached to the jig will usually double the number of laker strikes. Many anglers choose not to jig in water less than 40 feet deep or depths exceeding 80 feet, because at these depths, the fish do not respond or line control diminishes.
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