Well, after a brief hiatus from fishing for a few weeks I got out this past Sunday (August 17, 2014) and fished in Behre Bait & Tackle’s 1st Annual Howie Behre Memorial Round Valley Lake Trout Tournament. Since this tournament was a team tournament, I brought Chelsey Hoover on board with me for the day for her first time trolling out on Round Valley, as well as her first fishing tournament. This tournament was run with the winner being determined by the total weight of one 7-fish bag limit (six fish 15-23.99-inches, and one fish greater than or equal to 24-inches) per boat, which is different than the Round Valley Trout Association fishing tournaments I usually fish at Round Valley where the biggest fish wins. This difference in rules made it anyones game in who had a shot at the money in the tournament, but added the challenge of consistently catching fish throughout the tournament. Personally, I like the tournament being based off of the total weight of all seven fish rather than just one fish seeing as anyone can get lucky and catch one big fish, while catching a limit of several decent fish requires more skill in my opinion.
Anyway, Chelsey and I were up at 2:00 a.m. the morning of and at Behre Bait & Tackle by 3:00 a.m. to grab some Herring for the day and get the boat ready. We managed to get the boat in the water a little before the start of the tournament, and once 4:30 a.m. hit we were off! Since it was still dark when the tournament started we motored over to where I wanted to start trolling for the day, turned the motor off, got some Herring on the bottom to kill some time before it got light out, and got all our lures on our trolling rods so we were ready to troll once it got light out. Then a little after 6:00 a.m. we began to troll and started off in fairly shallow water (60-75 feet) at this point since Lakers go shallower to feed at night and in early morning. Since we were fishing in a Lake Trout tournament, I decided to run two rods off the back and two off of planer boards for Lakers; all with 10 colors of lead core out. I also had two additional planer boards out with 5 colors of lead core out for Rainbows and Browns. Within 10 minutes since we started trolling, we got our first fish on the line which ended up being a 3-lb Lake Trout that hit a meathead in 65 feet of water. After we got that fish in the net, it was non stop action for the next 15-20 minutes, by the end of which we landed four Lake Trout. Out of those four; we caught one on a meathead, two on Warrior Spoons, and one that came up and hit a Rapala we had out for Rainbows behind five colors of lead core. During this, Chelsey reeled in her very first Lake Trout, which also happened to be our biggest fish of the day; 3.75-lbs!
After that first pass, the wind started to kick up enough where trolling back up against it was starting to become a bit of a challenge. So we decided to anchor up in 95-feet of water and drop some Herring down to the bottom to wait and see if the wind would die down. After about an hour of that with nothing producing for us, we decided to shoot up to the south tower and anchor off of there. Though that was also short lived and after about another 45 minutes of that with nothing, the wind died down a bit so we started trolling down the south shore in 75-100 feet of water. Since the wind was still just strong enough to make trolling back up against it frustrating, I decided to just troll down with the wind and then motor back up against it so we could troll back down with it again. This turned out to be a good decision since at some points we were able to put the motor into neutral and have the wind push us along at trolling speed (1.2-1.5 mph). At the end of our second to last pass down the south shore, Chelsey was reeling in our last line before we motored back up against the wind and actually had a Lake Trout smack the spoon half way up, and we landed our 5th fish of the day. After that, we were running out of time before we had to be back at the bait shop since we had to cut our day a little short so we could make it to a concert out in the Meadowlands. So we decided to make one last pass down the south shore, and picked up one last Laker on a Warrior Spoon to give us an even bag limit of six fish.
After we got the boat on the trailer and out of the water, we headed back to Behre Bait & Tackle to weigh in and to eat some food at the BBQ and pig roast that was also being held at the shop for the tournament. We ended up in 9th place with a total weight of a little over 16-lbs, so we didn’t place in the tournament, but we still had a great day of fishing regardless! Thanks to Behre Bait & Tackle for putting on a great tournament, and a special thanks to the owner James Behre for letting us take his boat out to fish the tournament! The tournament went great, and I’m looking forward to fishing it again next year.
Strategy for the day:
- Trolling Lead core
- 1.2-1.5 mph
- 60-100 feet of water
Lures of choice:
- Warrior Spoons