Tag Archives: Lake Trout

Night Fishing for Lake Trout?

Fishing NJ for Lake Trout...at night

On August 30th, myself, Zach, and my buddy Chris headed out to Round Valley to do some night fishing for rainbow trout. At our first drop, we caught a dinner-plate sized sunfish in 65 feet of water so we moved deeper in search of rainbows…chasing rainbows? Heh #dadjokes.

At our second drop, we doubled anchored in 85feet, surface water temp. measured 74.5F. After a few hours of soaking cut shrimp without success, I finally get a no-doubter of a hit on my line, set the hook, and start fighting a nice size fish on my light spinning outfit which has 6lb test mono all the way to the size 8 baitholder hook.

The fish wasn’t fighting like a rainbow trout, it was sounding like a damn tuna, what the heck is this thing? I call for Zack to get his fancy rubberized net ready just in case I’ve got a new state record sunfish on my line… Slowly I start gaining line on the fish and as it comes up we see that it’s a lake trout! Zach snapped a quick pic and back into the drink went the fish. I got another solid hit about 15 minutes later but it snapped my line. My fault. I should have checked it for damage after the first fish, what a stupid mistake on my part. You’d think after fishing for twenty something years I’d have some of this stuff memorized but nope, live and learn.

We bobbed around for a few more hours without a hit or a fish and I think we finally packed it in around 3:30am. It was a beautiful night even though the fish were few and far between. A more ambitious group of anglers would have pulled up anchors and kept trying locations, but that’s hard work with double anchors and honestly the part I love most about night fishing is how peaceful and relaxing it is. If you’ve never tried it, I strongly suggest going out with a friend or two, you’ll have a blast I guarantee it.

Tournament Report – 1st Annual Howie Behre Memorial

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.

Round Valley trolling spread
Our six rod spread for the day.

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!

Round Valley Lake Trout
Chelsey Hoover with her very first Lake Trout, as well as our biggest fish of the day! It weighed in at 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.

Round Valley Lake Trout
Chelsey Hoover and I with our six Lake Trout after the weigh in; we had a total weight of a little over 16-lbs.

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:

Fishing method:

  • Trolling Lead core

Trolling Speed:

  • 1.2-1.5 mph

Depth:

  • 60-100 feet of water

Lures of choice:

  • Warrior Spoons
Warrior Spoons
Little Warrior Spoons; work great for Lake Trout, Rainbows, and Browns.

 

 

 

 

 

  • Meatheads
Meatheads
Meatheads; a great producer of Lake Trout at Round Valley

Round Valley Fishing Report – April 1, 2014

This past Tuesday, April 1, I was finally able to get out and fish from a boat on Round Valley for the first time in a few months, thanks to Mike Kalinchock from the Round Valley Trout Association (Thanks again Mike!).  We were mainly targeting Lake Trout by wire lining with Chartreuse and Perch pattern spoons.  Though we were also trolling two rods with small jointed Rapalas behind one color of lead-core off of planer boards, hoping to get into some of the big trophy Trout the RVTA stocked this past weekend.

Me with one of the Rainbow Trout I stocked at the RVTA Trophy Trout stocking this past Sunday (March 30).
Me with one of the Rainbow Trout I stocked at the RVTA Trophy Trout stocking this past Sunday (March 30).  Some true giants were put in this year, a few of which were almost 10-lbs!

Going into this trip I had never fished with wire line before, but Mike definitely knows what he’s doing and was able to show me the ropes for the day.  I can’t honestly say I was used to letting 100+ yards of line out by hand, but once I got into the rhythm of things it wasn’t bad at all.  We started out trolling on the South side of the reservoir between 70-90 feet of water for some Lakers, and soon enough we were into some fish that were taking our spoons off of the wireline rods.  On our first pass down the South side we picked up I believe two fish and missed a few more.  Then, on our second or third pass though the area, we finally got a solid hit on one of the planer boards which were set up to target some Rainbow and Brown Trout.  Mike quickly grabbed the rod and started reeling, and shortly after said he thought it was a tagged fish.  About half way through the fight, we thought it shook the hook, but luckily we were wrong and ended up landing a 24.5-inch, 5-lb Rainbow Trout.  Not only was Mike right about it being a tagged fish, but it also happened to be RVTA tag #553, last year’s RVTA money fish!

RVTA Trophy Rainbow
Mike K. with his 24.5-inch, 5-lb Rainbow Trout (Tag #553) caught trolling a silver jointed Rapala behind one color of lead-core.

After landing that fish, we made another pass or two down the South side of the reservoir without too many more strikes, so we decided to head up to the North side to see if we could do any better there. We only made one pass on the North side before calling it a day, but the Lakers were stacked pretty thick all over the bottom there in 70-80 feet of water, and we landed another one and missed a few more. Also, not to mention we passed over a ton of bait on the North side, the most I’ve ever seen on a fish finder at Round Valley.

Round Valley baitfish
Now that’s a lot of bait!

Then, right as we were just getting to the North tower, we got another hit on a planer board, and I landed a 16-inch Rainbow that took a small silver jointed Rapala fished behind one color of lead-core, just like Mike’s tagged Rainbow. Definitely was a nice change to get out and fish the Valley from a boat rather than shore fishing for once, and overall I was happy with the results. Between the three of us, we landed two Rainbows up to 5-lbs, four Lake Trout up to 3.2-lbs, and lost probably close to another 10 fish on the way up.

Round Valley Trout
Our catch for the day between the three of us. Two Rainbow Trout and four Lake Trout.

Not to mention Mike taught me a ton about not only wire lining, but trolling Round Valley in general. While I’m by no means an expert on trolling, I’ll be putting together a how-to trolling article in the near future with what I do know about that method of fishing. Until then, I hope everyone’s getting out and enjoying the spring weather now that it’s finally here, and tight lines!

Shore Fishing 101 – Bait Selection

With Winter now in full swing, the majority of fisherman and woman have put their rods away for the year.  But for those of us that brave the cold weather, Round Valley can offer some great shoreline fishing to hold us over until the Spring!  So in this series articles, I’m going to explain the basics for fishing the shoreline at Round Valley, which can be applied during the Fall, Winter, and Spring for Trout!

Bait Selection

Golden Shiner
Golden Shiner, one of the best all around baits for fishing the shoreline at Round Valley.

 

There’s a wide selection of baits you can use when fishing from shore. Though the two most widely used, and successful baits are Powerbait and Shiners, so I’m going to mainly cover using these in this article since we’re covering the basics of shoreline fishing.  I’ve often found that the time of year does effect which bait the fish will be hitting more readily.  Usually Shiners fished under slip bobbers work better during the Spring and Fall, while Powerbait and Shiners fished on the bottom work better during the coldest months of the year.

Zach Merchant (That's me!) and Robert Ivan with two RVTA jaw tagged Rainbow Trout caught on Powerbait from shore during December of 2013
Zach Merchant (That’s me!) and Robert Ivan with two RVTA jaw tagged Rainbow Trout caught on Powerbait from shore during December of 2013

 If targeting Rainbow Trout, your best bet would be Powerbait on the bottom, or Shiners fished both under slip bobbers as well as on the bottom.  For Brown Trout, Shiners fished both under slip bobbers and on the bottom will produce.  As far as Lake Trout go, they’re a little trickier at times.  I’ve caught them on Shiners fished one foot under slip bobbers as well as fishing Shiners on the bottom casting to about 40-50 feet of water, and everything in between.  Though the most consistent way of catching Lake Trout from shore would be Shiners on the bottom.  While this is what I’ve observed while fishing Round Valley through the seasons, of course this isn’t always the case.  So just to be on the safe side, even if the bite is hot on say Shiners under slip bobbers, I’ll almost always have one rod out with Powerbait as well just in case the bite switches to that throughout my trip (You never know what can happen!).

(left to right) Zach Batren, myself, and Chris Moran with a nice haul of Trout caught fishing the Round Valley shoreline on both Powerbait, and live Shiners!
(left to right) Zach Batren, myself, and Chris Moran with a nice haul of Trout caught fishing the Round Valley shoreline on both Powerbait, and live Shiners!

So pretty much to sum things up:

  • Shiners under slip bobbers in Spring and Fall, when there’s warmer water temperatures.  (But not too warm of course)
  • Shiners and Powerbait fished on the bottom during the coldest months, usually between November/December and March/April.  (Depending on water temperature)
  • Powerbait, nine out of ten times will produce Rainbow Trout.
  • Shiners under slip bobbers will produce Brown and Rainbow Trout.
  • Shiners fished on the bottom will produce a mix of Brown, Rainbow, and Lake Trout.
  • When in season, Shiners can be replaced by live Herring, which can be a more effective bait.

Also, in addition to the baits that I went over in this article.  They are not in any means the only baits that will produce Trout from shore at Round Valley.  A few other baits that are commonly used while fishing the shoreline are:

  • Marshmallow and mealworm combos fished on the bottom
  • Garden worms or Night-crawlers fished on the bottom or under a bobber
  • Cooked salad Shrimp fished on the bottom

Stay tuned in for more shoreline fishing 101 articles!  Next I’ll be covering things such as; rigs for shoreline fishing, finding a good shore fishing location, and casting lures from the shoreline!

November 20, 2013 – Shore Fishing Report

Fishing has been pretty slow for me the past few weeks (hence the lack of posts on here), but even though the action has been slow, the fish are still there to be caught.  I went out and fished the Round Valley shoreline this morning from 8:00 a.m. until 11:30 a.m. with Zach Batren and Tom Niedbala.  Zach B. and Tom arrived a little while before I did, and set up right in the boat launch area to the left of the concrete boat launch.  Even though they only beat me there by less than an hour, Tom had landed a beautiful 15-inch Rainbow that he caught fishing a live Shiner about two-feet under a slip bobber by the time I had got there, and Zach B. had a big Rainbow follow a Rapala (Brown Trout pattern) while casting off the docks.  It followed long enough for Zach to see that it was an RVTA jaw tagged Rainbow.  Though after I got my lines in the water, we got nothing except for one hit I got on my Powerbait and a few hits Zach B. and Tom got on Shiners under slip bobbers as well as Shiners on the bottom.  So around 9:30 a.m. we decided to move over to the area just to the left of the sandy point across from the boat launch.

Once we got set up at our new spot the fishing was slow for the first hour or so, with the only action we got being one hit Tom got on his slip bobber, as well as one Largemouth Bass Tom landed; also on his slip bobber.  Then, around 10:30 I got a hit on one of my rods that I had salmon peach Powerbait on, and as soon as I set the hook I knew it was a good fish.  After a nice fight, I landed a nice 21-inch 2-lb, 4-oz Lake Trout, which was definitely a nice surprise for the day.   

Round Valley Lake Trout
My 21-inch 2-lb, 4-oz Lake Trout caught on salmon peach Powerbait

After landing the fish, I quickly got my lines back in the water in the same area I hooked into the Laker, and got two more decent hits within 10 minutes of casting back out.  Though after that flurry of action, we didn’t get anymore action for about another 45 minutes or so, which brought us to 11:30 and I had to leave for work.  So we called it quits after landing Tom’s Largemouth Bass, and 15-inch Rainbow, as well as my 21-inch Laker.  Not the best day of fishing, but could’ve definitely turned out worse so we were happy with the outcome.