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I'm going on my first paddling trip of the year in a few weeks (probably opening week). Going to be in primarily small, Lake Trout/Northern lakes.

I have zero experience fishing for lake trout, so aside from reading some info. online I'll be mostly winging it.

Any info. or tips you can pass my way regarding strategy and lure choice for early spring Lakers would be greatly appreciated!

As is, I'm planning on casting/trolling small spoons, spinners and minnow baits close to shore and off shallow structure (I bring a portable with me). I'll also be targeting some in flowing creeks to boot.

Thanks
Rich
 

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Lakers are just like pike in spring to an extent they are hungry and easy to fool in early spring the old jig and minnow will catch em too but you are on the right track with spoons and spinners even 20 foot diving raps are a safe bet too in early spring but if you don't get em super shallow a jig and minnow or even a mister twister will catch you some fish or if you can bring some sucker meat along and do a tube jig and sucker off breaks near rock piles. Even using offal (guts and unusable meat/skin) from a shore lunch is a good start mix and match and you will get em!
 

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Another thing to consider is south facing shorelines vs north facing shorelines. I always start with the south facing shorelines as the water is a little warmer here which in turn will have increase insects and therefore baitfish.....and larger fish. If you have a transition between rock and sand/mud you usually have fish. The beauty of paddling is you can go shallow without spooking fish. Enjoy.
 

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Trolling quick fish and flat fish lures have always been successful for me. I generally start with the silver/blue or silver/green. Aim for 20-30 feet of water. This time of the year those little guys will be hungry so if your not having any luck change it up.
Like Matt said, white tube jig with some sucker belly is almost always effective.
 

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We fish a lot in back lakes where the trout seldom get over 7 pounds and day in and out we do best on spinners with live minnows or plastic.
If using spinners with a single hook I prefer a circle hook.
Last we week we caught them in 8 - 12 feet of water just outside the bulrushes.
In early spring sandy/gravel bottom in 15' - 30' can be another good spot.
As well try shore fishing for lake trout, At times out does guys in the boat.
A slip bobber with sucker belly or live minnow ( I fish Ontario ) can be killer and is perfect for smaller lakes
Good luck
 

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The comment about warmer waters is quite accurate in the spring as minnows gather to spawn in these areas. If you can find a < 20' flat with a stream running into it...you are in business. I like trolling and casting J11 And 13 series jointed raps in these areas.
 

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I find spring lakers will hit just about anything, especially smaller lakers. For quantity I'd suggest trolling shad raps in silver colors. For larger lakers larger spoons work best. Sizes that are about the size of your hand. You'll still catch small ones but not as many.

As far as location, if they are chasing whitefish they may be shallow, but a little later in the year (a month or so after ice out) I find the more productive areas are steep drop offs, especially if you're fishing a shield type lake. Some of the best areas are right next to cliffs where the water 10 feet from the "wall" is 40 or 50 feet deep, or more. I know a great spot in Manitou Ontario where you could reach out and touch the cliff face and be in 180 feet of water. Those can be great spots.

Another area to try is where a big bay has a narrow opening to the main lake. Fish the open water side of the opening and in the narrows if its deep enough, like 30+ feet.

Best fishing is morning and evening. Once the sun gets bright most go a bit deeper. Unless theres a good chop, then they might stick around shallower.
 

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I like using big crankbaits or a big half wave spoon for spring time lakers. Here's a video of my big 39.5 inch lake trout from gods lake Manitoba
[ame]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JMGCyCsQ-JA&t=152s[/ame]
 

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i just wanted to thank everyone who answered my post. The tips have been awesome!

This will be the 3rd year for the spring Laker trip. This May we are paddling Woodland Caribou PP for 10 days... 7 days of Lakers and 3 days for Walleye. I can't wait!

Last year we had a lot of success trolling Jointed Floating Raps (Blue/Silver and Chartreuse/Silver) behind inline weights. Great set-up for paddlers as you don't have to bring as many lures... just change up the weights for depth.

This year I'll post some pictures when we get back... thanks again!
 
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