Sunday, March 31, 2013

Ice Out Brown Trout

The ice is finally on its way out, meaning time to get the boat in the water!  This past weekend presented the perfect opportunity for a friend and I to take advantage of this and do some trolling for Brown Trout out of Algoma on Lake Michigan.  Lake Michigan greeted us with a beautiful sunrise and perfect fishing conditions!

For those of you that typically launch in the Ahnapee River rather than the Algoma Marina, I strongly urge you to use extreme caution when venturing through the river just downstream from the Highway 42 bridge.  The water is so low that there are several rocks exposed here, and the deepest point we found was only a little over 2 feet!  We used the bow-mount trolling motor to navigate the shallows on the way to the lake, and the big motor trimmed way up on the way back to the launch.  We were fortunate enough to make it through without any issues but if we weren't extremely careful, things could have gone much worse!

Now that I got that out of the way, lets talk about the fishing!  Since the weather called for increasing winds out of the south, John and I chose to start our day by running all the way south to Kewaunee and our plan was to troll north until we found dirty water holding Browns.  We did exactly that, as there was a nice 1 foot chop that we rode all the way to just south of Kewaunee where we decided to set lines.

Our first pass through the Kewaunee gap resulted in nothing, but we did notice that there was some warm water in a little pocket that we missed to the outside on our first pass.  We pulled our lines and set back up shallower to pull through the dingy water.  As the water temps went from 35.6° to 37.9° our first board of the 2013 began screaming back!  Fish On!  The best part about it was the fact that 10 seconds before the board dropped back we both mentioned that we should catch one any second now!

After a nice little fight, we landed a nice and healthy 4 pound Brown Trout on a floating Rapala.  We quickly got the bait back in the water and continued pulling through this warmer water when another board dropped back.  This turned out to be a small Brown Trout, which we released to grow up and fight another day.  We continued our pass in front of the Kewaunee gap and this time doubled up right as our planer boards crossed the mud line!  Before we knew it, we had already landed 4 Brown Trout!

After that kind of action we decided that we had to take another pull through that area, so we pulled lines and set back up for another run.  This time we had one fish on briefly but it shook free.  We then decided to continue our troll towards Algoma, since the waves were building to 4 feet with some 5 footers mixed in!  This turned out to be a wise choice, as we found another pod of hungry Brown Trout about 25 minutes later!  

This time the water actually wasn't that warm, but there were plenty of Browns!  By the time we had the planer board off from the first fish, we had 2 more boards pull back!  One of the fish managed to get a treble hook in its side, which caused it to come in sideways and feel really big!  While we were attempting to land these fish one at a time, I had no choice but to cut the engine power to gain on the sideways hook fish.  While in neutral, I watched a Brown jump completely out of the water near our outside planer board.  A few seconds later, the board surged back!  At this point we had 4 fish on at once!  This was a first for me with Brown Trout!

When all was said and done, we landed 3 Browns, and the fourth broke our line right by the boat.  I was happy with the outcome, not perfect, but I will take 3 out of 4 any day!  We both thought about pulling up and heading back north for another pull through this area, but with the waves and distance from Algoma, we refrained.

We picked up a couple more Browns along the way before pulling lines a couple miles south of Algoma and heading in.  Things got interesting when we reached the river and made it to the Highway 42 bridge.  While we were out fishing, a 75'x10' chunk of ice must have broke free and conveniently lodged itself across the bridge pilings!  Luckily we were able to push the chuck upriver a bit before we snuck around it along the shoreline!

Overall it was a great first open water trip of the season, despite several challenges we encountered along the way!


Jacob Sprangers said...

What speed are you trolling at?

Lance Busse said...

Speed didn't seem to make too much of a difference that day, but we were trolling between 2.2-2.6 miles per hour.