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CANOPY SAM

How and where to start on a new Lake Trout lake...

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A group of friends and I are headed to Bluewater Lake in Itasca County for some snowmobiling and fishing this weekend.

After a little research I've found that Bluewater has been stocked with Lake Trout for a number of years now, and there appears to be a good number of fish in there.

Would anyone be willing to offer a little advice on where to start looking for Lakers at this time of the year? There is nice structure in the lake, along with a few very deep holes, some extremely steep breaks, and a couple deep lake humps.

I've caught lakers thru the ice myself, but only with others leading me to the fish.

Where would you begin looking at this time of the year, and what would be your prefered baits? I sure would love to put just a couple small fish on the grill this weekend!

Thanks ahead of time, and I'll be watching for your posts!

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I would start on the humps if I were to try. Any structure with deep water near it should produce trout at some point. I have never done well on the steepest structure myself, but lakes are all different. I prefer more gradual breaks on outside or inside corners of points or humps.

I'm not sure how deep the lake is, but I spend most of my time in 30-60 FOW. You could find them deeper or shallower than that as well if you aren't finding any fish. Fish the whole column of water from 5 feet below the ice all the way to bottom. I mostly jig around 10-15 feet off bottom and go higher up every now and then.

As for lures, you can catch them on most of your normal walleye gear. From jigs and spoons to jigging raps, and rattle baits. I have a small bucktail with a shiner or rainbow on my line about 80 percent of the time.

Have fun and good luck. I know there are some hogs in there too! Let us know how it goes.

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I also like the 30-60 fow range. I would start at 30-40 fow on the sharpest break you can find on the lake. If there is a large area that's 80-100 fow that quickly runs up to the shore line I would start there. Lakers like to push bait fish up against underwater walls to force them to swim up.

I start with minnow or minnow heads on buckshots.

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On the northwestern shoreline there appears to be a couple extremely sharp breaklines from only a few feet of water (alongside the shoreline of course), dropping very, very quickly into 40-50 ft of water in only 20-30 yards. From there it is only a massive deep water basin out to the east.

On the eastern shoreline there is a fairly long shallow point (2 ft of water) that juts out quite a ways, then very suddenly drops off very quickly on an extremely sharp drop into 120 ft of water (the deepest hole in the lake).

There is also a mid-lake hump, 35 ft. deep, surrounded by water that is 70-80 ft. deep. This 35 ft. deep hump appears to be about 1/2 mile long.

There is another mid-lake hump, almost smack dab in the middle of the lake, that comes up to 25 ft. of water. But this hump does not appear to have the dramatic drops into deeper water that the hump to the north does.

Was thinking big buckshots, slender gold and silver spoons, large Gulp minnows on bucktail jigs, Large Jigging Raps (although I've had a lot of fish come unhooked from these) and perhaps airplane jigs? Can we use large smelt, or are they off limits? Would they work? Can I find ciscos or another adequate dead bait around Deer River, Bemidji or Grand Rapids?

Where would you start, and how would you proceed if your first pic doesn't pay out?

Thanks guys. Yea, Lunker City, the DNR net reports showed fish over 30 inches! Would love to tie into one or more of those! My personal best is a 18 lb. laker out of Northwest Ontario, but that one was in open water. Can't imagine how a 20 lb fish would fight thru the ice!!! laugh

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I would go in order of spots 2, 3, 1, 4. I pulled up the map on the DNR site. Sport #2 looks the best to me. The bait fish will swim along the shore and will be exposed to the deeper water where the trout will hang out. I would also check out the eastern shore on the south side along the sharp shoreline breaks. Not in the bay but along shore about 1/3 of the way up the lake. Don't be afraid to use smaller - walleye sized - buckshots too. I typically use fatheads on buckshots and ciscos on tipups.

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