How To Catch A Mackinaw Or Lake Trout
There are many different ways to catch those big Lakers ranging from toplining the regular trout gear and a worm or minnow to downrigging the deep water with a dodger or J plug to longlining a Rapala or AC plug to Jigging the depths with a Gibbs minnow or torpedo or even a minnow. We have caught macs using every technique we know and have a great time no matter which method we use.
NOTE-Minnows are only allowed to be used in the lakes in the tahoe basin. You may only use the minnows caught from the lake you are fishing and may not transport them to other lakes. Read your local Regulations before using any live bait.
Late fall to late spring the action seems to be on top. Toplining a Rapala f-18 or an AC plug will produce fish this time of year but later in the season you will need to get down deep for the fish.
Early summer to fall the Macs are down deep feeding on tiny freshwater shrimp. They will take your bait if presented in front of them. Watch your sonar for fish right on the bottom and slow troll through them. The fish will be stacked up in areas where there are drop offs and ledges. I like to use a large dodger with a 14-18 inch leader with a size 4 stealhead/salmon hook and a small minnow. Your bait does not need to be alive. You can use scent and the action of the dodger will make the minnow move around even if it's dead. Anything from swimbaits to J-plugs can also be affective on the wire. If you dont have downriggers you can set up a 3 way swivel with a short dropper line to an 8 or 10 oz. lead ball to reach the depths.
Lunker Hunter Staff