Lakers at the Rock

Forty miles from nowhere for Superior lake trout.
Outdoor Life Online Editor

There might not be any more secret fishing holes, but there are still a few that are so remote they seem unchanged by time. One such place is Stannard Rock, an upswelling in Lake Superior more than 40 miles from the nearest port.

Marked by a lighthouse, Stannard Rock is about a two-hour trip by charter boat (less in a high-powered bass or walleye boat) out of Marquette or Big Bay in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. It’s big water with no place to hide; attention to marine weather forecasts is mandatory.

Although trolling is the main technique for chasing lake trout in the Great Lakes, jigging is the preferred approach at Stannard Rock. Fish can be found from the tops of the underwater rocks in, say, 20 feet of water, to their bases in more than 100 feet. Stiff rods with low-stretch line are standard tackle. One-ounce or heavier jigs are usually tipped with cut bait.

Anglers generally drift with the wind, keeping contact with the bottom, working over and around the often house-sized boulders. Level-wind reels are preferred, as anglers can use their thumbs to adjust depth rather than messing with the bail on spinning reels.

Lakers weighing in double digits are common, 20-pound-plus fish are by no means rare and there’s always a chance of hooking a certifiable giant.