Throughout the Rocky Mountain region, October brings thoughts of spawning lake trout. However, Colorado guide, Bernie Keefe actually prefers to direct the conversation elsewhere.
“During this season, we do ask people to harass the smaller (egg eating) fish and leave the larger spawning fish alone,” he said.
So, how does one determine which fish will bite? Well, technically, such prognostication defies an angler’s ability. But Keefe said a basic understanding of what’s going on below the boat will help you plan the presentations.
“Lake trout spawn on softball (and larger) size rocks and steep drop offs like dam faces,” he said. “These areas hold great numbers of fish in 15 to 60 feet, depending on the body of water.
“The larger fish are very tough to catch anyway, so I target the smaller fish around the beds by using small jigs.”
Armed with 6-foot, 6-inch medium-heavy Fenwick HMX rods and Pflueger 2500 President reels spooled with 14-pound Berkley Fireline, Keefe adds about 18 inches of 10-pound fluorocarbon leader, and ties on 3/8- to ¾-ounce lead head jigs with 2- to 3-inch Berkley Power Bait Twisters, or 5-inch Berkley Jerk shads.
To sweeten the deal, he’ll tip smaller jigs with a piece of sucker meat.
As for ideal conditions, Keefe said that lake trout favor calm, cloudy weather. A little snowfall doesn’t hurt either, he said.
Keefe’s top tips for October lakers: “Do not overwork your jigs. Lake trout hit very lightly and fast. Set the hook hard and immediately and keep the line tight.
“If you miss a fish, drop the jig back down ASAP. They might bite it again.”
And after the spawn—you can take a crack at those big ones again.