A metal dodger pulling a No 2 Yakima Spin-N-Glo spinning in front of a tinsel fly has been a long-time, dependable laker catcher.
It has been used to take Lake Michigan lakers from “The Hills” off Racine, Wisconsin for many years, and is now becoming a standard tool across the region for charter captains who want to put some lake trout in the box.
As my friend Mark Davis, a transplanted Hoosier living in South Carolina and producing the Big Water Adventures TV show, “A laker would eat himself if he could grab hold of his own tail.”
This was when we fished the Niagara Bar last year out of Lewiston, New York, and hammered lakers.
We used a 1-ounce three-way rig and big Kwikfish banana baits, letting the wind push us just fast enough for the lures to wobble.
The point is, lakers will eat a Spin-N-Glo/fly, whether you use the ones made by ITO or Big Weenie or cobble it together yourself or just use the Spin-N-Glo without a fly.
They’ll eat it, that is, as long as you put it in their face and that means on the bottom.
When I fished with the team aboard the Dog House boat out of Racine, Wisconsin several years ago, their observer in the popular but now defunct Bob Euchre Tournament, the local gang went and got the allowed number of lake trout first, using dodger/Spin-N-Glo/fly presentation to perfection.
Crew members were assigned to hover over specific downriggers, making sure the ball occasionally bumped bottom but didn’t drag It was tricky going on the rock-covered “Hills” that are renowned for producing big trout—and grabbing downrigger balls.
Another crew member watched two wire rods with 20-ounce lead balls, making sure the big weights ticked bottom. The “Dog House” had their trout in short order.
Laker (Lake Trout) Tube
Long ago, then-Great Lakes Angler Field Editor Chip Porter experimented with tubes in place of flies and found that on some days, a properly rigged bass tube could out-fish a tinsel fly.
The theory was that the bigger, denser presentation was displacing more water and “feeling” more like a baitfish to salmon and trout. We further experimented with putting a tube underneath a tinsel fly and that extra-bulky fly presentation had days when it outperformed a standard tinsel fly.
Capt. Porter recommended using a coffee stirrer instead of beads to route the leader through the tube, with the hook on the end.
We haven’t found a better way to rig them yet.
We use the same concept to make a Spin-N-Glo/tube variation that works well for lake trout and will catch the occasional salmon and brown trout, too. The bulkier bait works more slowly behind a dodger, which seems to appeal to big ol’ lakers.
Plus, the tube becomes a receptacle to hold scent, which can help seal the deal with a lake trout. The Herring Gel from Pro Cure is a proven favorite.
We also like to add a touch of super glue where the stir-straw comes out at the nose. Salty tubes, such as the offerings of Kruncher, work great.
Chartreuse, white and pink are all good laker colors for tubes. If you are in a place known for goby infestations, try a brown tube and more subtle color of Spin-N-Glo.
This is where you can sometimes encounter a brown trout, too.
Whereas standard flies and Spin-N-Glos generally work best 30 to 36 inches behind a dodger, the tubes with Spin-N-Glos seem to achieve optimal action when run closer—the same length as many guys run plain flies.
That’s three wraps around the dodger or 24 inches to the nose of the No. 2 Spin-N-Glo.
If the action is slow, try running the Spin-N-Glo tube without a dodger.
Sometimes this subtle presentation can save the day!