SPAWNING LAKERS (Burns Ditch, Portage Indiana)

Lake Trout display a spawning pattern close to the Port of Indiana, with a run of Lake Trout that develops along the shoreline between mid-October and mid-november…..

ATTN: Great Lakes fisherman! If the picture on the left don’t get your attention, nothing will!

 The few hardy anglers who remain active late into the fall can get in on some great lake trout fishing when the fish desert their offshore haunts and move close to shore to spawn. November usually provides the top fishing action. The best two spots in Indiana are the submerged reef just north of the Port of Indiana at Portage and the shallow water off the beach at East Chicago. Spawning trout don’t go on a hunger strike as salmon often do. When the trout are in, expect multiple hookups on fish up to 20 pounds. Lead lines with  hot colored great lakes trolling flies are a must this time of year.

A Few Notable Tips for Catching Lake Trout

  1. Always check the water temperature. Lakers prefer 43-56 degree water and will generally be somewhere within that range.
  2. Lakers are lazy fish, so troll slowly. When marking fish, change trolling speed and direction often , as it triggers strikes.
  3. Never assume Lakers are not there. Many graphs can’t single them out when they are at the bottom.
  4. Experiment continually with lure and attractor combinations.  Always believe the trout will hit as soon as the right depth and speed are presented.
  5. Spring and Fall are prime times to troll spoons and plugs on long lines (75 to 100 feet) without attractors.
  6. Days with a good amount of wave action are better, as the boat imparts more action on the lures.

Even though lakers are the easiest of all the Great Lakes sport fish to catch, they don’t just jump in your boat! Experimentation is the key with lakers, as well as all other salmon and trout.

Here is what a well known fishing guide had to say about fishing for Lakers on the reef  at Burns Ditch in November.

” Yup!….. Catching Lakers on the reef gets expensive FAST.. You WILL lose a TON of gear if you are fishing right.”

“The key is to stay up on top of the reef and troll down close to 1.5 mph. Run a  smoke and fire dot dodger with a Spin N  Glo, in yellow and white to start Try to run everything right off the the top of the reef. You will be bumping bottom,  which is why you lose so much gear. Run dipsys out 20-30 feet, riggers down around 15 feet and  three colors of  core off planer boards close to the boat. Pull up  lines often and check for nicks in the line  to help save you some $$$. Run some lures out on boards out to the sides of the reef for bonus fish like Steelhead and Browns. Watch your gear!  I heard of a guy that hit the reef with his four downriggers  and it ripped off  his trolling board,  taking with it a ton of rods and all four riggers.”

Troller and jiggers –Please be considerate of each other. It is a big lake out there.  Watch for trolling patterns, markers, etc. Sit and watch a boat-if they are trolling or if you see a marker-to see if there is a boat that is trolling before you pull in on an area.  Don’t sit down in someone’s trolling pattern.  Likewise if someone is jigging, don’t troll too close. Anchor lines can be out there a long ways.  Don’t drag your lines through an area where there are  anglers in boats that are jigging.  You are going to catch lines.  Some anglers like to sit and cast out.  If you pull in beside other boats you could be pulling in where they are casting.   Ask if they are casting, where their anchor lines are, etc.

It’s a good idea hire a guide  for at least one trip before you venture out on your own. It’s well worth the money just in tackle savings alone…..Good Luck!

This news article appeared in The Chicago Tribune on  November 29th  of 2010…..

December fishing on Lake Michigan

By Don Dziedzina and On the outdoors | November 29, 2010
Lake trout fishing in Lake Michigan is at its best in December. A good place to put in is at Burns Ditch (the Burns Waterway) in northern Indiana. The artificial reef that parallels the Port of Indiana’s northern break wall is a real hot spot for lakers. The port is about a mile to the northeast from the mouth of the ditch. At this time of the year, the trout will move to the reef to feed on bait. When it gets colder, they move off into the port because of the warm-water discharges.

Here is what a well known fishing guide had to say about fishing for Lakers on the reef at Portage, Indiana in November:

” Yup!….. Catching Lakers on the reef gets expensive FAST.. You WILL lose a TON of gear if you are fishing right.”

“The key is to stay up on top of the reef and troll down close to 1.5 mph. Run a  smoke and fire dot dodger with a Spin N  Glo, in yellow and white to start.  Try to run everything right off the the top of the reef. You will be bumping bottom,  which is why you lose so much gear. Run dipsys out 20-30 feet, riggers down around 15 feet and  three colors of  core off planer boards close to the boat.

Pull up  lines often and check for nicks in the line  to help save you some $$$. Run some lures out on boards out to the sides of the reef for bonus fish like Steelheads and Browns. Watch your gear!  I heard of a guy that hit the reef with his four downriggers  and it ripped off  his trolling board,  taking with it a ton of rods and all four riggers.”…..Remember! If people concentrated on the really important things in life, there’d be a shortage of fishing poles!

Thanks for Looking…..Good Luck!

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