FALL LAKE TROUT (Burns Ditch, Indiana)


Fishing this year out of Burns Ditch , Portage Indiana has been terrible! Although nothing has been normal this year, there still might be some hope for  some hardy anglers who remain active late into the fall! They might 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.

Latest Report:

Post Posted: 11:00pm – Dec 13,14

Last day this year on the water. Wind was blowing pretty good out of the west across the 35 degree water so it was a bit cold but not too bad. Lakers were cooperating. Lakers were 7-12lbs and we ended up with 17 and a Steely. Everything Spoons and J9’s hit on Lead and riggers. We started catching fish at 2.5mph so I stayed there for a while but all hits were on lead and wanted to get riggers and dipseys to fire. I bumped it up after a while to 3.2 and the riggers started firing right away and the lead slowed down a bit but still was taking hits so we stuck with the faster speed. Dipseys had 1 drive by and that was it. The j9’s look crazy in the water at 3.2 but they kept catching fish.

Fish came from 45fow to 95fow. We made it out to about 110 looking for silver but didn’t work out so we headed back west. Tim was puking all day from what he thinks is food poisoning and once another guy started to puke we started pulling lines. With 4 lines in all of a sudden the sun poked threw we get a double and score a 10lb steely and lost the other fish that had also jumped and looked like another steely. That ended our day.

This is the end of the year for me. Going to wrap up the boat and put it away until early February when I have a trip slated to go to Venice, LA for some TUNA. Lake was good to me this year but I burned quite a bit of fuel to get to the fish. I did have 3 trips that were bad one of which was a skunk but the rest of the trips really were great targeting steelys most of the year but did have a great few weeks in the spring in Waukegan on kings.

Posted: 06:09pm – Nov 23,14
With the forecast was for warmer temps, Fog, Rain, cold water and maybe sleet it was time to get back on the fish. Fished from 7:30 to 1:00 and head steady action all day. We were not really counting but best guess is 9 for 15?. All lakers and a brown. Everything landed by hand and went back in the drink. Brown came in like 80fow. We caught fish in 45-85fow. Water temp outside harbor was 38 and out in 85 was 42.5. Water cleaned up a bit around 40fow and out in 85 was pretty clear. All fish came in top 30 and there was no pattern as far as bait goes but we only caught fish either in the trough or going with the waves. Caught fish from 1.8mph to 3.5mph. Waves were like 2-4’s. Got off the water just as the rain started. I hope this isn’t the last trip of the year but a guy in the harbor said yesterday morning diversey had skim ice in the harbor so maybe a few more weeks.

A few Notable Tips for Catching Lake Trout in November and December!

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

Even though Lake Trout 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!

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!


Category: Salmon & Trout

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