Jigging for Lake Trout: Alternatives
Mixing Up your Jig Bag: Tackle Tips for Tough Lake Trout!
Lead-head jigs and spoons will cover almost all your jigging needs... but if the lake trout aren't biting, there are a few other things you can do.
Drop-shotting for lake trout allows your hook and soft plastic to swim naturally. This technique requires a bit of faith! Use a 3/4 - 1 oz barrel, pyramid, or other sinker to get down deep, and then let the bait swim free! To make it work correctly- and save a few broken knots- put a bead or two between the sinker and your hook. Step down the sizes if you need to. Use a high-quality 2/0-4/0 bass worm hook for your fluke or tube, and drop-shot those lake trout! Soft plastics float, so once the rig reaches bottom, let out between one and three feet of line, and jig gently.
Try tube jigs. Heavy tube jigs are hard to find, but if you can get 3/4 or 1 oz jigs, rig up some tubes! There's still lead under there, but at least the plastic covers it. This can help once the fish get picky; sometimes they aren't happy to see your jighead.
Run a little weight on the line itself- this helps keeps the jig looking natural. Best for windy days, when getting down deep and fast is an issue. I use a 15 lb main line with a 6-10 lb leader, a swivel in between. Sometimes I'll put a few split-shot on just above the swivel, or tie in a small trolling sinker as the 'swivel'. Don't use so much weight you can't feel the jig anymore.
Tie up a few jigging flies! Trollers use flies, why can't jiggers? Using beads, barrels, 50 lb PowerPro (or preference), and a short-shanked 2/0-4/0 hook, tie jigging streamers with bucktails or synthetics. Using another single hook for a stinger is also a good idea, it'll help a lot with the hooking percentage. Use the same colors- white, silver, green, pearl, chartruese, brown/purple/black, etc. The advantage here is not having to replace flukes all the time- tie a good fly and catch dozens of trout with it! (photo coming...)