Jigging for Lake Trout: Tackle
Light tackle is most often used to jig for lake trout. Equipment is relatively cheap and you should be able to purchase a rod and reel from 100 dollars and up. A spinning combo will be a little cheaper than a baitcasting combo. Both have their advantages but overall a baitcaster may be best, though both will catch plenty of fish. A little length in a rod is nice, around seven feet, to help set the hook in deeper water. A good backbone will support the weight of heavy jigs and enable you to feel what's happening below. Add a boat or other means of floatation and you're good to go!
Jigging for lake trout suits folks who like a hands-on fishing technique or don't have a lot of cash to invest in modern deepwater trolling equipment. Water fleas are not a problem, and in this era, saving a few bucks on gas is well worth it. Jigging for lakers with light tackle can be cheaper and more fun while still being productive.
Lake trout are big, lazy, eating machines. The biggest and fattest ones don't like to move much for food- that's why they are bigger and fatter! Imitating a injured or dying baitfish by working a jig in front of them will often get big fish to bite. A benefit here is your boat is usually fairly still, while during trolling you are effectively trying to reel fish in from downriver. If you've hooked a big one it takes longer to land them and there is a greater chance the lunkers will throw the hook. I used to think jigging hooked bigger fish but now I believe that the landing percentage is much higher when jigging, a big laker will hit a slow-trolled lure just fine but they are more likely to get off during the fight.
So to catch the biggest, baddest lake trout out there, all you need is a way to get over the fish, a 7' relatively stiff rod, and a reel with a decent drag and 100 yards of line... sound good? Read on!