Jigging for Lake Trout- Technique
Sometimes technique doesn't matter much. Lake trout are smashing jigs, hitting everything you drop down, and it's no trouble putting a dozen or more fish in the boat in a few hours! Unfortunately this isn't usually the case and a little more attention is in order. These pages are intended as a general guide to basic technique- there are just as many styles of jigging as there are lures in the tackle shop and with experimentation you'll find your own jigging pace, tactics and style that will put plenty of meals on the grill or in the smoker. I've found these techniques to be pretty deadly in the Finger Lakes, though, and will almost always produce a few fish... and sometimes a LOT of fish!
The most important thing is confidence. Without a doubt, going out there knowing you will be able to jig up some lake trout will automatically double your catch rate. Seeing an empty screen on the fishfinder is disappointing, but don't give up. In most instances there are a few fish around, and they may be hungry. If you can't find bait anywhere in the area, lake trout that are around probably can't find it either, and your lure will get their attention. Lakers often lie right on the bottom and will not be noticable without premium electronics. The only way to be sure if there are fish around is to drop a jig overboard and bounce it around on the bottom. If there are interested fish, you will see them start to come off the bottom. Sometimes they won't show themselves until your start retreiving your jig; these fish will be very difficult to catch. Of course a fishfinder screen full of bait and hooks is much better... but don't rely on electronics alone, and be confident. If there are fish around you should be able to trick at least a few of them into striking!