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Motown's Monsters



In April the Connecting Waterways of the Detroit River attract countless anglers targeting spring run walleye.
Motown is famous for pop music, automobiles, world class hockey and mouth watering ethnic foods. This sprawling southeastern Michigan city scape is a symbol of America’s industrial infrastructure. The Detroit landscape is made up of a complex mixture of high rise office buildings, five star motels, steel mills, ethnic restaurants, sports stadiums and auto factories. Smack in the middle of this very much urban lifestyle awaits a completely different and intimately more laid back lifestyle.
            Tons of travelers visit the Detroit Metro area every year, but one of the last things you would expect jet setters to pack in their luggage is a fishing rod. Not only does this metropolitan area offer everything a city slicker could hope for, the Great Lakes Connecting Waters that flow from north to south are also home to countless fish species and angling opportunities.
            The waters of the St. Clair River, Lake St. Clair and the Detroit River are collectively known as Great Lakes Connecting Waters. Together these waters form a shipping highway that links Lakes Huron and Erie. Not only are these waters busy with super tanker and barge traffic, added to the mix are countless recreational boaters, avid fishermen and an impressive fleet of charter fishing boats.
            The Great Lakes Connecting Waters in the metro area also form the international border between Ontario Canada and Michigan.

White bass like this one are just one of the many popular species
 anglers visiting Motown can expect to catch in large numbers.
SOMETHING FISHY
            The species of fish found in these waters varies by the season. In the spring time the most abundant and sought after species include walleye, yellow perch, northern pike and steelhead. As spring eases into summer, the fishing focus changes to include a mix of warm water species such as smallmouth and largemouth bass, white bass and the mega sized muskie this region is famous for.
            Compared to more rural fishing destinations in other parts of the country, this metro area produces unmatched angling opportunities for walleye, smallmouth bass and muskie. In part this amazing fishery has developed because of some unexpected environmental changes.
            The culprit of these changes can be summed up in just two words -- zebra mussel. These tiny mollusks were accidentally introduced into the Great Lakes region and their numbers have skyrocketed in recent years. Zebra mussels filter the water, removing plankton and leaving the water exceptionally clear. Clear water allows light to penetrate and in return aquatic plant growth has expanded into areas that historically did not support plant growth. As aquatic plant growth encompasses more and more of the available habitat, sport fish like walleye, smallmouth bass and muskie have benefited from these changes.
            The species which are enjoying the most benefits are the smallmouth bass, largemouth bass and muskie, each of which thrive among weed cover. Just recently the Michigan state record for muskie was broken in Lake St. Clair and catch rates for this species have never been higher in all three bodies of water.
            Smallmouth and their cousin the largemouth bass are also experiencing population booms as a result of the expanding weed growth. The real benefactors of these unexpected changes are the masses of sport fishermen who flock to the area in search of sport fishing adventure.

There are lots of good “fishing reasons” to visit the 
Motown region, but tasty walleye like this continue to be the big draw.
FREELANCE FISHING
            The vast majority of anglers who fish in these waters are freelancers who hit the water with their own boat, motor and fishing equipment. Because these are border waters, it’s recommended that visiting anglers purchase both a Michigan and Ontario fishing license. Both the American and Canadian sides harbor great fishing opportunities and the precise locations of these borders is not always easy to identify on the water.
            Crossing into Ontario waters requires anglers to call in to the Canadian Border Services Agency using a cell phone. For more details consult the following web page, http://www.cbsa.gc.ca.
            The species most often targeted by freelance anglers include walleye and smallmouth bass. In some cases these fish can be targeted from shore, but the premier fishing spots are typically best accessed by boat.
            Walleye are most often targeted with medium action spinning tackle, armed with 8-10 pound test braided fishing line and lead head jigs ranging in size from 3/8 to 3/4 ounce. Tipping the jig with a live shiner minnow is customary, but many anglers prefer to use soft plastic minnow imitations.
            Smallmouth bass are also targeted with spinning tackle. A suitable rod and reel combination for bass fishing includes a medium to medium heavy action rod from six to seven feet in length matched to a spinning reel capable of holding 150 yards of 10-15 pound test super braid line.
            For terminal tackle, bass anglers will find that a mixture of jigs tipped with soft plastic grubs or jigs and tube baits work wonders. Spinnerbaits are also important bass lures when fishing in or around weed cover. Diving crankbaits are popular lures for targeting both smallmouth and largemouth bass in these waters.
            The water clarity in each of these fisheries is clear to slightly stained. In the case of both walleye and bass fishing, natural lure colors are strongly recommended.
CHARTER FISHING
            Fishing waters as good as these also attract scores of charter boats who cater to locals and the growing number of visiting anglers. Those anglers looking for a day or two of entertainment and fishing adventure will find an ample supply of charter fishing trips.
            Charter captains target all the popular species, but not every captain offers a mixed bag of fishing options. Charters tend to specialize in one species or type of fishing, so as to offer their customers the best possible chance of success.
            It’s important to note that some species just lend themselves better to charter fishing than freelance fishing efforts. The muskie so popular and abundant in this region is a prime example of a species that’s best targeted with the help of a local charter captain. The highly specialized fishing tactics and gear required to target muskie, strongly suggests incorporating the professional services of a charter captain. 
SUMMING IT UP
            The industrial landscape of metropolitan Detroit certainly ranks as a unorthodox setting for a world class sport fishing destination. It takes the visiting angler a little time to come to terms with the urban culture shock new comers experience on these waters. Thankfully, the culture shock is quickly replaced with memories of red hot fishing action. Who would have guessed that one of Motown’s most enduring qualities can only be experienced with a fishing rod?


The Lowdown On Countdown Cranking


Crankbaits come in every conceivable size, shape and color but the majority are designed to float at rest and dive when retrieved. Countdown or sinking crankbaits make up on a small percentage of the lures available and often the sinking versions are the best fish catchers.
By: Mark Romanack
 

            Nine out of 10 crankbaits float at rest and dive when retrieved. It’s that one crankbait out of 10 that does things a little differently that walleye fishermen have unfortunately ignored. Sinking or what are commonly called countdown lures bring a new set of standards to the crankbait party.
            Crankbaits that sink aren’t rare, but among walleye fishermen these lures are rarely used to their potential. An exception to the rule would be the legendary Rapala Countdown Minnow. This sinking stickbait has been catching walleye and earning a place in countless tackle boxes for decades. It might come as a surprise to Fishing 411 Blog readers that sinking style body baits have a deep tradition in walleye fishing and especially for targeting big walleye!
            For example, a couple of the past Ohio State Walleye Records have been held with a sinking crankbait. The also legendary Bill Lewis Rat-L-Trap was designed for bass fishing, but it also triggers savage walleye strikes. The Rat-L-Trap is especially deadly in waters that have an abundance of gizzard or other shad species on the forage menu. In the case of Lake Erie where these Ohio records were set, the Rat-L-Trap does a great job of imitating shad and turning walleye heads.
            The current Ohio State Walleye Record, a 16.19 pound giant, was caught by Tom Haberman fishing for perch using a live bait rig. Not all the big ones fall to name brand lures!
SHORTCOMINGS OF FLOATING CRANKBAITS
            Most crankbaits float at rest and dive when retrieved. Water resistance pushing against the lip causes the lure to dive. Meanwhile the buoyancy of the lure and friction from the line passing through the water is working in an opposite way to restrict diving depth.
            The fundamental design of a floating plug allows these lures to be fished effectively over the top of rocks, emerging weeds or other fish holding cover. By manipulating important variables like casting distance, line diameter and rod position an intuitive angler can effectively control the diving depth of a floating crankbait with amazing accuracy.
            Casting distance and line diameter are the two most important factors to consider. The further a plug can be casted, the deeper it will run. In general, small and lightweight crankbaits are poor choices for casting because they can only be thrown modest distances.
            Line diameter is the second factor that dictates crankbait running depth. Thin lines have less resistance in the water and allow these baits to achieve maximum depths. For walleye casting applications, six or eight pound test monofilament is a good option, but a growing number of anglers favor casting with super braids or fused lines in the 10 to 15 pound test range that represent the ultimate in thin, yet exceptionally strong fishing lines.
            Not surprisingly the relative size of the diving lip also plays a role in the depths a respective plug can achieve. Amazingly, even a crankbait with a big lip, will reach only moderate depths on an average cast. Several factors work to prevent these lures from reaching more significant depths, but lure buoyancy is one of the biggest factors to overcome.
            A floating crankbait resists diving and requires most of the total casting distance to overcome the forces of buoyancy and friction. On a typical cast, a buoyant bait doesn’t reach maximum depth until the last 1/4 of the retrieve. Ironically, just about the time the lure is reaching the target depth, it’s also nearing the end of the retrieve. As a result, floating crankbaits fish a targeted depth zone only a small percentage of the time they are in the water.
            Because the typical floating plug is at maximum depth for only a brief period of time, the efficiency of these lures comes into question. A floating crankbait is fishing an effective strike zone only about 25% of the time it’s in the water! Ouch.
            Some models of crankbaits are designed to dive at steeper angles and run at target depths for longer distances. Lures that dive at a steep angle only increase the effectiveness of a crankbait marginally. 
Most crankbaits use a diving lip to achieve depth. Countdown
 baits tend to have smaller lips and reach their depth based
 on being negatively buoyant. A few crankbaits on the market
 combine the features of being sinking models
 with the added advantage of a diving lip.
SINKING CRANKBAITS
            A sinking style crankbait has a completely different dynamic. Because the lure can be counted down to specific depths before the retrieve is started, a sinking or countdown lure can effectively be presented at a desired depth along the majority of the cast.
            The second advantage of using sinking crankbaits is they can be used to effectively fish much deeper water than is practical with a floating style lure. Thirdly, sinking lures can be fished at ultra slow speeds to increase depth, or the retrieve can be quickened to enhance the lure action.
CRANKBAIT STYLES
            Sinking crankbaits have traditionally been offered in two common styles including minnow or stickbaits and lipless versions. In the stickbait category a number of popular brands and sizes are available including the Rapala Countdown Minnow, Salmo Sinking Minnow and Yo-Zuri Emperor Minnow and SW Pins Minnow.
            In the lipless crankbait category the list of available lures is much larger. The Rapala Clackin’ Rap, Salmo Zipper, Cotton Cordell Super Spot, Bill Lewis Rat-L-Trap, XCalibur XR50 and Sebile Flats Shad just to name a few. All of these lures feature a high frequency rattle that’s designed to imitate the sound shad make. Also, because of the lipless design, these lures are great options for fishing among weed cover that would make using other plug designs challenging .
            A third and little known option in the sinking style crankbait is offered by Salmo a Poland based manufacturer. Salmo offers several of the their most popular diving lip style crankbaits in both floating and sinking versions. The popular Hornet, Perch and Bullhead are all produced in multiple sizes and both floating and sinking versions. Combining a diving lip with a sinking crankbait allows these lures to achieve greater depths than possible with floating/diving plufa or traditional countdown style lures.
            This unique category of crankbaits is kind of in a class by itself because the lure is both sinking and diving to achieve depth. Using this unique lure group opens up crankbait fishing options in both shallow and deep water.
            Cranking along deep water breaks, targeting submerged islands, working flats and cliff edges are just a few of the options using a sinking/diving crankbait brings to light. Fishing sinking/diving crankbaits can also be productive casting along defined weed edges, visible cover such as rock piles, fishing along rip rap or shore protection and other places that concentrate baitfish and attract walleye.
Not all crankbaits with diving lips are floating models. A select
 few are sinking models that also feature a diving lip. These
 baits tend to be exceptionally efficient in casting situations 
because they stay in the “strike zone” longer than traditional crankbaits.
SUMMING IT UP
            The idea of using sinking crankbaits isn’t completely foreign, but it is surprising how few walleye get the most from these lures. The next time the idea of fishing a crankbait comes to mind, ask yourself if a sinking model wouldn’t be more efficient.




        


Applying Snag Reduction Therapy to Walleye Fishing

By: Mark Romanack

         
Crankbaits like this obviously “fishy” Yakima Mag lip can be made to fish more efficiently in snags by removing the belly hook. In most instances when  crankbait snags on bottom it is the belly hook that catches. A pair of split ring pliers is all it takes to remove the treble and fish among debris that would otherwise end up resulting in costly tackle loses.
By
Mark Romanack

            Who among us hasn’t snagged a valuable lure, lost it and cussed the situation? Snagging is a fact of fishing for critters like walleye that love to hang out near bottom and around cover. In many fishing situations, if you’re not snagging you’re not doing it right.
            Snagging may be a part of the game, but an equal part is developing fishing methods that help reduce snagging. After all, every lost lure is not only money wasted, it also represents fishing opportunity and time lost.
            The people who work the hardest at developing “snag free” fishing methods are those who have the most to lose. Tournament pros and guides are a couple of prime examples of individuals who can’t afford to lose lures, time or fishing opportunities. Every fish matters to these guys and their inventive ways of fishing among heavy cover and potential snags is something every walleye angler can benefit from.
TROLLING CRANKBAITS AMONG TIMBER
            Jason Mitchell is a walleye guide from the Devils Lake region who commonly finds himself fishing flooded timber by trolling crankbaits. At Devils Lake and a number of other fisheries in the region, rising water levels during the 90’s flooded stands of timber that have since become walleye fishing hot spots. Jason targets the edges of standing timber, but to consistently catch fish requires close quarters fishing in snag ridden waters.
            “Walleye move up and down the edges of the flooded timber like wolf packs,” says Mitchell. “If you stray too far from the timber edges fishing success drops right off. The key is to stick as tight to the timber edge and bottom as possible and that means putting your crankbaits in harms way.”
            Mitchell uses a couple of unique methods to keep his crankbaits near bottom, tight to the timber edges and as snag free as possible. To start with Mitchell favors small shad style crankbaits.
            “Shad baits run with a defined nose down orientation in the water,” says Mitchell. This means that the bill takes most of the abuse when the lure comes in contact with the bottom or wood and also helps to deflect snags.”
            Secondly, Mitchell removes the treble hooks on his lures and replaces the back hook with one that’s two sizes larger. “Using just one hook on the back of a crankbait does a great job of reducing snags,” adds Mitchell. “Because these lures have small factory supplied hooks, I opt to upgrade to a larger thin wire round bend style hook on the back of the bait.”
            Mitchell goes a step further. He rigs up with an unique three way swivel system. His main line is a 20# test fused line with a three-way swivel attached to a six foot leader of 15 pound test fluorocarbon tied to a small snap. A 2-3 inch dropper is added to the three-way swivel with a pencil style weight. Depending on the depth a two or three ounce weight is needed to keep contact with bottom.
            This weight forward style trolling system accomplishes a lot of things. The weight allows a smaller than normal crankbait to be used in fairly deep water. The weight itself also rebounds off brush and wood in the water deflecting the presentation, triggering strikes and significantly reducing snags. The single treble hook helps to reduce snags as well and the 20 pound test super line enables snagged lures to be recovered in most instances. A slick system for trolling among timber, Mitchell says that mid summer to early fall is the best time to apply this unorthodox weighted crankbait presentation.
When fishing spinners in snag ridden areas it often helps to rig them on a three-way swivel set up instead of the traditional bottom bouncer. The three-way can be rigged with a lighter dropper line that allows the weight to be broken off if it snags without losing the spinner itself.
SPINNERS IN THE TIMBER
            Bill Ortiz is one of the most successful anglers on the walleye tournament trail and a large part of his success is attributed to his ability to adapt quickly to changing conditions.
            A few years ago while fishing a tournament on Bull Shoals Ortiz was catching fish on crankbaits during practice. “The weather report was for a stiff cold front and I knew the crankbait bite would die,” recalls Ortiz. “On the first day of the tournament I switched to trolling spinners on three way rigs and was able to pull fish out of the flooded timber with amazingly few snags.”
            Ortiz modified his spinner set up to fish in timber by switching to a single No. 1 hook. “I tied up some 48 inch spinner rigs using 10# test monofilament line,” explains Ortiz. “Next I used an eight pound test dropper about two foot long connected to a three ounce sinker. The lighter dropper line allowed me to break off the weight if it hung up in the trees.”
            On the main line Ortiz fished 12# test using a 12 foot soft action dead rod positioned in a rod holder. He also fished using a second rod held in his hand with a similar rig, except that the rod was seven feet long and the weight used was two ounces.
            “The long and soft action dead rod proved to be the most important part of the presentation,” adds Ortiz. “When the sinker made contact with branches, the rod would slowly load up until the pressure eventually popped the weight and trailing spinner over the branch. A lot of the strikes came immediately after the weight and spinner popped loose and started free falling in the branches.”
            Ortiz added, “It took me a while to learn that you were better off not to jerk on the rod when the sinker would catch a branch.”  “Most times if you pulled on the rod, both the weight and spinner would snag. When I left the rod in the rod holder or just held onto the rod as it started loading up, about 90% of the time the weight popped free on its own and the trailing spinner didn’t snag.” 
            Ortiz went on to win the tournament using this unusual but effective means of fishing spinners in wood.
MANAGING BAITS IN WEEDS
            Aquatic weeds attract walleye, but they can also make for a frustrating experience when it comes to keeping lures working correctly and  debris free.
            “Lots of times when I’m fishing weeds it’s impossible to avoid snagging,” says walleye pro Keith Kavajecz. “For me fishing weeds isn’t so much about avoiding snags, but rather monitoring my presentation and working extra hard to insure my baits are fishing clean as much as possible.”
            For example, Kavajecz suggests using a no stretch fused fishing line  when trolling crankbaits over the tops of weeds or along weed edges. “A no stretch line causes the rod tip to vibrate violently when the crankbait is working,” says Kavajecz. “The second a weed catches on the lure, the lure’s action is tempered and the rod tip telegraphs this by not vibrating as violently. By fishing without boards and watching the rod tips closely, I can tell the instant a lure is fouled.”
            To compensate for not using boards to spread out lines, Kavajecz suggests using longer than normal trolling rods.
            Another option is to fish with boards equipped with after market flag kits. The Off Shore Tackle Tattle Flag kit is a spring loaded flag that is designed to fold down when a fish strikes. This same spring loaded flag mechanism can tip off an angler when weeds or other debris fouls a trailing crankbait, spinner or other lure.
            “Often the Tattle Flag doesn’t fold completely down when the lure is fouled with a small chunk of weed, but rather just tips over an inch or two,” warns Kavajecz. “Set the spring tension on the Tattle Flag to the lightest possible setting and monitor the board closely for signs a lure is fouled.”
            Another trick Kavajecz suggests for keeping weeds away from lures is to place a Speed Bead on the line about four feet ahead of a crankbait. “The Speed Bead simply threads onto the line and is about the size of a cold capsule,” describes Kavajecz. “Once installed, pieces of weeds that would slide down the line and eventually foul the lure are stopped by the bead.”
            Kavajecz had one more piece of advice. “Tread lightly in regards to modifying your lures to make them weedless,” warns Kavajecz. “In most cases weedless hooks and weed guards designed to keep hooks clean make it more difficult to actually hook walleye. It’s best to fish traditional lures and rigs and simply work harder at monitoring them.”
SUMMING IT UP
            It might be impossible to avoid snagging completely, but thankfully there are some inventive ways to keep annoying hang ups to a minimum. Avoiding snag-ridden areas isn’t the answer to catching more walleye. The answer is to work a little harder, fish a little smarter and cuss a lot less.

Brown Town



 By Mark Romanack

Jake Romanack of Fishing 411 records an interview with trout and salmon fishing legend Buzz Ramsey. Buzz designed the Mag Lip crankbaits that have become so popular coast to coast among trout and salmon fishermen.


            In an era when trout fishing success on Lake Michigan and other Great Lakes waters is in question, one port stands out as a “sure thing”. As the water of Lake Michigan gets cleaner and cleaner, this fishery is supporting less bait fish and unfortunately fewer game fish.
THE BLAME
            The blame falls on a couple of evasive species known as the zebra and quagga mussels which filter plankton from the water. Collectively billions upon billions of these mussels are filtering the water of Lake Michigan to the point they can barely support a sport fishery.
            Clear water simply doesn’t support the necessary plankton and huge amounts of bait fish it takes to support a thriving salmon and trout fishery. That’s the bad news and anglers up and down the Lake Michigan shoreline are singing the blues when it comes to targeting the salmon that made this lake famous.
            Salmon feed almost exclusively on alewives, smelt, ciscoes and gizzard shad, four species of bait fish that depend almost exclusively on zooplankton in the water. The clearer Lake Michigan becomes, the less zooplankton and bait fish these waters support.
SOME GOOD NEWS
            Plenty of bad news is flooding the media when it comes to Lake Michigan fishing, but fortunately not all the news is bad. Salmon stocking efforts are on a decline, but another popular salmonid species the brown trout is thriving in select parts of Lake Michigan.
            One port in particular has rapidly become known as the brown trout capital of Lake Michigan. Milwaukee, Wisconsin and the surrounding waters are near perfect when it comes to producing world class brown trout fishing. A protected harbor in Milwaukee allows anglers to access amazing brown trout fishing even on windy days.
            Nearby, power plants at Oak Creek and Racine, Wisconsin create warm water discharge sites that attract brown trout and other species in the winter and early spring.
            Unlike salmon, brown trout are more adaptive in their feeding habits. Browns have adapted to feeding on an abundant food source that ironically is also an evasive species. The round goby is a small bottom loving fish that thrives in Great Lakes waters by feeding on algae that forms on rocks and the eggs of other fish species.
            Some biologists estimate that the number of round gobies currently in Lake Michigan is far greater than the historic biomass of alewives! That’s a strong statement, but it paints a picture that while salmon numbers are declining, brown trout are a species that can thrive in Lake Michigan by targeting the round goby.
            Because the goby is a bottom dweller, the best brown trout fishing is also found in close proximity to bottom. The round goby avoids predators like brown trout by scurrying around between rocks and boulders on the bottom. Browns actually use their nose to root out gobies.

The average brown trout taken in Milwaukee 
Harbor weighs in at about five pounds. 
Fish up to 20 pounds are taken every year!

BODY BAITS RULE
            Not surprisingly the best baits for catching these browns are diving body baits that do a good job of imitating the round goby. The Yakima Mag Lip, U-20 Flat Fish and Jointed Flat Fish are exactly the types of baits that can be used to dive down to bottom and wiggle their way to brown trout success.
            All of these baits are high action models that do a great job of imitating round gobies. Fishing these baits in proximity to bottom is important and can be achieved a number of ways.
            The Mag Lip is a deep diving crankbait and in many cases this bait can be fished deep enough to make contact with the bottom, simply by trolling the bait on 10 to 12 pound test monofilament. The Precision Trolling Data app confirms that the maximum diving depth of the 3.0 Mag Lip is 17 feet, the 3.5 reaches 22 feet and the 4.5 dives to 28 feet.
            Each of these baits can also be fished deeper by simply adding a one ounce snap weight on the line. Precision Trolling Data confirmed some years ago that adding a one ounce snap weight while trolling increasing the diving depth of popular crankbaits by about 1/3. In other words, a bait that is diving 15 feet will dive 20 feet deep when a one ounce snap weight is added.
            A third option is to fish these crankbaits using a three way swivel rig. The main line is tied to one arm of the three way swivel, a short dropper and lead sinker is added to the second arm and on the third arm a 60 to 72 inch fluorocarbon leader connects to the crankbaits.
            A two ounce sinker makes it possible to fish even the smaller sizes of the Mag Lip and Flat Fish on bottom in water up to about 40 feet deep! Normally these three way set ups are fished as flat lines on the corners of the boat.
MAG LIP TRICKS

While filming an episode of Fishing 411 
Buzz Ramsey caught this beautiful brown
 trout trolling a 4.5 Mag Lip on an Off Shore
 board. Bright colors like this “payday” often
 work best as the water in Milwaukee 
Harbor is stained to dirty.

            One of the ways to get more action out of Mag Lip and other high action crankbaits is to tie on a round nose snap to the terminal end of the fishing line and attach that snap to the round nose snap that comes standard on Mag Lip. Attaching a “snap to a snap” opens up the action of the Mag Lip and allows it to enjoy a “skip beat” action. This skip beat action mimics a fleeing bait fish and triggers strikes when other lures don’t.
            Mag Lip baits are also tailor made for fishing in combination with in-line planer boards like the famous Off Shore Tackle OR12 Side-Planer. Using planer boards anglers can fish two or three lures per side of the boat, covering more water and water depths in the process.
            When fishing diving crankbaits on planer boards it’s a good idea to set up the trolling pattern so the baits on the outside boards are fishing higher in the water column and the board closest to the boat is fishing deeper. This is easy to achieve by simply running shorter trolling leads on the outside lines and longer leads on the inside boards. This can also be achieved by running smaller and shallower diving baits on the outside lines and larger/deeper diving baits on the inside.
THE FISHING 411 RIG
            When the Fishing 411 crew travels to Milwaukee to target browns we normally run a six rod spread including two planer board lines on each side of the boat and a three way rig off each corner of the boat. “On the board lines we run the 3.5 Mag Lip on the outside line and a 4.5 Mag Lip on the inside board,” says Jake Romanack. “Off each corner of the boat we run a smaller 3.0 Mag Lip on a three way swivel rig and use enough weight to keep this bait ticking the bottom.”
            “The goal is to saturate the water column with lures,” adds Romanack. “Normally the baits closest to the bottom catch the majority of our brown trout, but the water is so clear here that even baits fished up in the water column frequently produce fish.”
TROLLING SPEEDS
            Slow to moderate trolling speeds (1.5 to 2.0 MPH) produce the best action on brown trout. Unlike spoons and other traditional trout trolling lures, body baits have great action at all common trolling speeds.
IF YOU GO
            Anglers who want to experience brown trout fishing in the Milwaukee area will find that late March and the entire month of April are red hot. In early May browns are still available and anglers can expect a mixed bag of coho salmon.

            A local fishing tackle shop called the Fishin’ Hole always has a good assortment of lures and trolling gear. Located on Layton Avenue in Milwaukee, the owner Roger is an avid angler and big fan of the “Brown Town” fishery available in Milwaukee.