Lake-Link Home

Spring Time "Boards and Brown Trout" Action!

By Captain Marty Papke - April 1, 2003
Sunny skies greeted us this morning and calm seas were being watched as the last of the coffee was dispersed to
"Bordering the Wisconsin and Michigan waters is a tremendous fishery; in fact it's been said this region could be one of the most aggressive Brown Trout fisheries in the state."
our anxious group. Springtime sounds were all around, Blackbirds, some geese in the tiny marsh said good morning and we all stepped into the boat awaiting an exciting day on the water.

Lake Michigan hosts a tremendous population of fish species all up and down the coast line from Chicago all the way to our home water's of Little Bay de Noc in the Upper Peninsula. Springtime starts a whole process with lots of our fish species starting their journey into spawning areas. One exciting not to mentioning a great eating fish is the Brown Trout, the areas we'll talk about fishing today is the Marinette/Menominee region.

Bordering the Wisconsin and Michigan waters is a tremendous fishery; in fact it's been said this region could be one of the most aggressive Brown Trout fisheries in the state.

Let's examine several fishing methods and the how-too's of catching these springtime fish! Let's get back into the boat and begin our day on the water!

This "bite" starts in early April and continues right through into early June, but the best bite is usually beginning in April with good catches of fish pretty much on a daily basis. Locating these fish and generally we are fishing shallow waters areas, waters 25 feet and shallower should be first concentrated on. Hot spots and areas like the Menekaunee Shoal, following the contours to the south that covers areas through the Trout Bar and the Peshtigo Reef. The current that pull and push these areas always seem to have good concentrations of baitfish (spottail shiners, alewife and smelt are major food sources while small shad, suckers, crayfish as well as young of the year food fish) and with lot's of food comes active fish!

It can't be stressed enough to fishing shallow enough during these early April days. Many of these fish literally are cruising the shallows and on quiet days can be seen as they work "pods" of forage.

Prevailing winds and through years of monitoring and putting daily fishing logs together spring can deliver some tough winds. Best winds and I've seen south winds along with westerly winds bringing in the most active bites with bait fish being pushed to the shallow water areas. It's always to remember watching the weather means the difference between a good day and tough day on the water.

The "meat" of this trip and the tackle choices for todays fishing trip. Here's what's going on! A method of fishing these fish that gets great results is using in-line planer boards. Off Shore's In Line boards both the straight board and the "new" Tattle Flag board do a great job. Foremost probably one of the neatest features of these boards are their ease of use, secondly they really work!

A standard set-up and running our medium action bass and walleye tackle does the job just fine. The Abu Garcia C-3 and C-4's combining an in-line planer board rod like the Gary Roach model and some of the smallest fish can feel like the biggest in the bay. That's the goal having fun catching fish. For great hook-ups two line choices we have been using, both Fire Line in the 10/4 and also XL mono in 10 pound test.

Keeping it simple makes for easy fishing techniques and using just a small snap and crankbait and your ready for the application.

It's also important in choosing the right crankbaits to working the water depths we will run over. For those of you new at trolling check out the "Precision Trolling" manual for a great way of matching the right baits with the right depths.

The pattern is easy to understand with many of these Brown Trout being in shallow waters at this time we have been running a medium diving bait like the Frenzy Diver and a bait we'll be using lot's this spring season is the Berkley Minnow. Color options and sticking with patterns like shad, shiners and perch colors catch the most bites. Spoons also are good choices, Northlands new Forage Minnow with its "Holographic" 3D Baitfish Image is another bait that's going to take some big fish this year and all species. Variations should always be used to get the most effective pattern while on the water. Always making sure the hooks are razor sharp ensures great hook-ups.

Trolling speed and generally speeds between 1 to 1 and 1/2 mph. is the best always watching the action of your baits flutter and wobble to trigger strikes. The formula is easy, 50 to 75 feet of line behind the Off Shore board and spreading out lines to both sides of the boat gives optimum presentation to the most fish. he lightness of both the crankbaits and spoons and strikes are usually very noticeable and that steady pull back means "fish-on!"

When it comes to fast, fun, spring fishing action you should check out the "gold-coast" or should we say the "Brown Trout Coast" and don't forget the other great fishing in spring along here. Yes, indeed walleye, smallmouth bass and northern pike awaits the anxious angler this spring. If your interested in trout action let's go fishing and don't forget to ask us about the "superb" walleye fishing not to mentioning the big northern pike and smallies swimming in the "big-pond" we call Lake Michigan!

Author Captain Marty Papke

Captain Marty Papke
Captain Marty Papke is the owner of Little Bay De Noc Fishing Charters. Captain Papke wears many hats as a full-time fishing educator, communicator and guide. Marty authors dozens of articles annually for fishing publications, and is frequently used as a source of information by other outdoor writers. You can get a hold of Marty at 1-800-708-2347 or email him at [email protected]. You can also get more information about his guide service by visiting
Advertise here
Brand new for 2021, these technique-specific bass rods now feature advanced SCIII+ carbon blank and St. Croix's proprietary IPC®, FRS, TET technology for stunning performance at an unbelievable value. PRODUCT SPOTLIGHT: ST. CROIX RODS - Victory Spinning Rods
New CUSTOM Colors! The perfect choice when you want a lure that runs straight and true, even when running fast and deep. PRODUCT SPOTLIGHT: RAPALA - Down Deep Husky Jerk - NEW Custom Colors
Advertise here
Please take a moment to visit our sponsors. Without them we would not be here.