Jigging for Lake Trout: Proven Tactics for Trophy Fish

Nestled amidst the tranquil beauty of crystal-clear lakes and surrounded by the awe-inspiring grandeur of pristine wilderness, the pursuit of lake trout is a passion that beckons anglers from far and wide. 

These remarkable fish, renowned for their size, strength, and elusive nature, have captured the hearts of anglers for generations. 

Yet, to truly master the art of lake trout fishing, one must delve into a technique that combines finesse and strategy: jigging. 

Welcome to the world of “Jigging For Lake Trout,” where we embark on a journey into the depths of cold, clear waters in pursuit of one of freshwater fishing’s most cherished trophies. 

So, cast your expectations aside, ready your gear, and explore the exhilarating world of lake trout jigging.

With their striking colors and impressive size, lake trout is a sought-after catch among freshwater anglers

A thrilling and effective way to reel in trophy lake trout is to jig for them, whether you’re an experienced angler or just starting.

This article will delve into the world of jigging for lake trout, exploring the best techniques, gear, and strategies to improve your chances of landing that trophy catch.

Jigging for Lake Trout

Understanding Lake Trout

Before we dive into the intricacies of jigging, it’s essential to understand the quarry.

 Lake trout are known for their love of cold water, making them typically found in deep, clear, and cool lakes.

 They have a penchant for colder temperatures, meaning they tend to reside at greater depths even during the hottest summer months.

Jigging Equipment

Rods and Reels: Your choice of rod and reel is critical for lake trout jigging. Opt for a medium to medium-heavy spinning or baitcasting rod 6 to 7 feet long. 

Pair it with a smooth drag system reel with enough lines for deep-water fishing.

Line: Use a braided line for jigging. Braided lines are sensitive, have minimal stretch, and can transmit even the subtlest bites from lake trout. A 10-20 lb test line is generally sufficient.

Jigs: Choose jigs that imitate the lake trout’s primary prey, such as minnows or small fish. 

Jigs in the 1/4 to 3/4 ounce range work well for most situations. Experiment with different colors and shapes to find what the trout are biting on that day.

Jigging Techniques

Locate the Fish: Lake trout are known for their nomadic tendencies, so finding them can be challenging. 

Invest in a good fish finder to identify the depth they hold. Look for underwater structures like drop-offs, rock piles, or humps, as these are often prime locations for lake trout.

Vertical Jigging: This is the most common technique for lake trout jigging. Drop your jig to the desired depth, then lift and drop the rod tip to impart an enticing up-and-down motion to your bait. 

Jigging for Lake fish

Vary your jigging rhythm and depth until you find what triggers the trout to strike.

Flutter Jigging: This technique lets your jig fall freely through the water column, imitating a dying baitfish. 

Reel in the slack once it reaches the desired depth and repeat the process. This erratic falling action can be irresistible to lake trout.

Deadsticking: Sometimes, lake trout prefer a more subtle presentation. With deadsticking, you drop your bait to the desired depth and leave it there.

Occasionally, twitch the rod tip to give it a little movement. This can be highly effective when the fish are finicky.

Tips for Success

Patience is Key: Lake trout can be finicky; a slow day can instantly become a flurry of activity. Stay patient, be bold, and experiment with different depths, jigs, and techniques until you find what works.

Respect Conservation Regulations: Check the local fishing regulations and adhere to catch limits and size restrictions to ensure the sustainability of the lake trout population.

Practice Catch and Release: Consider releasing larger, older fish to promote healthy lake trout populations and preserve the trophy potential for future generations.

Which season is best for lake trout jigging

However, there are some general guidelines on the best time to catch lake trout:

Jigging for lake trout in spring: Spring is often considered one of the prime seasons for lake trout jigging in many regions.

This period, often called the “pre-spawn,” can provide excellent jigging opportunities as trout feed actively.

Jigging for lake trout in summer

Early Summer: The early summer months, typically May through June, can also be productive for lake trout jigging.

 As the water warms up, trout continue to feed, and you can find them at various depths depending on the lake’s thermocline and forage availability.

Late Summer: In some deeper and colder lakes, late summer (July and August) can also be a good time for jigging. 

Lake trout may move to deeper areas where the water is cooler, so you must adjust your techniques and equipment to target them at greater depths.

Jigging for lake trout in Fall: Fall is another excellent season for jigging for lake trout. 

Vertical jigging

As the water begins to cool down after the summer, lake trout become more active and start feeding aggressively in preparation for the winter. You can find them at various depths, including shallow areas.

Jigging for lake trout in Winter: In regions where lakes freeze over, ice fishing for lake trout is a popular activity during the winter months.

 Ice anglers often use jigs and other bait to entice lake trout under the ice. Ice fishing can yield some of the biggest lake trout catches of the year.

Factors such as water temperature, forage availability, and the presence of underwater structures will influence when and where lake trout are most active.

Additionally, consulting local fishing reports and talking to experienced anglers in the area can provide valuable insights into the best times for jigging for lake trout. 

Jigging lures for lake trout

Jigging for lake trout is thrilling, and selecting the right lures is crucial to enticing these cold-water predators. 

Here’s a rundown of some top-notch lake trout jigging lures :

Swimming Jigs: These jigs feature a swimming or fluttering action that imitates the movement of wounded baitfish. 

The erratic motion triggers the predatory instinct of lake trout. Swimming jigs often come with soft plastic tails or trailers, enhancing their lifelike appearance underwater.

Jigging Spoons: Jigging spoons are classic lures known for their versatility and effectiveness in catching lake trout. 

Their flashy, wobbling action mimics the movements of distressed fish, making them irresistible to these predators. 

Opt for spoons in sizes ranging from 1/2 to 2 ounces, with colors like silver, gold, or flashy patterns.

Vertical Jigs: Vertical jigs are explicitly designed for jigging techniques. Their streamlined shape allows them to sink quickly to the desired depth, making them ideal for deep-water lake trout fishing.

Vertical jigs often have a slender profile and attractive paint patterns to entice strikes.

Flutter Spoons: Flutter spoons have a unique fluttering action as they sink through the water column. 

This falling action imitates a wounded or dying baitfish, which lake trout find hard to resist.

Choose flutter spoons with reflective surfaces that catch and reflect light underwater.

Tube Baits: Tube baits are another practical option for lake trout jigging. They mimic the appearance of small fish or other prey and offer a natural presentation.

Tube baits create a realistic profile that can trigger lake trout strikes when paired with a jig head.

Glow-in-the-Dark Lures: Glow-in-the-dark lures can be highly effective in low-light conditions or deep waters. 

These lures absorb light and emit a subtle glow underwater, making them visible to lake trout even in murky environments.

Color Selection: Lake trout often respond well to colors resembling their prey. Whites, silvers, blues, and greens are popular choices. 

Experiment with different colors to see what works best in your fishing location.

Retrieve Variation: Vary your retrieve speed and pattern to find what entices the most strikes.

 Sometimes, a slow, subtle movement is effective, while other times, a more aggressive jigging action triggers bites.

In the dynamic world of lake trout fishing, having a variety of jigging lures in your tackle box allows you to adapt to changing conditions and the preferences of the fish. 

Jigging lures for lake trout

Whether you’re targeting lake trout in deep water, during the summer, or even under the ice, the right jigging lures can help you connect with these magnificent predators and experience the thrill of the catch.


Jigging for lake trout is a rewarding and exhilarating pursuit. With the right equipment, techniques, and knowledge of lake trout behavior, you can increase your chances of success and create unforgettable fishing memories. 

So, next time you head out to a pristine mountain lake or a deep, cold reservoir, remember these tips and get ready to jig your way to lake trout glory. Happy fishing!

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