Fish Sniffer On Demand Digital Edition Issue 3616 July 21- August 4 2017 - Page 7

FRESHWATER VOL.36 • ISS. 16 7 July 21 - August 4, 2017 The Lowdown On Hot Weather Trout… ^ A lot of anglers think of trout fishing as a cold season sport. These are the guys that prefer to chase rainbows and browns from fall through spring when cool surface temperatures bring the fish to the surface. In reality summer fishing can be outstanding because the hot conditions force the trout and the bait to concentrate in the thermocline, making them easy targets for anglers equipped with downriggers. The author pulled this big rainbow out of 60 feet of water during a mid-summer trolling trip. ^ You can employ either conventional tackle or spinning gear with downriggers, but conventional tackle works best. Many anglers, including author Cal Kellogg prefer to use line counter reels when trolling for trout and salmon. The reel shown here is an Abu Garcia 5500 line counter loaded with 10 pound Trilene Big Game line. presents Trout Trolling When Summer Temps Sizzle S o far this summer we’ve already been through one bout of record tri- ple digit temperatures and another shot of hot temperatures are expected next week. This is hardly the time to be thinking about trout trolling, or is it…? With the widespread availability of affordable downriggers and sonar units, I’m often amazed to learn that a percentage of trout enthusi- asts are equipped with neither. For these folks, trout are a late fall through late spring proposition and they turn their attention elsewhere during the summer months. To be sure these guys catch a lot of fish, but by not fishing during the summer they are missing out on some of the best action of the entire year. Throughout the year I receive quite a few inquires from trout anglers that don’t have downriggers and/or decent sonar and want more information about either or both. I also get correspondence from anglers that have downriggers/sonar units, but don’t understand how to utilize them to maximum advantage. It is with these trout anglers in mind that I’m writing this article. With daytime temperatures hovering in 90’s or worse, the last thing on many anglers’ minds is trout fishing, yet at many of our deep northern California reservoirs, this is actually one of the easiest times to catch trout since they are locked into a relatively narrow band of water known as the thermocline. During the summer the water in our deep reservoirs stratifies based on tem- perature. The thermocline is a layer of water that serves as a separation between warm surface water and static deep water. Warm water being less dense then cool water rises to the top of the water column, while the coolest densest wa- ter accumulates at the bottom of the lake. As a general rule the warm surface water holds plenty of oxygen, but is too warm to support trout and baitfish such as threadfin shad or pond smelt. The water beneath the thermocline is cool enough to support trout and baitfish, but since the deep water doesn’t circulate to the surface, it lacks oxygen. It is the water in the narrow band known as the thermocline that offers both suitable temperatures and the abundant oxygen that trout and baitfish require. As a result during the summer the trout and bait lock into the comfort zone that the thermocline provides. Baitfish spend the summer feeding heavily on plankton, while the trout feed heavily on the bait. The key to trolling up a mess of trout during the summer is locating the thermocline and then putting a baitfish imitating offering into the strike zone. High end sonar units can locate the thermocline based on the density of the water, but on less expensive units the ther- mocline will still be well illustrate since it is the zone where most of the fish and bait will show up. Trout and bait can leave the thermocline for periods of time, yet you’ll know where the thermocline is, since it will hold the densest concentration of fish. Most of the time the thermocline is going to be located anywhere from 50 to 100 feet below the surface, At the lakes I fish, the most common depth is 60 to 80 feet. There are a lot of ways to get a FISH SNIFFER HOW – TO by Cal Kellogg ^ The standard offering for working the thermocline for trout and king salmon in the summer is a dodger paired with a baitfish imitating spoon. Here we see a Vance’s dodger paired with a Needlefish spoon, via a 30 inch 10 lb test fluorocarbon leader. The dodger imitates the sounds that feeding trout make, thus attracting trout. The spoon gives the impression of a fleeing baitfish and wham…FISH ON! ^ In this photo, we see a Luhr Jensen Needlefish attached to the line and ready for battle. Note that the lure is attached to the leader using a light wire snap. In order for your spoons to display maximum movement it’s critical that you attach them using either a snap or a loop knot. CONTINUED ON PAGE 8