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Cold Water Salmon & Trout Presentation Tips

In previous articles we covered general overview and the specifics of temperature breaks and their location.  Now let’s continue with spring presentation and location.  If your season starts early as we do at Blue Max Charters, you will be on Lake Michigan when the surface temperatures are below the preferred temp of your target species. 
 I will cover late May and early June in this article.  This time period provides great action on Brown trout, Chinooks, Coho and Rainbows. Browns, at this time of the year, will come on similar presentations, lures and locations as I described in the last articles. Look for temp breaks with bait fish and the warmest water. This time of year you won’t find water that is to warm for Browns.  I like small Vulcan spoons with silver, green or white blades with green, orange or blue accent stripes. Work the top 25 feet of water.

Presentation for cold water
I set up 90% of my lines on planer boards working the top fifteen feet of water.  The remaining 10% of my lines are on diving planers or downriggers for deeper fish.  On all my rods in spring, I run a 20-25 pound test monofilament with a 12-pound leader.  You need to go with a light leader to produce good action in clear water near the surface.   Run the heavier test to a bead chain sinker or barrel swivel then an 8-foot leader with a cross lock snap.  I don’t go nuts with Micro Filament or Super Braid lines because I think they are over kill for this application and add to expenses.  Starting out this way I will have the rods loaded with the correct line for most presentations through out the season
Speed part of the answer
  I set my boat speed at 1 to 2 mph.  Slow presentation is key in spring.  The lures you run is all about the amount of light, baitfish size and the size of fish you are looking to catch.  Mix it up!  When one lure produces I would double up on that lure.  For Coho I prefer 6 inch orange flashers and a variety of different colored flies instead of spoons.  Adjust the length of the leader from the flasher to the fly to get the best results.  The general rule is one and one half times the length of the flasher.  My experience is the colder the water the longer the leader.  Longer leaders slow down the action.  There are times when I run up to three times the flasher length.  Most Rainbows will hit the flasher flies.  When only looking for Rainbows, substitute bright color spoons for flasher flies.  The Chinooks should also take spoons.  Jim charters out of Milwaukee, WI. with Blue Max Charters.  He can be reached at 414-828-1094 or visit his web site at  Copyright© 2010, James J. Hirt, All Rights Reserved
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