As the fishing season goes along and into the warmer days of July and August, the fish are going to drop down into the cooler waters near the bottom of Lake Superior. The preferred temperature is generally around forty-six degrees, give or take, but regardless it could even be around forty-three as well.
With this depth change, the fish will be staying deep and feeding on your spoons and if your using flies go after those delightful creatures as well. Also, the fish will demonstrate a higher amount of preference for minnows and fish meat. Shown below in the picture are the “Bare Bones” Fly with the bright dodger and the ever nasty critter, the Minnow and Fish Meat Trolling Fly with its tinger hook. Following the eleven-inch multi-colored dodger on a forty-two-inch monofilament harness gives the fly the desired action to attract the fish. Dodgers are produced in a wide variety of colors and it is generally recommended to have green and chartreuse in your collection. Yes, you will want to continue using the spoons in your presentations but those flies will definitely go to work and show you what a bug can do.
Also shown in the picture is the Green Trolling Fly in its storage tube which is a good way to keep them from tangling up in other gear. Having an extra couple of them is not a bad idea as well. The upper fly is a bright chartreuse with a crystal glitter hair and the lower fly is white with gold which I call the “ghost”. It contributed fish to many dinner plates and even more smiles. The bottom fly in the storage harness is black and green with a bit of silver thread. It too is quite a winner when used with a green or chartreuse dodger. Just remember to allow forty-two or more inches between the dodger and the fly.
Attaching The Minnow Or Meat To The Trolling Fly With The Stinger Hook
The use of minnows or meat is not as difficult as you might think. I have used light and heavy sucker minnows, shiner minnows, smelt and herring meat. In all cases, I will freeze the bait laying them flat on a cookie tin not bunched up in a bundled mess. My best days have come with the smelt and sucker minnows in use. I like them around five inches in length whenever possible. Shown below is a picture with the dodger and sucker minnow in the fly harness.
The dodger is an eleven inch longer model with a trolling tube fly and sucker minnow harnessed up and ready to go fishing. The lower picture is a close up of that minnow harnessed. You will notice the single hook through the forward head area pulling the minnow and the stinger hook in the back by the dorsal fin. Any extra line used to hold the stinger hook is wrapped around the hook below the barb and upper lip of the minnow. Don’t worry about it being in the way of a fish hook-up. The main hook in this set-up is the treble hook and the single hook is for the minnow to fasten on. This is important! Don’t use spoiling fish meat or minnows to fish with in a fly harness and it is important that the eyes of your minnow not be dull or discolored. They should be bright and shiny. A wildly twisting minnow is not good and a slight twist may not be a bother to the fish. There should be at least forty inch or more between the fly and minnow and the dodger or flasher. I use a length of forty-two inches and it is perfect for my set-up when trolling between 1.6 and 2.0 knots.
When your fishing vessel has only a couple of downriggers, it might be difficult to present your baits without some extra thought. First off, the bottom dodgers or flasher should be set back from the bottom weight about five to ten foot. I use five foot of distance in calm to slightly wavy water and ten foot back in more aggressive wavy water. The theory is to reduce the baits from being to overly active. You basically want a swishing action or a slight rotation of the baits but nothing to aggressive. The fish should not be scared away from the baits. If I am going to stack a second bait above the lower bait, I leave about ten to fifteen foot of distance between the lower and upper setups. Tangling can occur rather easy when you stacking baits so be careful. Sometime I even use a smaller nine-inch dodger or flasher. It is sometimes best to vary the downrigger depths by a few feet in depth. Doing this gives you a little wider fishing depth area and more options of baits you can use.
Using large dodger and flashers with directional divers can cause the divers to prematurely trip or in some cases to “not” release when fish hit because of the harder settings. I find it to be easier to use the nine inch or smaller dodgers or flasher with directional diver and for more controlled hookups. The lead from the dodger or flasher should be five or six foot to allow for some action of the dodger or flasher. You have to kind of feel your way along when using the directional divers with dodgers and flashers. Be sure to have them pull away from the downriggers. On the backside of directional divers, you should find an adjustment setting area. I usually set the setting at about the half way mark. Doing that will allow a more down and outward pull where for every three (3) foot of line off a properly line loaded line counter reel the bait goes down about one (1) foot. You will know because when your trolling in sixty-foot-deep water your sixty-foot line setting will be tapping the bottom of the lake travelling at 1.6 to 1.8 knots. As for the preferred color of the directional diver I would make my first choices as “orange with a yellow ring” in Lake Superior. I like the large size (not the super large size) on heavier poles. When used on a trolling board, the smaller models. As always, orange and yellow with yellow rings. It should also be noted that the added pull of the dodgers and flashers will affect the depth control of directional divers whether on a heavier pole or for sure, trolling boards.
Now It’s Your Turn
I believe I have passed on my ideas for the use of the Trolling Fly with the Stinger Hook. This deep water type of fishing comes mid or latter in July and goes into the late summer/fall fishing seasons. You will have some very good fishing using the deep water Trolling Fly with meat or minnow.
Authored and produced entirely by Captain Dave Koneczny
KDK Charter Service
4894 Drake Road
Duluth, Minnesota 55803
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