As the 2017 Lake Superior Charter Fishing season starts to approach, we’ve had a massive influx of phone calls and emails all asking one basic question: “When is the best time to set up a charter fishing trip on Lake Superior so that we can catch some fish?” Here is the answer that I give to folks and because Lake Superior is very active and changing; it is not a “one situation fits all times.”
First off, the fishing on the western end of Lake Superior is excellent pretty much year around. There is lots of food (forage base) in these waters and the water temperatures, while changing, are much to the liking of the various fish. It all boils down to where you travel around in the area and where you set your baits. Starting in the early Spring and until close to the end of June I set my various baits in the top water and shallow in the depths of the lake. I look for water temperatures on the surface and slightly below the surface to be 42 degrees or as close as I can find to 42 degrees. At that time of the year I usually use stickbaits and surface trolling flies following small flashers. One has to remember that the early part of the fishing season is very cool and a person has to dress heavier for cool to cold weather. The breezes come up in the afternoons which cause the waves.
Towards the end of June and the first three weeks of July I start dropping the baits deeper into the depths, but remain aware that I am now facing the transition period in the Lake Superior fishing where I fish. This simply means that I could find the fish moving between the surface and deeper depths as the waters warm going into the summer and fall seasons. We could be dropping the baits down to 50 and 60 foot as the fish go through their travels and we would be baiting up with spoons and deeper running flies and larger dodger and flashers. The deep running divers on our outrigger poles are also being used with good success. The weather at this time can be somewhat pleasant but can be cool to cold if the breeze is off the lake. Be prepared.
From the end of July to the end of the Lake Trout fishing season, I am placing my baits very deep and or close to the lake bottom as the fish are now staying deep in the lake. I am now looking at depths of over 80 feet to 100 plus feet with fish a foot or two above the bottom. The water temperatures change with the lake currents and wind directions. Usually the water at deeper depths is near the middle forties and a temperature the fish will tolerate and feed in. At this point we are fishing with spoons, deep running trolling flies and deep divers on the outrigger poles. The weather in this period will be mostly pleasant with some days being very warm. Generally this is a gentler time of the fishing season.
Yes, fishing on Lake Superior is good throughout the fishing season. We find that success is a matter of where you fish and where you place your baits in the water.