A Lake Trout Strategy

BY Mark Romanack

For those who like to catch big fish, lots of fish and hard fighting fish, the lake trout is the most abundant salmonid on the planet. Technically speaking the lake trout isn’t a trout at all, but rather a member of the char family. Despite this common confusion, lake trout are widely distributed across the northern latitudes and are heavily stocked in many fisheries.

In part, lake trout are so revered because they grow big, really big. The world rod/reel record is currently 72 pounds and was caught on Great Bear Lake in the Northwest Territories. It’s also interesting to note that lake trout over 100 pounds have been caught in commercial nets, proving that it’s only a matter of time until the hook and line record is broken again.


Anglers all over the world target lake trout and without question the most popular presentation is a slow trolling technique that marries up a Yakima Bait Spin-n-Glo body with a popular attractor known as a dodger.

This set up starts by snelling a pair of No. 2/0 octopus hooks on an 18 to 24 inch leader of 20 to 25 pound test fluorocarbon leader material. The next step is to thread a couple of colorful beads onto the line to act as a bushing that allows a No. 2 Yakima Bait Spin-n-Glo body to spin freely. The No. 2 Spin-n-Glo is hands down the most popular size among anglers who routinely target lake trout.

The Spin-n-Glo leader is then married to a 5-3/4 inch dodger that snaps the Spin-n-Glo side to side at trolling speeds ranging from 1.7 to about 2.0 MPH. Dodgers come in a wide variety of colors, but avid lake trout fishermen favor two colors including chartreuse and also brushed stainless or what is commonly called “trash can” by those who fish lakers often.

A dodger and Spin-n-Glo can be fished a number of ways, but most anglers use a downrigger to deploy this rig to bottom. The Dodger and Spin-n-Glo combination works best then fished in contact with the bottom. The trick is to set this rig about 10 feet behind a downrigger weight and to position the downrigger weight so it comes in contact with the bottom every few feet while trolling. As the downrigger weight skips along bottom it kicks up sediment that imitates other lake trout feeding on the bottom.

To insure the downrigger weight is coming in contact with the bottom, it helps to stand right next to the downrigger where small and repeated depth adjustments can be made as necessary.


Using downriggers to deploy cowbells or lake trolls like the Yakima Bait Rooster Troll is another popular way to put the Spin-n-Glo to use. Simply attach the main line to the swivel on the Rooster Tail near the rudder, then attach a Spin-n-Glo on an 18-24 inch leader to the back of the Rooster Troll. Rooster Trolls come in two different sizes. The smaller size blades are popular when fishing inland lakes. The larger size blades are a good option for targeting lake trout in the Great Lakes or places that routinely produce trophy class fish.

A Rooster Troll armed with a Spin-n-Glo works best when trolled from 1.5 to 2.0 MPH. The Rooster Troll and Spin-n-Glo rig can be fished near bottom or also used to target trout suspended in the water column.

The size of the Spin-n-Glo used depends on the size of trout found in different bodies of water. Where trophy sized lake trout are found the No. 2 and 0 Spin-n-Glo sizes are the most popular. In bodies of water that feature lots of smaller lake trout, the No. 4 and No. 6 size bodies routinely produce best.


Spin-n-Glo bodies come in countless body color and blade finishes. Some classics that catch lake trout routinely include the Lime/Chartreuse/White Wings, Pearl Clown/White Wings, Yellow Clown/White Wings and Luminous Spot/White Wings. Other great lake trout colors include the Clown/Silver Wings, Chartreuse/Silver Wings, Lime/Chartreuse Tiger/Black Wings, Clown/Chartreuse Wings and Lime/Chartreuse/Chartreuse Wings.


Spin-n-Glo can be rigged with single octopus hooks, tandem octopus hooks, single treble hooks and also using an octopus hook on the front and a treble hook on the rear. Barbless hooks are also popular in areas where catch and release is mandatory or strongly encouraged.


The Spin-n-Glo is so closely associated with lake trout, many anglers couldn’t imagine fishing anything else. Fished either in combination with a dodger or the iconic Rooster Tail attractors, Spin-n-Glo flat out catches lake trout like nothing else.

Editor’s Note: Mark Romanack is a veteran outdoor writer and the executive producer of the Fishing 411 TV series. A big fan of lake trout, Mark has caught countless trophy class fish using the Yakima Bait Spin-n-Glo.