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Fishing the Trout lakes 2019

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Saturday was nice 55 F, mixed clouds and moderate NW wind, so hit watauga sat afternoon. Water was high and way over the ramp and fishing pier, but pretty clear., 46 F surface temp.  bought my new TN yearly lisc.  fishing was decent. got 6 lakers  in 4 hours.  kept 2 fat ones for the broiler.  mostly deep 40 to 70 ft. all about the same size 18 to 22"

 

Pics of fish and new axle, spindles and hubs installed for shorelander trailer.  Hope this solve the bearing failure issue on the ride side... 

 

guys from SC also launched their pontoon for trout and some local at the ramp who fish alot mid week checking in to see what up.  I promoted the trout trollers tourneys coming up...

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Was thinking about going to Douglas for crappie but reconsidered, so went to watagua.  It was cold and windy and wore more clothes than I thought I would need.  Not many bites, and actually kinda spotty but landed 2 dandies!  Released 3.

20190316_140616_resized.jpg

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12 hours ago, TrophyLakerTaker said:

Was thinking about going to Douglas for crappie but reconsidered, so went to watagua.  It was cold and windy and wore more clothes than I thought I would need.  Not many bites, and actually kinda spotty but landed 2 dandies!  Released 3.

20190316_140616_resized.jpg

Great looking fish!!!  I'm headed up Thurs-Sunday.  Looking forward to it.  

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I'm envious of ya'all !!!  A nasty cold has struck me over the weekend. I'm gonna see the doctor tomorrow. I hope some antibiotics will patch me up enough to fish this coming Saturday.

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I hope you can recover by then.  I'm thinking of bringing these 2 as smoked trout snack for the weigh in. 

 

I just saw the article in the link from Feb 18th at the top of the thread. I don't fully agree on cost to get set up and down riggers.  The main investment you need to troll effectively for trout is a 4 stroke motor and boat big enough for that body of water.  you need the 4 stroke so you can control your speed, not get smoked out and not super noisy like a 2 stroke. 2 stroke will work though if its all you got.  I bought my last downrigger for $75!  Lots of ways to reach 60 ft and deeper without down riggers and often catch more fish and plenty get caught in upper 40 ft.  Down riggers are just 1 technique.

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The doctor appointment went well. He said I had a sinus infection. He gave me some pills that dried up my sinuses. I feel somewhat better already. I'll probably make the derby. Would Derby be a better name for these events? Southeastern Trout Trollers Derby....???

 

I'm with you on that article. If my downrigger was broken, I could do quite well with Dipsy Divers and Lead Core outfits.

 

I've never had smoked Laker.....just fried and baked. 

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18 hours ago, TrophyLakerTaker said:

I hope you can recover by then.  I'm thinking of bringing these 2 as smoked trout snack for the weigh in. 

 

I just saw the article in the link from Feb 18th at the top of the thread. I don't fully agree on cost to get set up and down riggers.  The main investment you need to troll effectively for trout is a 4 stroke motor and boat big enough for that body of water.  you need the 4 stroke so you can control your speed, not get smoked out and not super noisy like a 2 stroke. 2 stroke will work though if its all you got.  I bought my last downrigger for $75!  Lots of ways to reach 60 ft and deeper without down riggers and often catch more fish and plenty get caught in upper 40 ft.  Down riggers are just 1 technique.

We smoked the last two be brought home a week ago, everyone loved them.

 

Concerning the boat being set up, I agree with you.   I bought a nice used Crestliner when my rickety fiberglass boat deep sixed. I just bought two more riggers and a load of Traxstech  gear on the bay for what I consider pennies on the dollar.  The 4 stroke is the way to go. I hate to say it, but my 150 XR6 blowing up was the best thing that happened for me to troll.  Put a 90 Merc 4 stroke (Yamaha powerhead) on there and things started clicking.  Oddly, something that I use more and more is my trolling motor.  Not cheap, but it can pull the boat so I can work rods, I can troll for a good period of time with it.  I can point it in a position and set it, it even has a cruise control of sorts.  Those features allow me to do more on the boat and not have to rely on others.  Only a slight control disorder.

 

Shea

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3/23 - Report Watauga Lake

 

We enjoyed our first trip to TN and Watauga Lake.  Fished from 7-1:30 going 8-10, all lake trout, with most of our fish before 9.  All our fish came in the top 25 and mosts were within a 1/2 mile each side of the bridge.  Couple of 4.5 pounders were our largest.    

 

Not being familiar with the lake, we started with something we could be confident in and what is our standard spring spread on Lake Michigan for lake trout where we would be fishing in about 20-25 FOW.  That spread includes Silver Streak Mini Orange Crush on a 2 Color, Michigan Stinger UV Mix Veggies on 100 CU and a Silver Streak Standard Black Screwball on a Slide Diver.  Those three took 8 of the 10 hits we had (Screwball had 5).  We did take fish on a Dreamweaver Golden Orange Icicle on a free slider and a Michigan Stinger (Stingray size) UV Orange Tuxedo at 25 on the rigger after a change-up when the riggers only had one hit all morning running stuff between 40-70. 

 

Water temp about 46 and our speed at the ball was usually about 1.6.   Water was pretty cloudy after the hard blow the previous days.  

Edited by mincmi
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On 3/23/2019 at 11:53 PM, mincmi said:

3/23 - Report Watauga Lake

 

We enjoyed our first trip to TN and Watauga Lake.  Fished from 7-1:30 going 8-10, all lake trout, with most of our fish before 9.  All our fish came in the top 25 and mosts were within a 1/2 mile each side of the bridge.  Couple of 4.5 pounders were our largest.    

 

Not being familiar with the lake, we started with something we could be confident in and what is our standard spring spread on Lake Michigan for lake trout where we would be fishing in about 20-25 FOW.  That spread includes Silver Streak Mini Orange Crush on a 2 Color, Michigan Stinger UV Mix Veggies on 100 CU and a Silver Streak Standard Black Screwball on a Slide Diver.  Those three took 8 of the 10 hits we had (Screwball had 5).  We did take fish on a Dreamweaver Golden Orange Icicle on a free slider and a Michigan Stinger (Stingray size) UV Orange Tuxedo at 25 on the rigger after a change-up when the riggers only had one hit all morning running stuff between 40-70. 

 

Water temp about 46 and our speed at the ball was usually about 1.6.   Water was pretty cloudy after the hard blow the previous days.  

Thanks for the info Mincmi me.  We started below the big island and trolled towards the bridge and back.   Our 20-30 ft lines did not produce any fish, but they did the week before.  we caught 3 between 9:30 and noon, then landed 4 between noon and one.  We had out the same spoons and colors,  but on divers at 30 to 45.  We got our biggest on a down rigger at 50 ft on silver gold also. bigger fish were in the straights it seemed.  Stained water is not the norm, a bit warmer and clearer and the weights would of went up for everyone.    

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Thought me might be running too much junk deeper.  The one fish we had on Friday did come off a set of cowbells and double spin & glow at 40, so we had a flasher fly set-up  on a rigger and a wire diver running deeper with a dodger/SG.  Had a lot of fish right in those deep lines but they just ever went.   We did not run the short boards with the wind blowing so hard on Friday.

 

 We are usually much better shallower with the clean spoons than deeper with attractors, so not unusual that we could not get that bite going,   That is why I finally pulled the flasher running at 70 and put on another orange spoon on that rigger and ran it at 25, and it took a fish.

 

Our biggest fish was in the box well before 8, and then doubled up making the turn once we had enough room past the bridge.  Both of those fish came off the outside starboard boards as they rode up the bank very near to shore.  We could get away with that running those short cores.  Came back under the bridge and swung around again tried up there a second time.  We did take a couple smaller fish on the port dive on that second pass but the outside boards did not fire.  Worked our way back to where we took the first fish and caught its twin.

 

We did have a hit in the last hour too after we turn in behind you.

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I fished Watauga Friday. The water was a bit stained. I put my first line out about 7:15 a.m. not long after the rain stopped. Aboutut a hour later I caught my first Laker on a lead-core line plug. It was 21" and I kept it. Not long after that the plug caught one a little smaller which I let go. After that all but one of the 8 Lakers landed hit spoons. I let several go till I caught a 22" one that was plump. I tried to fish for Rainbows after that but kept catching and releasing Lakers. Only one was less than 19". It was a dink about 15".

 

I went all the way up to where the rivers meet Roan Creek where I turned back downstream. Just as was about to enter the narrows to the lower lake, I had what I thought was a strike on a Dipsy spoon. When I got the fish about 25 yards from the boat there was my Dipsy Diver and spoon sliding up a line from a tangled mess of line that had a good-sized Laker sliding on the surface....I'd say it was a 6-8 pounder. I could of pulled it in by hand but I thought it was on one of my other lines, so, I removed the spoon. That turned out not to be the case. The fish was alive. I saw it wiggle. I apparently snagged this mess of line that this, probably, recently hooked fish was pulling around, weird!

 

I saw two Rainbows jump on my way up the lake. The surface water was 67 in the morn and 70 when I got off the lake. Next time out, if it's any time soon, I'm gonna troll a very shallow spoon for Rainbows at about 10 - 15 feet. I changed one of my Dipsy Divers to a Mini in an effort to catch Rainbows. I put a smaller spoon on the downrigger and set it at 20 feet and caught what, another Laker! I lost two fish along the way that could of been Rainbows.....? No jumps, so I can't be sure. The strike zone seemed to be 20 - 50 feet. I didn't get a strike on the downrigger when I had it at 60 feet.... Six of the 8 Lakers looked to be over 20".  I had a fun day.

Watauga Lakers 17 May 2019 009.JPG

Edited by Troutgirl
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I caught a weird trout or salmon sat eve on Watugua.

WHAT KINDA OF TROUT OR SALMON IS THIS?

3RD trout from the bottom in the pic with laker, brown and rainbow as a referenceSquare flat tail, not a laker.  Greenish and mottled markings on it's back, not a rainbow.  Could be a brown or hybrid of a  brown with a brook trout, but don't know if that's possible.  Great fighter!  The flesh was bright orange.  2nd is a pic of the fillet.  Froze the head to maybe get it identified

20190519_165227_resized.jpg

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Maybe it's a Brown that has silverd-out from lake life? I've seen 'em do that. I've seen some that at first glance look like Rainbows they're so silver and the only visible spots look black. The meat looks like a Brown's to me.

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Nice brown!  Lake run browns will silver out.  Number of rays on anal fin of this fish are right for a brown too. 

 

Coho or kings would have spots in tail and while Atlantics do not have spots, their tails are forked like lake trout.

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Big old brown...screaming for a grill and spiced butter.possibly a Seeforrelen strain.dont know if twra is stocking these.they live a long life,dont spawn till they are 8/ 10 years old.just eatin growin getting fat.the sexual organs would be very small in relation to body size.typically stocked for alewife control,voracious apetites.

Edited by kwk

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23 hours ago, TrophyLakerTaker said:

I caught a weird trout or salmon sat eve on Watugua.

WHAT KINDA OF TROUT OR SALMON IS THIS?

3RD trout from the bottom in the pic with laker, brown and rainbow as a referenceSquare flat tail, not a laker.  Greenish and mottled markings on it's back, not a rainbow.  Could be a brown or hybrid of a  brown with a brook trout, but don't know if that's possible.  Great fighter!  The flesh was bright orange.  2nd is a pic of the fillet.  Froze the head to maybe get it identified

20190519_165227_resized.jpg

Scott it’s interesting you seem to catch more browns than most out of watauga.  

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Yes,the hybrid is possible.splake,laker brookie.extremely rare in the wild.usually a hatchery engineered fish.most likely sterile.i guess a accidental transfer of semen could have ocurred...doubtful.i have seen and caught splake,very vibrant colors.

Edited by kwk

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15 hours ago, kwk said:

Yes,the hybrid is possible.splake,laker brookie.extremely rare in the wild.usually a hatchery engineered fish.most likely sterile.i guess a accidental transfer of semen could have ocurred...doubtful.i have seen and caught splake,very vibrant colors.

 

Splakes are not sterile. However, they rarely fit in with Brookie or Laker spawning groups and usually abstain from sex. All of the Char family of fish can interbreed. That would include Lakers, Brookies, Aurora Trout, Red Trout, Bull Trout, Dolly Varden Trout, Arctic Char, Blueback Trout, and the now extinct Sunapee Trout. The Sunapee Trout of Lake Sunapee, New Hampshire was a beautiful subspecies of Brookies that was destroyed by introduced Lakers. It's impossible to discern if they were bred or eaten out of existence, or a combination of both....???

 

Species that have diverged in the past 1.5 million years can usually interbreed. That goes for Humans too. We could interbreed with Neanderthals and the next pre-Sapiens species back. DNA evidence has proven the Sapiens and Neanderthal link and strongly suggests we got together with even older species that had hybridized with Neanderthals in Asia.

 

The only Trout that we have hybridizing around these parts are Browns and Brookies. They are not all that closely related and for sure diverged way, way more than 1.5 million years ago. They're not even in the same Genera (Genus) but they're both fall spawners and can share spawning pools. It only works with male Brookie milt (sperm) fertilizing Brown eggs. In nature, only about 10% of these eggs will survive. It's much higher in hatcheries but not 100%. The resulting hybrids are called Tiger Trout and they're very definitively sterile. A few years back, I saw 3 pictures of Tiger Trout that all came out of tributaries of Fontana Lake. Tiger Trout used to get stocked in Lake Michigan by Wisconsin. I don't know if they still do so. They're beautiful. Google 'em and see.....

Edited by Troutgirl
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My brother and I hit Cheoah Lake yesterday. We didn't arrive early enough to take full advantage of the morning bite but we caught a nice, 16" Brown about 8:30 a.m. in the top end of the lake on a plug. The rest of the Trout we caught were Rainbows. In the shallow top end we caught 'em on little plugs and in the deep part we caught 'em on spoons running 20 - 35 feet.

CHEOAH LAKE 20 MAY 2019 Brown & Rainbows 003.JPG

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