Lake Trout on the Fly

Frank Wood

Fly Fisher/Fly Tier/Writer/Photographer

★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Frank Wood has been on a personal quest to catch and land a lake trout on the fly that weighs over 15 lbs. Well he’s far exceed his goal and has brought in fish at 22 lbs on conventional fly tackle. Learn how he gets hooked up with these monsters on this show.

Frank Wood
Lake Trout on the Fly
Frank Wood Lake Trout on the Fly

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Show Transcription

Some fish like it hot and some fish like it cold. The Lake Trout would definitely fit into the latter category. Any body of fresh water with temperature hovering under 50 degrees and you’ll find the lake trout thriving. That’s why the further north you go the better the odds of landing one of these great fish. Prolific fly fisher writer Frank Wood has put the lake trout at the top of his favorite fish to cast for. He’s been casting ever since he picked up his first rod in 1978 and is happy to report that he has made his passion for fly fishing into a remarkable career. What better way to punch a time card then with casting out on pristine Alberta lake? This is one job with an amazing benefits package!

For those concerned about scientific classifications, the lake trout has been deemed a member of the char family. They flourish in deep cold lakes and have adapted over the eons in these closed ecological systems. As any experience fly fisher will tell you, the lake trout is a very efficient predator that prefers to feed on bait fish. If you’re headed up to the Northwest Territories for a lake trout excursion, you have a small window of opportunity. This window exists when ice has gone from the lakes usually around the beginning of July and into the first signs of frost around September. Yes, this is a short season where every cast matters.

Frank has some sage advice to help find the lake trout. “Basically, you're looking for points, drop-offs, any place where you have changes in depths especially if you happen to be fishing lakes that are in the southern part of North America.” There is no escaping the simple fact that most of your time out on the lake of choice will be in searching for this fish of choice. If you’re lucky, the wind action will be at a minimum and you might be able to get in some sight fishing which takes this sport to a whole new level.

If you’ve never fished for lake trout before then you need to know that the world record for rod and reel was a whopping 72 pounder. For the most part the lake trout you’ll be landing will be closer to the 12 to 25 pounds range.

On your fly fishing gear list, Frank has some specific recommendations when it comes to what to pack or purchase. For boat fishing Frank suggests a 10-weight fly rod while along the shore you can manage with a lighter 7 or 8-weight. Since this is fly fishing you’ll also need your flies. Frank makes his pick based on the weather. “If you got a nice clear sunny day I tend to use more streamer patterns that imitate the ciscos or the herring that they regularly feed on, but if it’s overcast and cloudy, I tend to use flies that have more attraction to them like some chartreuses and chartreuse double bunnies,” he suggests.

Frank likes to keep it simple when it comes to his flies. On his list of go-to flies for Lake Trout are Clouser Minnows, double bunnies, Bow River Buggers and Wooly Buggers. Another favorite fly is a pattern created by Kelly Galloup call the Butt Monkey. Who would have thought that monkey could help you catch a trout?


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