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Lake Trout Fishing in Canada

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Lake Trout (or, "Lakers") are also known as mackinaw, lake char, and grey trout. The lake trout is sought after as both a game fish and as a fish caught for consumption. The largest lake trout caught on a rod and reel was caught on Great Bear Lake in 1995 and weighed 72 lbs (33 kg) with a length of 59 in (150 cm). While the average lake trout is much smaller than that record, it is still a good 20-36" and 15-40 lbs. Many native lake trout populations had/have been severely damaged through the combined effects of hatchery stocking (planting) and over harvesting. However, populations have shown a healthy rebound in many major fisheries/fishing lakes thanks to conservation efforts, proper licensing, and harvest regulations.

Lake Trout caught at Hawk Lodge Lodge, Ontario
Beautiful Lake Trout caught at Hawk Lake Lodge

Where to Find Lake Trout

Lake Trout are mainly found in lakes in northern North America, though they are also found in South America, Asia, and Europe. This fish species evolved with the ebb and flow of glacial periods, living in the lakes formed from the waters that melted from the glaciers at the glacial boundary. Lakers loved these massive, cold, changing waters and thrived in them. They would follow the glaciers south during every advance and north when it warmed - with some staying behind in lakes formed during the glacial retreats (i.e. the Finger Lakes). The lake trout settled in these lakes with deeper, colder waters and that's where you'll find them today...the deeper and colder parts of the lake. Once you are on the water, the most important part of the finding this trout species is to relax, sit back, and watch the shorelines. You are in the right spot for lake trout fishing when you see pine covered islands and steep rock walls.

Understanding Lake Trout Behavior

As noted above, lake trout like structure. Lakers will suspend near structure as they pursue baitfish and this is most often structure found on, or near, the lake bottom. When fishing for lakers, look for the same things would when fishing for brook (speckled) trout in streams but on a larger scale (underwater outcroppings, points, cutouts, flats, drop-offs). If the same structure holds baitfish, it will also hold lake trout. They prefer different kinds of structure depending on the time of year, so putting your time to find the right structure is important when you are fishing for lake trout.

How to Catch Lake Trout

Lake Trout like small lures more than big ones. Use a light line (4lb-6lb test) as it has decreased friction with the water and ensures your line goes down quick without having lots of line out. Tie two pieces of line, approximately 3-feet long, to a three-way swivel. Use a 1 or 2-oz. weight on one line and a smaller lure on the other (i.e. a silver spoon, #0-#1 Mepps, or similar spinner bait). These fish are often down 40-60+ feet and when hooked (especially the big ones), will make a short run and just thump and twist and turn. Bring them up slowly to ensure that they decompress and release them back into the water quickly if you're not keeping them for consumption. Be sure to check to local/provincial websites for the specific conservation guidelines and regulations.

Downrigging & Trolling for Lake Trout

Top Fishing Trips for Lake Trout


Pasha Lake Cabins
Pasha Lake Cabins
4.7 out of 5 103 Google Reviews
6 - 7 Days: $750 to $1,000 Per Person
4 - 5 Days: $500 to $750 Per Person
Anderson's Lodge
Anderson's Lodge
34 Reviews - TripAdvisor® Traveler Rating
6 - 7 Days: $3,000 to $4,000 Per Person
4 - 5 Days: $2,000 to $3,000 Per Person
Hawk Lake Lodge
Hawk Lake Lodge
4.6 out of 5 18 Google Reviews
6 - 7 Days: $2,000 to $3,000 Per Person
4 - 5 Days: $1,500 to $2,000 Per Person
Aikens Lake Wilderness Lodge
Aikens Lake Wilderness Lodge
258 Reviews - TripAdvisor® Traveler Rating
6 - 7 Days: $4,000 to $5,000 Per Person
4 - 5 Days: $3,000 to $4,000 Per Person
Kenauk Nature
Kenauk Nature
246 Reviews - TripAdvisor® Traveler Rating
6 - 7 Days: $1,000 to $1,500 Per Person
4 - 5 Days: $750 to $1,000 Per Person
Thompson's Camps
Thompson's Camps
194 Reviews - TripAdvisor® Traveler Rating
6 - 7 Days: $2,000 to $3,000 Per Person
4 - 5 Days: $1,500 to $2,000 Per Person
Kississing Lake Lodge
Kississing Lake Lodge
145 Reviews - TripAdvisor® Traveler Rating
6 - 7 Days: $3,000 to $4,000 Per Person
4 - 5 Days: $2,000 to $3,000 Per Person
Baker's Narrow Lodge
Baker's Narrow Lodge
133 Reviews - TripAdvisor® Traveler Rating
6 - 7 Days: $1,000 to $1,500 Per Person
4 - 5 Days: $1,000 to $1,500 Per Person
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Marten River Lodge
108 Reviews - TripAdvisor® Traveler Rating
6 - 7 Days: $500 to $750 Per Person
4 - 5 Days: $500 to $750 Per Person
Lookout Point Camp
Lookout Point Camp
106 Reviews - TripAdvisor® Traveler Rating
6 - 7 Days: $500 to $750 Per Person
Waterfalls Lodge
Waterfalls Lodge
99 Reviews - TripAdvisor® Traveler Rating
6 - 7 Days: $500 to $750 Per Person
4 - 5 Days: $500 to $750 Per Person
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Gangler's North Seal River Lodge
89 Reviews - TripAdvisor® Traveler Rating
6 - 7 Days: $5,000+ Per Person
4 - 5 Days: $4,000 to $5,000 Per Person
Wekusko Falls Lodge
Wekusko Falls Lodge
4.7 out of 5 88 Google Reviews
6 - 7 Days: $1,000 to $1,500 Per Person
4 - 5 Days: $750 to $1,000 Per Person
Air-Dale Fishing
Air-Dale Fishing
4.7 out of 5 79 Google Reviews
6 - 7 Days: $750 to $1,000 Per Person
4 - 5 Days: $750 to $1,000 Per Person
Arctic Lodges
Arctic Lodges
61 Reviews - TripAdvisor® Traveler Rating
6 - 7 Days: $5,000+ Per Person
4 - 5 Days: $4,000 to $5,000 Per Person
Lake Obabika Lodge
Lake Obabika Lodge
4.8 out of 5 54 Google Reviews
6 - 7 Days: $1,000 to $1,500 Per Person
4 - 5 Days: $1,000 to $1,500 Per Person
Camp Anjigami
Camp Anjigami
53 Reviews - TripAdvisor® Traveler Rating
6 - 7 Days: $750 to $1,000 Per Person
4 - 5 Days: $500 to $750 Per Person
Andy Myers Lodge
Andy Myers Lodge
48 Reviews - TripAdvisor® Traveler Rating
6 - 7 Days: $750 to $1,000 Per Person
4 - 5 Days: $750 to $1,000 Per Person
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Pine Cliff Lodge
46 Reviews - TripAdvisor® Traveler Rating
6 - 7 Days: $750 to $1,000 Per Person
4 - 5 Days: $500 to $750 Per Person
Wilderness Air Escapes
Wilderness Air Escapes
4.9 out of 5 43 Google Reviews
6 - 7 Days: $1,000 to $1,500 Per Person
4 - 5 Days: $1,000 to $1,500 Per Person
Lake Herridge Lodge
Lake Herridge Lodge
4.9 out of 5 41 Google Reviews
6 - 7 Days: $750 to $1,000 Per Person
4 - 5 Days: $500 to $750 Per Person
Olive the Lake
Olive the Lake
5.0 out of 5 39 Google Reviews
6 - 7 Days: $250 to $500 Per Person
4 - 5 Days: $250 to $500 Per Person
Birch Dale Lodge
Birch Dale Lodge
4.7 out of 5 39 Google Reviews
6 - 7 Days: $500 to $750 Per Person
4 - 5 Days: $500 to $750 Per Person
Kipawa Lodge
Kipawa Lodge
37 Reviews - TripAdvisor® Traveler Rating
6 - 7 Days: $1,000 to $1,500 Per Person
4 - 5 Days: $1,000 to $1,500 Per Person
Ravenscroft Lodge
Ravenscroft Lodge
35 Reviews - TripAdvisor® Traveler Rating
6 - 7 Days: $750 to $1,000 Per Person
4 - 5 Days: $500 to $750 Per Person
Gowganda Lake Lodge
Gowganda Lake Lodge
33 Reviews - TripAdvisor® Traveler Rating
6 - 7 Days: $750 to $1,000 Per Person
4 - 5 Days: $500 to $750 Per Person
Mattice Lake Outfitters
Mattice Lake Outfitters
4.6 out of 5 33 Google Reviews
6 - 7 Days: $1,000 to $1,500 Per Person
4 - 5 Days: $1,000 to $1,500 Per Person
Hatchet Lake Lodge
Hatchet Lake Lodge
5.0 out of 5 32 Google Reviews
6 - 7 Days: $5,000+ Per Person
4 - 5 Days: $4,000 to $5,000 Per Person
Duck Bay Lodge
Duck Bay Lodge
4.9 out of 5 31 Google Reviews
6 - 7 Days: $2,000 to $3,000 Per Person
4 - 5 Days: $1,000 to $1,500 Per Person