Bubba Life


By: Nick Honachefsky

To say Lake Superior is big is a gross understatement. The body of water is so expansive, it nearly warrants the term “freshwater sea”. That’s a lot of area to cover to find lake trout, but fear not. Chris Beeksma of Get Bit Guide Service (715-292-4410) has Superior dialed in for lakers.

“Mainly the North Shore of Superior in Duluth, Minnesota holds larger lakers on average like 8 to 15 pounds whereas the South Shore in Wisconsin has more 4 to 8 pound class fish,” states Beeksma. “Generally, the deeper you go, the larger the fish are.”

Water temperatures during ice out into the early spring usually sit in the 40’s to low 50’s. With chillier temps, a more aggressive approach is needed to garner a strike.

“Early spring lake trout fishing revolves around the North Shore in Minnesota from Duluth to Silver Bay,” states Beeksma. “Tactics mostly revolve around trolling stickbaits like Rapala Husky Jerks, Floating Rapalas, and Storm Thundersticks in the 20 to 40 foot depths, dragging the lures just 5 feet under the surface at a 1 to 2 knot pace.”

Transitioning into middle and late spring, trout trollers move out to the 80 to 200 foot depths using downrigger and Dipsy Divers to reach a general sweet spot of 30 to 50 feet. “The advantage of downriggers is that you can adjust the depth quickly, “says Beeksma. “We always put one lure right off the bottom, then when we mark fish on screen, we can easily adjust the depth.” In the deeper waters, Beeksma will usually put down spoons or tinsel flies like the Luhr Jensen Flash Fly Twinkle Rig.

If there’s an extended winter, pulling up lake trout through the ice is a hot option. “The new thing has been jigging for lake trout, especially in Duluth,” adds Beeksma. “Guys will walk or snowmobile out into 80 to 120 feet of water or around the Apostle Islands. Jig with ¾ to 2-ounce Swedish Pimples or Spoons, work the spoon within 3 feet off the bottom, or test out the water column by dropping down and reeling up quick to see if any hits come.”

When it comes to the end game, a quick slice makes all the difference for filleting lakers. Beeksma prefers a thin, long blade-like the 8-inch tapered flex in the BUBBA Multi-Flex interchangeable knife set. “A long, thin blade is easier to deal with the bones. You can cut behind the gill and in one swoop fillet the whole side flank. Its almost like having an electric knife.” The interchangeable blades also allow for thick cuts with the 9-inch Stiff Fillet Knife to get through the big bones of lake trout.