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  • Writer's pictureBrian Lansing

Life in the Abyss – Jigging for Adirondack Lake Trout

My Wife and I unloaded our kayaks from my truck and carried them to the public dock. It was 70 degrees, a mix of sun and clouds, and the rain had finally stopped for a day. We paddled an area we had been before and knew well. It was quiet. We had the entire Adirondack lake to ourselves as most people had left on Labor Day. With a book in hand, my Wife floated and soaked up the sun. With a rod in hand, I floated and jigged for lake trout. It was our 3rd anniversary and it was perfect.

Brian Lansing is fishing and jigging for Adirondack lake trout.
Jigging for Adirondack lake trout. My Wife took this shot of me patiently waiting.

I don’t fish for Adirondack lake trout often enough. I enjoy vertical jigging for them as they lurk in a darkness, that I can only attempt to imagine, on the cold bottom in 100’ of water. Their lair, at least in this particular area, consists of jagged rock cliffs, boulders, and old trees. Their home is a place where I can drop a jig to what I assume was bottom, only to move it 10’ in either direction and have the same jig fall an additional 15’. As for the trout, they’re cold.

While it is cold where they live, the trout had attitude just as cold. On three occasions early on, I marked fish on the screen following my jig. They followed it off the bottom, through the water column, back to the bottom, up and down again, only to end our fickle game with a big fat refusal. I tried every trick I knew and they just looked and followed. It was time for a different look. Changing to a larger jig, a different style, and different color yielded immediate results.

Upstate New York fishing guide, Brian Lansing, is holding a nice Adirondack lake trout.

I’m a proponent of changing lures or flies regularly if something isn’t working. Many times, we can visibly see a refusal. Whether it is jigging and seeing the fish on our sonar, streamer fishing and seeing a fish tail off or refuse our fly, or watching a trout refuse our dry fly, we see it happen. Changing presentation quickly can work wonders. Trying a different size, style, or color will often result in an eat.

The bite in 100’ of water is exhilarating. Small fish often feel like larger fish. Lake trout don’t typically nibble. They are carnivores. They eat hard. The meat eating lakers crushed the jig and swung immediately back to the cover and structure of the bottom. Big head shakes are the norm. The fight is never over for them. They fight the whole way to the net and then fight in the net.

Brian Lansing is fishing for Adirondack lake trout.
My Wife took this shot of my hooked up with an Adirondack lake trout.

After taking a bit of time to figure out what they wanted, I had consistent bites the next hour or so until my Wife and I continued on with our paddle and headed back to camp for dinner. It was a gorgeous day on the water with my Wife. She loves the outdoors just as much as I do. Some days she fishes with me, while other days she’s content to read a book, soak up the odd ray of sunshine, and enjoy the sights of and sounds of being on the water. She’s always been a good sport.

While I did have a fly rod with me, I stuck with the spin gear. I, admittedly, struggled out of the gate to get bites. Once I figured it out, time was limited and I continued having fun with vertical jigging. However, with heavy sinking lines and heavy flies, I intend to feed my addiction of catching everything with a fly rod and work on coaxing these deep beautiful bottom dwellers into eating a fly and a game of tug o’ war.

Thanks for reading and following along. As always, please feel free to like, share, comment, or email me with any comments or questions you might have.


Brian Lansing


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