By Trevor Sumption
Mild spring weather has created early fishing opportunities throughout the Great Lakes. It seems like most articles I’ve read lately about catching early season salmon and trout focus on using crankbaits or small dodgers with peanut flies. While those two lure types are undeniably very productive, many seasoned captains still prefer a springtime spoon program.
Spoon size is an important consideration. Fishing out of St. Joe, MI in April and May aboard the Sea Screw III, Captain Jerry Lee “matches-the-hatch” and relies on small spoons like Mini-Streaks to imitate the smaller baitfish frequently found in cold spring water. As the water warms he’ll start using standard and mag Silver Streaks, but he’s not afraid to use larger spoons in cold water if larger baitfish are in the area.
Also fishing out of St. Joe in the spring, MI-HI Capt. Steve Martin believes small spoons have the best action when fished on short leads off the downriggers. When fishing smaller spoons, Martin sets his spoons 6-feet behind the cannonballs.
Russell Gahagan, Manager of the Angler’s Avenue tackle store in Sheboygan, WI says that any color spoon will work in the spring – as long as its orange! While some anglers use lighter line when fishing small spoons, Russell still runs 20lb test line. “I feel that individual spoons have the perfect action and produce better than others of the same brand and color. When I find one of those special spoons, I don’t want to lose it!”
Chartering in Lake Huron for over 35-years, Capt. Ed Retherford mixes mini-Streaks with orange Brad’s Thin Fins fished on three and five colors of leadcore off in-line planer boards to catch early season Atlantics and browns in the Alpena area.
I like the simplicity of running a spread of spoons. They catch fish at a wide range of speeds, and if you find yourself on a wide-open coho bite its easier to unhook fish and get lures back in the water fast!