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Isle Royale Lake Trout Adventure

Jake Romanack from Fishing 411 TV is no stranger to some of the most unique fishing adventures on the Great Lakes.  One of his most memorable trips is a 55-mile crossing of Lake Superior from Michigan’s Keweenaw Peninsula to Isle Royale in pursuit of lake trout with Captain Travis White. Isle Royale is a 200 square mile island in the northern waters of Lake Superior.  

romanack-boat-superior.jpgThere are no permanent inhabitants on the island but park rangers are present most of the year.  Isle Royale is a national park and it does attract tourists during the summer but Romanack’s trip occurred in late May.  He and his team had the island nearly all to themselves. We recently interviewed Romanack for the Great Lakes Fishing Podcast.  “The only people that were there were park rangers and a guy that was running the gas dock. If you’re looking to go there and not see another soul, that May timeframe is a good time to do that.”

But this isn’t a trip that can be executed on a whim.  There is no food or even running water on the island. “We planned that trip for about six months and that’s kind of what it takes to do a trip of this size,” said Romanack.  “You have to bring all the food with you. And just the little things; bringing spare props, bringing extra oil for the Evinrudes, bringing all the stuff you need because when you’re out there if you don’t have it you’re simply out of luck.”

The fishing made it all worth it.  White and Romanack were jigging lake trout in deep water and the action was fast.  “We were looking at between 90 and 150 feet of water. We drove around looking for structure and we would find these humps out in the middle of nowhere.  We would drive around structure looking to see if we could mark fish on that structure. If it was a shallower part of the structure we would cast to it using big, heavy jigs and making long casts, letting that jig fall all the way to the bottom and then lifting up and feeling that “tunk” on the line.  If we were deeper we would get right over the top of those fish and vertical jig them.”

romanack-laker.jpg“These fish are unpressured.  You’re fishing fish that have probably never seen a bait in their entire life.  Isle Royale is a wilderness experience and there is so much water out there. It’s not like there are only one or two humps these fish are on.”  

According to Romanack, big jigs are key on Lake Superior.  “Superior has really big forage. That herring forage in Lake Superior is very important for the lake trout population.  The lake trout in Lake Superior eat very big fish. So we use plastics that are big, more like your musky style bait than you would think if you were lake trout fishing in just about anywhere else in the Great Lakes.”

Want to hear more about Romanack’s Isle Royale lake trout fishing trip?  Check out the full podcast episode by pressing play on the player below.  


You can watch the full episode from Fishing 411 TV on YouTube.  Press play below.