Written by: Brian Kozminski, True North Trout
November fishing can be some of the most spectacular in northern Michigan. Last week, we were catching 20-inch fall back browns (heading back to the lake after spawning) on the upper Manistee, and this past weekend felt perfect for splake. The MDNR stocks thousands of these genetic, sterile hybrids of a male brook trout and female lake trout each year in some of our deeper, cold water lakes. This is a fish that grows rapidly and will readily chase a fly.
To catch splake, I like to work deep banks and cuts or near feeder streams, and you can often see the fish in this particular lake coming out of the shadows and chasing your best large baitfish imitation. Fishing from a boat can give you a better visible line on the fish and habitat, as well as mobility, but I have seen anglers fish from shore, most often using spawn or perch minnows. It seems that the best days for catching splake feature less-than-desirable weather patterns; wind, hail, and chop make for exciting streamer action for these aggressive over-size hybrid trout.
Most anglers use a 6- to 9-weight rod, with a sinking line (such as the TITAN taper from Scientific Anglers), which makes for a nice roll-and-shoot cast in open water. The 20-plus-incher above smashed a white Circus Peanut within two strips and made a few determined dives before coming to the net.
Brian Kozminski, “Koz” to his friends, owns and operates True North Trout guide service in Boyne City, Michigan.