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How to Fish the "Deep" Flats of Lake Superior

Posted by 
August 20, 2014
4029   Comment

I know when you hear the words "fishing the flats" you are thinking somewhere tropical, but Lake Superior has its own version. The flats on Superior are opposite of what you would think of fishing in the salt. Instead of being in just a few feet of crystal clear water, the Superior flats are 100 feet deep and turquoise in color as far as you can see. On the southeast side of Madeline Island, fishermen frequent the flats in search of lake trout. While the action on the flats seems to start around July, the best fishing for Lakers continues into the fall.

Downriggers Needed

FishLakeSuperiorFlats blogSeeing as the flats are 100 feet deep, you are going to need a set of downriggers to reach the fish. I have heard of people using dipsy's and other divers to catch fish on the flats, but a dependable set of downriggers and 10-pound rigger weights will be your best bet. Depending on the size of your boat, you can use a set of outriggers (side) and downriggers (back) to get more lines to the bottom.

How to Fish the Flats

To actually fish the flats is a relatively easy process. Let your lines out 15 feet, attach them to the rigger clips, drop the downrigger weights down to the bottom and drive. You want the rigger weights bouncing on the bottom every now and then to stir things up, there is not much for structure on the flats so you do not have to worry about hangups. Trolling between 1.6-2.0 mph seems to be the most productive from my experience but on slow days ramping it up a bit to 2.5 mph has generated a few bites.

Lure Options

As far as lures go for fishing the flats, the Spin-N-Glo has to be my favorite. Troll these lures behind a flashe r or dodger and you are sure to get some attention. Greens, oranges and purples are all productive colors for Spin-N-Glos, and don't forget to have a few glowing varieties.

Spoons are another great option for the flats. All sizes and varieties seem to produce under different conditions so having a few options and colors is a good idea. I like to combine my spoons with a small (4-inch) dodger just to give them a little more action on the bottom.

Lake Superior has many great fishing options available. Having the set up to take advantage of all the lake has to offer increases the opportunities to meet up with a greater variety of fish and also gives you options depending on weather and wind/wave conditions.


Tagged under Read 4029 times Last modified on September 11, 2017
Jason Akl

Jason Akl is a writer, commercial fly tyer and guide with 15 years in the industry. Professionally, he's been a seasonal guide and fly tier that ties commercially and teaches tying classes to both adults and children. Most of his flies make their homes in fly shops in the northern Midwest but some have found their way as far as Europe. As a freelance writer, he's had many written pieces appear in both Canadian and American publications, as well as numerous global websites. When not on the bench or behind the computer, he spends time working with companies such as Daiichi Hooks or the American Tackle Co as part of their pro-staff doing product testing pieces and seminar

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