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Fall Splake Fishing

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Fall Splake Fishing

Splake caught on spinner and minnow

Splake are hatchery made cross between a brook trout and lake trout, and here are the top two ways to catch them this fall.

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The splake is a fish that doesn't get the attention it deserves from Ontario anglers.  These fish are a hatchery made cross between a brook trout and lake troutThe Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry has been stocking the splake across the province for decades. They are generally put in lakes that aren't well suited for brook trout, but have the potential for a put and take trout fishery. Splake are great eating, and are generally willing biters. They also can grow to a good size, topping ten pounds if the food, temperature  and conditions are right.  

When it comes to fishing for splake, they do have a bit more in common with lake trout than brookies. What that means for the fall angler is the fish will start to move shallower as the water cools. When I say shallow, I mean from 10 to 20 feet. Although splake will slide up shallower than that, they tend not to rule the inshore areas like brookies do. Splake are more liable to cruise flats, or hug the edges of reefs or rock piles. They also like to school and are often found in small groups. In some super clear lakes, you can see these schools of fish working like a pack of wolves. Find splake "packing up"  and you will get bit!

There are two top ways to catch splake in the fall. The first technique is to fan cast lures over likely looking spots. The classic technique is to cast a spoon, and work it back with a straight, steady retrieve.  Spoons such as the Little Cleo, Krocodile, EGB and Len Thompson all fit the bill. The spoons need to be heavy enough to get down a bit deeper in the water column than a traditional brook trout spoon. That's because splake will tend to hug the bottom a bit more than brookies. Silver spoons with a splash of colour like red, orange or chartreuse are a good choice. Splake do like a little colour. You can also cast crankbaits such as the Rapala Husky Jerk or XRap. These lures work well when the splake are extra aggressive and are actively feeding.

Gord Ellis with fall splake

The other technique that works extremely well is to troll a spinner with a minnow.  There are any number of  spinner rigs that will work including the Little Joe and various other walleye style spinners. However, the best splake tolling technique is done with a Mepps Comet spinner size #3 or #4 with 3 or 4 inch minnow as trailing bait. The Mepps Comet has the ability to unscrew where the treble is located,  allowing for the addition of other styles and sizes of hooks.

If you get a long shank hook or strip on style wire with treble, you can thread a minnow up the hook and then put it back on the Comet spinner.  You get far more solid hook ups with a threaded on minnow as the splake can't pull the bait off. Splake seem to smell the bait and will often follow the spinner for some time before eating it. Make sure you troll the spinner fast enough that the blade is turning, but not so fast that the fish can't catch it. Generally 1.5 to 2 miles an hour is about right for spinner trolling. You may need to add a few split shot to get the spinner rig down deeper. White and red dotted spinner blades have proven to be  great, but silver brass and red work as well.

Splake that hit a spinner winnow combo

Splake are stocked throughout the province, and the lakes that hold them are usually easy to access. The best tool for locating stocked lakes is Ontario's Fish Online website. It shows you the lakes that are stocked in your chosen area, as well as annual stocking numbers .  It's an indispensible guide to the province's wild and stocked fisheries.    

Good luck with catching splake this fall. They are a great game fish, and oh so fine on the table.

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