Three heavy hitters to keep in your laker lure lineup this winter
#3 LIPLESS CRANKBAITS
Over the past few years, lipless crankbaits have become more popular as they’ve gotten slimmer, sleeker and more vibrant. When ciscoes and shiners dominate the forage base, I find the Nishine Simcoe 75 in the ghost shad pattern (above) is in a class of its own. When lakers cruise shallow structures in Shield lakes at sunset, meanwhile, the perch hue is killer. The trout will gobble up the hapless perch imitations like so many pistachio nuts spilled on the kitchen table.
The funny thing about lipless crankbaits, though, is that lakers are either on them or they aren’t—there never seems to be a happy medium. One day last winter, for example, I crushed a buddy who was fishing with me by icing a trio of 15-pound trout in less than 90 minutes using lipless cranks. Over the next two days, however, I couldn’t buy a bite with the same lures. I’m certain it was the dreary cloud cover the first day that made the trout active, with the vibrating crank capturing their attention. When it turned sunny and bright the next two days, however, the vibration was apparently too much. The key here is deciding when best to put lipless cranks into your lineup.