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Thread: Denali Highway Lakes

  1. #1
    Member Jackson's Dad's Avatar
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    Question Denali Highway Lakes

    Hello Folks,

    I am wondering if anyone can offer advice on lure selection for Lake Trout. I started fishing the lakes/streams off of the Denali Highway last summer and was mainly targeting grayling. I have a good assortment of small panther martins and a few small kastmasters that seemed to work pretty well. When I would work lakes for Lake Trout my success was pretty mixed, probably cuz I was using the wrong gear.

    Will larger spinners do the trick? Switch to spoons? Something different completely? I am generally hiking in and fishing from shore, so is it a lost cause anyway? I know the trout are near shore as the ice is going out and my understanding is that the Lakers then move to deeper water, ie the middle. Since I am schlepping in all of my gear and camping stuff I want to keep it as light as possible but still carry good gear. Even advice on color combinations would help.

    Thanks for any input you can provide!
    “The mountains are calling and I must go.” - John Muir

    "Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt." - Abraham Lincoln

  2. #2

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    There are some real HOGS in those lakes. We (Long ago) used meat, guts out of Grayling or small Trout on treble hooks, mostly set lines tied to stakes.

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    Thanks for the input. You think that is the best way to go? Just skip the lures and concentrate on bait?

    I am not out for trophy fish, I just like fishing!
    “The mountains are calling and I must go.” - John Muir

    "Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt." - Abraham Lincoln

  4. #4

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    Well, we were meat fishing, we would leave the sets over night. I know that there are 30# plus fish in those lakes, and the very best fishing is as you said, as the ice recedes, and up to 10 days'ish after the ice is out. I have often wondered if there is any relation to the feeding of the trout and the sound the ice makes as it candles, and the wind blows it around sounding like a million tons of crushed glass. My guess is the Grimes Boys know more about those lakes than anyone still alive. Good fishing.

  5. #5

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    I've hit the lakes along the eastern end of the Denali Hwy the first and second week of September with great succcess for lakers. At that time of year they tend to school up and cruise rocky and relatively shallow points ... I've even picked them up on a flyrod with streamers on floating line. 1/4 oz rooster tail spinners also worked very well for me, any color worked. Again this was in early September ... I haven't been there immediately after breakup. I typically would fish from a canoe and drift across the points making casts in all directions. You could easily make your way by shore to the various points at all the lakes up there, but be rather stealthy and make casts as you approach ... like I said they will be cruising all around and can sometimes be surprisingly shallow. Fall is a beautiful time of year to be up on the Hwy and I try to plan a trip like that every year. Good luck to ya.
    T

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    When I go through the Yukon each year in september I have had very good luck with 1/4 oz Kastmasters, 2 1/2 in Buzz Bombs, and 1/4 oz Krocodiles. I have tried using larger lures, like 4 in Buzz Bombs, but if you hook a smaller fish it tears their mouth up (and larger fish will usually take a small lure just as much as a bigger one).
    If you are fishing lakes with grayling or suckers as a major food souce, I have found that bronze and gold works better, but if the main food is whitefish, go with silver.
    If you are fishing smaller, or darker colored lakes, another good color is black, which seems to represent a juvenile laker or possibly a leech. Off-color lakes also seem to have more grayling and suckers in them, so I have found gold works better.
    In super clear lakes, most fish are brighter, and there seem to be little or no leeches, so I have had almost no luck with black. Silver and light gold seem to work much better in these situations.
    Small red and white Daredevils have always worked good for me, too. Remember, if you are fishing from shore, you want heavier lures than if you are fishing from a boat or a canoe. The heavier the lure, the further you can cast it. It is because of this that I don not like spinners, though they work perfectly fine if you are in a boat.
    Also, I would use as light of a rod as possible, because you can cast a small lure better on them. And, seriously, lake trout don't fight that hard. I have landed multiple 26"+ lake trout on my UL spinning rod with ease, though if you are fishing for true monsters (20+lbs), a medium-heavy weight rod would be better. The rod I have used for years is a 5'6" UL rod with 6lb line.

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    Member Jackson's Dad's Avatar
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    Smile Thanks

    Thanks for all of the info, this is exactly what I was hoping to find out. Sharing your knowledge is much appreciated! Now if only spring would come......
    “The mountains are calling and I must go.” - John Muir

    "Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt." - Abraham Lincoln

  8. #8

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    What is the largest/heaviest you know of coming out of the large lakes just South of Denali Haul Road (It's old name before it became a Highway).

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    I normally toss a line in with some sort of bait on it then grab my other rod and cast spinners, rapalas, spoons, and even a floating mouse lure once. All of them have worked but the bait always catches the most and the largest lakers for me.

    I have not put much effort into figuring lakers out but plan on it one of these days.

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    Quote Originally Posted by broncoformudv View Post
    I normally toss a line in with some sort of bait on it then grab my other rod and cast spinners, rapalas, spoons, and even a floating mouse lure once. All of them have worked but the bait always catches the most and the largest lakers for me.

    I have not put much effort into figuring lakers out but plan on it one of these days.
    I hope you mean that you are taking the rod with bait out of the water before casting with lures.
    Statewide regulations say "Sport fishing may only be conducted by the use of a SINGLE LINE having attached to it not more than one plug, spoon, spinner, or series of spinners, or two flies, or two hooks."

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    Quote Originally Posted by ak char View Post
    I hope you mean that you are taking the rod with bait out of the water before casting with lures.
    Statewide regulations say "Sport fishing may only be conducted by the use of a SINGLE LINE having attached to it not more than one plug, spoon, spinner, or series of spinners, or two flies, or two hooks."
    This is true if there is only one person but when you have your family out there and 3 out of the 5 of you are casting lures you can have another line or two in the water with bait. But thanks for watching out for me!

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    Sorry, guess I jumped to conclusions too soon.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AGL4now View Post
    What is the largest/heaviest you know of coming out of the large lakes just South of Denali Haul Road (It's old name before it became a Highway).

    I have never heard of any sizes being quoted but I have seen a few pictures of 20lbs or so. There are some decent size lakes south of the highway and some have good numbers of feeder fish as well as a decent amount of them and little to no fishing pressure so the potential is there if you put in the time. One of these days I will put some effort into figuring them out and seeing which lakes have the best fishing.
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    Member Jackson's Dad's Avatar
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    bronco, I agree that there are probably some pretty good fish in there. Most of the spots are fairly off the road and people are usually only getting to them during hunting season (I think). The Tangles are probably the exception, getting more pressure on a seasonal basis from what I have seen. Some of the spots are far enough out of the way that they are only hit by fly in services according to the books I have read. In any case, I am gonna spend time over the next few years exploring and fishing. Gotta love google earth!

    So what do you all think makes the best habitat? You think that any of the stand alone lakes will have anything in them or the best bet being a lake that has some sort of stream/creek feeding in/out? I am wondering how important having a grayling population is to provide a foodsource.

    In any case there sure is a lot of country to cover, both north and south of the road. Gonna be fun.
    “The mountains are calling and I must go.” - John Muir

    "Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt." - Abraham Lincoln

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    i've pounded them lakes ...i will only give up info on a face to face at the lauch point...
    WHEN IN DOUBT> THROTTLE OUT.......

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    atv, can't blame ya for that!
    “The mountains are calling and I must go.” - John Muir

    "Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt." - Abraham Lincoln

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    Quote Originally Posted by atvalaska View Post
    i've pounded them lakes ...i will only give up info on a face to face at the lauch point...

    Pounded.....what is Pounded......? Twenty set lines......?

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    Quote Originally Posted by AGL4now View Post
    Pounded.....what is Pounded......? Twenty set lines......?
    pounded


    Main Entry: 3pound
    Function: verb
    Etymology: alteration of Middle English pounen, from Old English pūnian
    Date: 1594
    transitive verb 1 : to reduce to powder or pulp by beating
    2 a : to strike heavily or repeatedly b : to produce with or as if with repeated vigorous strokes —usually used with out <pound out a story on the typewriter> c : to inculcate by insistent repetition : <day after day the facts were pounded home to them — Ivy B. Priest> d : to move, throw, or carry forcefully and aggressively <pound the ball down the field>
    3 : to move along heavily or persistently <pounded the pavement looking for work>
    4 : to drink or consume rapidly : <pound down some beers>intransitive verb 1 : to strike heavy repeated blows
    2 : <my heart was pounding>
    3 a : to move with or make a heavy repetitive sound b : to work hard and continuously —



    #2 & 3b covers it and I like #4 alot
    WHEN IN DOUBT> THROTTLE OUT.......

  19. #19

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    Thanks for the clarification. I have pounded a few beers........

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