The Giants Come Marching In

By: Jim Root , 9:33 PM GMT on March 16, 2014

There are few things more magical than spring in upstate NY. The ice thaws, flowers bloom, and the finger lakes come alive with the most impressive Trout fishing of the year. For just a few short weeks these impressive bruisers will abandon their deep water homes hundreds of feet below the surface for the shallow shores and the bounty of forage held there.

Sunset over Cayuga Lake, Ithaca NY

I learned about this from Dave Tierno, who is one of most knowledgeable anglers in NY. Dave taught myself and Dan Drake where to go, what to use; all things that cut our learning curve way down. As you can see, Dave has been very successful there, having landed this brown trout and many like it. Dave has also bagged giant lake trout and landlocked salmon on his trips here during this time of year.

Dave Tierno with a gigantic Cayuga Lake Brown Trout

I'll admit, Drake got a lot more consumed with this than I did. I can only troll for so long before I get bored, and that's primarily what we do. We might stop and take a few casts from one or two places we have found to have held decent numbers of fish year after year, but otherwise the boat is at a steady 1.9-2.7 mph, with anywhere from 4-6 lines in the water, each tipped with one of our favorite style jerkbaits. Dan and Dave can do this for hours. It's cold, often snowing. The water is likely not yet reached 50F, and we want it to stay cold as long as possible. You want to start in around 10 feet of water and work parallel to the shore. Make a pass and then start to work out deeper. Your best action will come from 5am-11am, and then just before sunset, on overcast days with a little wind. If it is raining or snowing, that's probably even better.

Dobyns Pro Staff Dan Drake with his first Brown over 10lbs

These monsters are only here to breed and chase the tiny baitfish that are there for the same reason. It's something that everyone should see at least once. The water can almost appear to "boil" when they chase the schools of baitfish to the surface. Once the water warms, the baitfish will retreat, and the bigger fish follow. While you can still catch them when they're suspended in 200, 300, even 400 feet or water; it's not the same. This really is the time of year to do it and put an end to your cabin fever.

Dan Dain with his first 5lb brown.

So remember to troll at 1.9-2.7 mph (using a drift sock if you have to), with stick baits that are bright and colorful. I prefer a Yozuri Tobimaru (it's actually a saltwater bait) in the clown color, or a Husky Jerk in chartreuse.

The views of the author are his/her own and do not necessarily represent the position of The Weather Company or its parent, IBM.

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About JimRoot

I'm Jim Root, one of the most published anglers on the topic of fish behavior as it relates to weather conditions. If you have questions let me know!

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