Slipping Into The Depths With Inland Trout: Bobber Fishing Browns & Bows

Fresh off a successful adventure, I felt obligated to give you a rundown from a memorable day of targeting trout roaming in deep, clear water. I didn’t catch any monsters but I did fish new waters while applying a familiar technique in an unfamiliar way.

The lake I chose holds catchable-size rainbow and brown trout that are stocked regularly, and have been for over 100 years. With gin clear water and a healthy population of trout, other lake residents include bass, northern pike, walleye, and panfish. Truthfully, I wanted to bring equipment to target each of the species mentioned, but I was fishing from a kayak so being selective with tackle choices was critical. 

Knowing this, I loaded up with limited tackle, a paddle, two rods, fresh minnows, snacks, a life jacket, and a portable fish finder to help gauge depth. 

Listen To Your Elders

I connected a small 12v battery to my fish finder and used an old cooler for storage.

As I got to the public access, I sparked up a conversation with a grizzled old man who had just finished loading his boat back on the trailer. After a short chat, mostly about fishing, he filled me in on his proven pattern for this highly pressured trout lake. Hovering slip bobbers tipped with small minnows in 30-40 feet of water was routinely catching his limit of trout, especially if he kept the minnows positioned 2-4 feet off the bottom. I know anglers are notorious for making stuff up, but this guy had the look, smell, and most importantly, the pictures to prove his fishy claims.

Rigged And Ready To Roll

Keeping small fathead minnows suspended below slip bobbers while sitting 1-3 feet off bottom caught most fish.

After rigging two slip bobbers on my light action rods spooled with 4lb line, I embarked on the quest for deep roaming trout. I launched my kayak, established depths, and then surveyed the lake for any noticeable landmarks on the shore. Remembering a landmark on the shore helped me keep a frame of reference and stay positioned in the right areas. After that, I started drifting over target areas with my kayak facing into the wind to better help with boat positioning. I would start on one side and let the wind slowly blow me across the lake while occasionally paddling to maintain a straight pass.

Floating Through The Zone

Pulling trout up from 30+ feet on 4lb line and a light-powered spinning rod turns it into a battle.

I felt out of my element that far from shore and away from any noticeable fishing hotspots, but after getting my bearings straight and reminding myself to stay confident in the program, the trout came knocking. The dangling fathead minnows suspended deep below my cork bobber started getting annihilated by hungry rainbows and browns on nearly every pass across the lake. It took a while, but after a few hours of drift fishing, my limit of trout was in the box, and I headed back towards shore.

This quick afternoon floating around the lake reminded me to try new stuff, believe in the program, and listen to the old man sharing fish stories at the boat ramp.

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