ZANDERLAND - Species - Brown trout and landlocked salmon - Salmonoids devour baitfish


Tampere Region - Finland


Salmonoids devour baitfish

The landlocked salmon is the freshwater form of salmon, left over from the Ice Age in the Vuoksi water area. The species was almost wiped out before people managed to save it through fish farming.

The landlocked salmon grows fast, at best even twice as fast as brown trout. This is particularly true in lakes with good stocks of vendace. In good conditions, salmon can reach a weight of 4–5 kg over a couple of summers in the lake. Salmon that have been in the lake for three years weigh 5–8 kg. The size of a landlocked salmon that has bitten a lure after four years in the lake is therefore the stuff that fishing legends are made of.

The landlocked salmon is a species seen in open lake areas even more than brown trout. It is advisable to entice salmon above large deeps and on the edges of them. Salmon most commonly bite where there are 20–60 metres of water under the keel. Although it is possible to catch salmon at any hour, early to late morning is the best fishing time. Salmon come to the surface when waters are cold in early summer and late autumn, which are absolutely the best seasons. In summer and early autumn, lures are adjusted to 5–15 metres with divers and downriggers.

Landlocked salmon.
Baitfish rigs also for brown trout and pike

Trolling with baitfish rigs has very quickly become very popular in salmon waters. At present, even more than half of active salmonoid trollers have switched to using baitfish rigs. Baitfish rigs also appeal to pike and zander.

A modern baitfish rig consists of one or two size 4–6 treble hooks, a leader equipped with a swivel and a plastic head, which come in different shapes and colours. The baitfish is locked to the plastic head with a small stick and one of the legs of the treble hook is inserted into the side of the bait just above the lateral line, 1–2 cm behind the dorsal fin. The leader running from the hook through the plastic head is tightened so as to make the baitfish arch slightly. This is how you make the baitfish rig swim with good revolving movements.

Baitfish are bright: vendace, bleak, roach or Baltic herring. The best bait is a freshly caught baitfish. Vendace, the most popular food fish for salmonoids, is a good bait. The benefit of cyprinids, on the other hand, is that they are more durable. In most cases, you need to use baitfish acquired in advance, which are then frozen to preserve them. If you are not successful in catching baitfish yourself, vacuum- or plate-frozen bleak are available from fishing tackle shops. The baitfish used for trolling salmonoids are 10–15 cm in size.

You can offer larger baits to pike. A larger baitfish may well also entice large brown trout and landlocked salmon, especially in late autumn. It is advisable to handle baitfish with care, in order to keep their scaly coating as intact as possible.

Sizeable brown trout are the most sought-after catches on Lake Näsijärvi.

Baitfish rigs also work for mixed trolling

Many anglers troll baitfish rigs extremely slowly, even at a crawl. In mixed trolling, where some lines are equipped with plugs or spoons, the boat should move faster. You can certainly troll baitfish rigs at a normal speed too and still get the fish to bite. The trolling speed determines the adjustment of the baitfish. The slower the speed, the more arched the baitfish should be. The swim is suitable when the fish rotates a few times per second. If you troll at the surface, it is advisable to attach a small weight to the line above the rig, because the gulls are just as eager to strike the bait as the fish. And then it’s time to give it a go. The use of natural bait is part of our most ancient fishing culture. After all, it was our ancestors who were really keen anglers.
In terms of brown trout, the current situation on Lake Näsijärvi is quite good. Brown trout are fat and in good condition thanks to the strengthened stock of vendace. During last years, Lake ‘Nassy’ has yielded good catches of 1–3-kilo brown trout, as well as salmon, in addition to a few more sizeable specimens. Since growth is fast, you might want to consider renewing your lines on the spools of your multiplying reel for next autumn.
The baitfish rig has proven to be an efficient lure.