The Lake Trout of Stannard Rock
Jake’s super tanker lake trout weighed in at 35.9 pounds making it the biggest fresh water fish we have ever caught while filming an episode of Fishing 411 TV.
The Great Lakes are full of iconic fishing spots that every avid angler should visit at least once. The famed Stannard Rock of Lake Superior is one of those “must fish” destinations. Named after Captain Charles Stannard who is credited with discovering this rock reef in the middle of Lake Superior. The Stannard Rock light was built as a shipping aid in 1883 and operated as a manned lighthouse until 1962 when the US Coast Guard converted it to an automated light.
The light is 24 miles from the nearest point of land, making Stannard Rock Light the furthest lighthouse from shore in the United States. The story about Stannard Rock Light and how it was built is interesting, but not as interesting as the lake trout that call this region of Lake Superior home.
Most of the anglers who fish Stannard Rock leave out of Marquette, Michigan which is just under 50 miles away. On our adventure we left out of Lac La Belle in the Keweenaw Peninsula which is 37.5 miles from Stannard Rock.
It’s interesting to note that the Michigan State record for lake trout is a 61.5 pound monster caught back in 1997 on Lake Superior. The fish was rumored to have been caught at Stannard Rock and based on my experience fishing this area, I’m completely in support of this theory. I’ve been blessed to have fished Stannard Rock six times in my career and every trip has proved fruitful. My personal best is a 23 pounder, but someone in our group has landed an epic fish over 30 pounds in two or those six trips!
Travis White of www.keewenawcharters.com is a trophy lake trout specialist. His casting tactics helped the Fishing 411 team create a TV episode that had to be seen to be believed.
Recently Captain Travis White, www.keweenawcharters.com, guided the Fishing 411 crew to Stannard Rock in hopes of showcasing this amazing fishery. Travis is a life long resident of the Upper Peninsula, a Michigan Tech graduate and co-founder of ProNav GPS Trolling Motor Systems. Very few anglers have spent more time at Stannard Rock than Travis who is literally in love with the native “mackinaws” of Lake Superior.
To maximize our chances of catching noteworthy trout we opted to take two boats, two videographers (one for each boat) and four anglers on this particular trip. Five minutes into day one, I found myself doing battle with what turned out to be my personal best at the Rock, a 23 pound giant. The fish was caught vertical jigging with a 5 inch white paddle tail tipped with a 4 inch sucker minnow cured using Pro Cure Brine n Bite.
After a quick video interview and photo session this beast was released. A lake trout of this size could easily be 40 to 50 years of age in Lake Superior where the growth rate is estimated to be just half a pound a year! To say we were a little pumped up would have been a major understatement, but reality would soon set in.
With the iconic Stannard Rock Light in the background, Dale Voice of Cadillac caught this impressive native Lake Superior lake trout casting a jig and swimbait combination at sunrise.
The rest of the day my partner Dale Voice and I caught lake trout almost at will, but we didn’t boat anything over five pounds the rest of the day. When we hooked up with Jake and Travis late in the day they had boated two quality fish and like us were plagued with tons of small lake trout in the three to five pound range.
On the long ride back to shore we had lots of time to think about our approach for day two. Both the big fish boated by Jake and Travis where caught casting jigs and targeting suspended fish. My big fish was caught vertical jigging on bottom.
This 23 pound laker boated by the author in the first five minutes, proved to be just the tip of the iceberg on the recent Stannard Rock adventure. Before the dust would settle, the Fishing 411 team would boat several more fish of this caliber and even bigger fish!
On day two we decided to put more emphasis on casting and less effort into vertical jigging. Dale and I quickly found ourselves catching lots of small trout again. We would make a long cast, let the jig sink to bottom and then slowly reel it back to the boat. Most of our bites came near the boat as the jig was just becoming visible. We moved often, used our Lowrance HDS sonar to locate fish and then camped on those fish using the MotorGuide Xi5 in “anchor” mode when we would find a pocket of fish.
This run and gun strategy proved deadly on numbers, but neither Dale or I caught a big fish on day two. Meanwhile, Jake and Travis were having a much different day. Right out of the get go they got on a pod of big fish and put on a clinic using some unique casting tactics for trophy lake trout. Jake and Travis teamed up to land eight quality fish, five over 20 pounds and topped off the day with Jake’s massive 35.9 pound mega giant. Jake released this behemoth, a trout that would be estimated to be over 60 years of age!
It was late on day two when this news reached us as my VHF radio was on the fritz. Jake’s lake trout is not only the catch of a lifetime, it currently ranks as the largest freshwater fish we have caught on Fishing 411! Mari’s mako shark from southern California still holds the record for the biggest fish caught on camera.
The video captured during these two days of filming will appear on not one, but two television programs. Michigan Out-of-Doors TV will run a segment based on this adventure shortly and Fishing 411 TV will air a full episode on World Fishing Network outlining in detail all the tricks used to catch these amazing fish in January 2018 as part of season 11.
Looking ahead, topping the catch that Travis and Jake put together is going to be almost impossible. The five biggest trout landed tipped the scales at over 120 pounds! Our goal going into this trip was to showcase what Stannard Rock is all about and why this fishery is so special. Everyone at Fishing 411 TV and Michigan Out-of-Doors TV agrees this adventure exceeded our wildest expectations.
*Special thanks to Lac La Belle Lodge for assisting with lodging for our crew! The secluded resort has direct water access to Lake Superior and is a great facility! http://laclabellelodge.com