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This week's Feature Blog

Using Spin-n-Glo to Catch Great Lakes Trout

By: Mark Romanack

The author has been catching lake trout using the Spin-n-Glo for more than 30 years. Some presentations just can’t be improved upon.

When it comes to catching lake trout in the Great Lakes, no other lure can compare to the Yakima Bait Spin-n-Glo. This iconic bait float and trolling attractor has been catching lake trout in the Great Lakes dating back to the early 1950’s. That’s more than a decade before Pacific salmon were introduced in the 1960’s.

Most commonly fished in combination with a short fluorocarbon leader trailing behind an attractor such as a herring dodger, rotating flasher or Big Al Fish Flash, the flash given off by these attractors pulls in fish from great distances and the seductive Spin-n-Glo seals the deal!


When the Spin-n-Glo is fished in combination with attractors, various rigging options are employed. When fished with a herring dodger, the Spin-n-Glo is typically threaded onto a 20 pound test leader of fluorocarbon line 12 to 24 inches in length. At the business end either a pair of No. 2/0 single octopus style hooks or a No. 2 treble hook is routinely used. A small bead is threaded onto the line after the hooks are spelled in place to act as a bushing for the Spin-n-Glo to spin against. Adding the bead is an important step to insuring the Spin-n-Glo enjoys smooth and continuous rotation at all trolling speeds.

The length of the leader controls the action of the Spin-n-Glo. With shorter leaders in the 12 to 18 inch range, the Spin-n-Glo snaps back and forth violently imitating darting baitfish. Extending the length of the leader out to 24 inches, softens the snap and creates a slower moving target that’s desirable when trout are lethargic and not feeding actively.

Herring dodgers are very speed sensitive and produce best on lake trout when trolled at 1.6 to 2.0 MPH. This set up is most commonly fished in conjunction with a downrigger that allows the dodger and Spin-n-Glo presentation to be fished within a few feet of bottom.

Veteran trout trollers set their downrigger weights close enough to the bottom that the ball and trailing dodger/Spin-n-Glo combination can make contact with the bottom every few feet, kicking up sediment and making it look like a school of trout are actively foraging on the bottom.

Skipping bottom works best when trout are found on silt, sand or gravel bottom substrates. When trout are using bottom structure that is strewn with chunk rock or boulders, it’s best to position the dodger/Spin-n-Glo a few feet off bottom to avoid snags.

Slow trolling with Spin-n-Glo attractors is without question the “go to” method for catching lake trout in the Great Lakes.


The rigging options used for fishing Spin-n-Glo with rotating style flashers is similar to those used for herring dodgers. The same leader lengths and hook options apply. The biggest difference is that a rotating flasher can be trolled at much faster speeds than a herring dodger.

Anglers who are trying to target trout and also salmon at the same time, routinely employ the rotating flasher and increase trolling speeds from 2.0 to 2.8 MPH. The increased trolling speeds possible with the rotating flasher allows anglers to fish other speed sensitive lures such as trolling spoons in the same trolling pattern.


When using the Big Al Fish Flash in combination with the Spin-n-Glo, a 20 pound leader of fluorocarbon line is recommended. The same hook sizes and types used with herring dodgers and rotating flashers apply. Because Fish Flash produces much more flash than other attractors, it’s typically best to use a longer leader in the 36 to 72 inch range. Also, because most Great Lakes waters are exceptionally clear, a longer leader routinely works better when using Fish Flash in combination with the Spin-n-Glo.

The size of the Fish Flash also varies depending on water depth and water clarity. In general, the smaller four and six inch sizes of the Fish Flash are better producers in shallow water and when the water is very clear. In deeper water or off color water, the six and eight inch Fish Flash sizes routinely work best.

The Fish Flash and Spin-n-Glo combination can be trolled at a wide range of speeds ranging from 1.6 to 2.8 MPH with great results.


The most common Spin-n-Glo models used to target lake trout are the No. 4, No. 2 and the No. 0 sizes. Smaller and larger sizes of the Spin-n-Glo can also be used for lake trout, but experience has proven that these three sizes produce the majority of the fish.

Lake trout like this one caught by Jake Romanack are commonly caught using the iconic Yakima Bait Spin-n-Glo.


One of the biggest advantages of the Spin-n-Glo is they come in a host of fish catching body and wing color combinations. A few of the color combinations that could be considered “lake trout candy” include the white wing, lime/chartreuse tiger, white wing, lime/chartreuse, white wing, clown, white wing, double trouble green, black wing, lime/chartreuse tiger, black wing, metallic gold green pirate, silver wing, clown, silver wing, luminous spot, silver wing, glitter green chartreuse, just to name a few.

Don’t over look however the newer chartreuse, glow and also pink wing models. These newer colors have proven themselves as reliable lake trout producers in a very short time.


The Spin-n-Glo is routinely fished near bottom with the help of a downrigger, but all of the presentations described here can also be fished in combination with diving planers, lead core line, stranded copper line and the newer weighted stainless steel wire lines. Diving planers are useful for spreading out gear in the water column and also covering more water. Sinking likes such as lead core are routinely fished in combination with in-line boards to further spread out gear and cover the maximum amount of water.


When it comes to catching lake trout in the Great Lakes, no other lure can match the day in and day out success of the Spin-n-Glo. If there was a hall of fame for Great Lakes trolling lures, the Spin-n-Glo would be the first lure inducted hands down!


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