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LIVE ICAST 2018 COVERAGE from Orlando Florida

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Event Article:

Toplining for Elusive Lake Tahoe Brown Trout (continued)


It didn’t take more than five minutes before the outrigger on my side popped and I was given the honor of landing the first fish. “I think it’s a Mack,” Mark said. “Wind those other lines back and let’s get him.” As I reeled the fish back it peeled line off the reel, the drags were set very loose to protect the line and I was barely gaining any ground on the fish. “I’m going to tighten this drag just a tad,” I said. “Go for it, it is your fish to fight,” Mike responded. “Just make sure to not buckle it too far down, these fish will usually run hard right at the boat.”


Mark lands a nice 6.5lb Brown while Zander reels in a second fish during a double hookup


At the same time Mark and Cal were hard at work grinding down the other reels as quickly as they could to clear the lines and provide room for me to fight the fish without risk of tangling up. As Mark cranked the line back he was suddenly hit so hard that the rod almost ripped right out of his hands, we had a double hookup on our hands! “What is going on? This never happens,” Mark yelled. “This is total pandemonium,” he added as he took position right next to me on the back of the boat and we worked both fish in.


Zander lands a nice Mackinaw


The way Mark’s fish was running, it looked like we might have a Brown on the line. The fish kept pulling downwards and away and when we saw the flash all of us cheered as the sight of a healthy seven pound brown appeared. Mark, being an expert on the lake landed a nice 6.5 lb. brown first, thirty seconds later I finally had my fish in the boat and sure enough, it was a Lake Trout. The adrenaline was going now, in the first 5 minutes we had managed to land a Mack and a nice Brown while trolling in shallow water.


Cal works the bait inside the outrigger line


“You know what that means, right?” Cal joked. “Usually when we get a bass on the first cast, it is the last fish of the day.” Mike was confident he knew what the browns wanted now. This one had taken the lure on the fast wind back so he recommended we get even more aggressive with our jerks.


Cal lands a few nice Browns in a row


We set our lines back out and Mike took the boat in extremely tight against the shoreline. The hills were still covered with snow and it was hard to concentrate on fishing with such a picturesque setting unfolding no more than 20 feet in front of us. Even though we were twenty feet from shore the depth would vary from 12-100 feet with numerous shelves and drop-offs. Sure enough, the more aggressive jerking action of the AC Stickbait resulted in more brown trout, the next two were caught by Cal who currently had the hot hand on the boat!


Cal takes over on the helm and checks out the structure below


During the trip Mike gave each of us an opportunity to captain the boat and taught us how to pilot in and around different types of Tahoe underwater structure in order to maximize opportunities to hook up. Mike explained that most clients enjoy trolling with light line tackle more than running leadcore lines for deepwater fish because the ensuing battle is more intense than when fish come up from deep water.


Zander hooks into a Brown on spinning gear


During the day we only ran into two other boats and neither of them had caught any Browns while we had landed four. Two of the five fish Mike had even called in advance as we pulled through some of his most reliable spots. Mike’s understanding and knowledge of the lake was superb and both Cal and I agreed that had we brought our own boat on this trip, we would have most likely not caught any Browns as we would have had a very different game plan.


A forth Brown is landed


The best time to target big Browns on Tahoe is April through June and for Macks, the best time is late June through early Fall, while prime time for Rainbows is right in the middle of Fall. With five quality fish in the boat in just under five hours and four of them Browns, we felt content as we head back to the marina. As we pulled into the slip Mike joked to Mark “some of those new AC Stickbait lures might just have to stay on the boat.” Mark smiled and said “keep them.” 


Mark works lures off the back of the boat at sunset


Conclusion: It is no wonder why trophy Brown Trout Anglers come to the crystal clear blue waters at Tahoe, the Browns that inhabit these waters are absolutely breathtaking, and while they are the hardest trout to catch on Tahoe, the quality and health of the fish is inspiring. Like any other type of fishing, what is “hard” becomes “possible” with the right tackle combined with the right know-how.


With the combination of AC Plug's specially designed baits and Captain Mike's intimate understanding of the lake we accomplished the mission and had a great time out


In our case, we were spoiled with custom lures designed to target Brown trout and Mike Nielsen’s expert guiding. Mike’s reputation as an outstanding guide are well deserved, he is full of great stories and his understanding of the lake and ability to adapt quickly make each and every five hour period a very real opportunity to bag a Brown of a lifetime. It was an absolute pleasure fishing with both Mike and Mark and their collective familiarity of what it takes to catch elusive Lake Tahoe Brown Trout was enough to spoil us… suddenly driving through snow showers to get to Tahoe doesn’t seem so bad at all.


Interested in booking a trout fishing adventure on Lake Tahoe with Captain Mike Nielsen? Visit his Tahoe Topliners site and tell him you want the TackleTour treatment. Next week a Tahoe Brown Trout DVD will be available on his site as well in which Mike is the star and demonstrates how to topline for Browns on Tahoe, and catches some very nice fish in the process. 

 Looking for the AC Plugs Stickbait in the rainbow trout flavor we used? Try AC Plugs










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