Mackinaw or lake trout are the species most anglers catch in the waters of the lake. Though Mackinaw are an imported species they are now the predominate game fish here. In fact, the Idaho state record of 57 1ž2 pounds was caught at Priest Lake in 1971, just over three decades ago.
That’s about how long angler Rich Lindsey of Blue Ribbon Charters has been guiding in northern Idaho. And during those thirty years he and his clients have caught numerous trophy size Mackinaw of twenty pounds and up. Even Rich’s daughter Jennifer is a member of the twenty pound club.
“I think I was seven or eight, fishing in Cavanaugh bay. I got a fish and it was pulling hard. I told my dad I had a big fish but he was busy with his clients. The next thing we knew the boat was being pulled by the fish….it
ended up being a 32 pound Mackinaw.”
Jennifer and her dad Rich have a lot of fishing tales
about Priest Lake. Rich spends countless hours on the water showing people
how to catch Mackinaw using deep water trolling methods. The fish are often found
at depths of a hundred feet or more.
Vertical jigging is another style Rich
works well here. “Lake trout are a deep water fish, they’re not a speedy or flashy
fighter. They want to pull to go back to the bottom. The real fun is when I can
put somebody on a big fish, a twenty-pounder or better, they’re huge. How many
people have seen a twenty pound trout?”