Lake Ontario Brown Trout Fishing…, Tweaking the Sutton SpoonPosted on March 29th, 2011 No comments
As a Lake Ontario charter captain with 30 years of experience under my keel, I’ve been asked many times, “If you had only one spoon to use in Lake Ontario for trout and salmon, what would it be?” Well, to answer that, I’ll take it one step farther. If I had only one spoon to use for trout and salmon anywhere on a flatline, leadcore or copper line, or a downrigger or Dipsy, , it would be an ultralight flutter spoon called a Sutton, in Size #44. If I could select a few different sizes of Suttons, I would add the #31, #71, #88 and #38.
The first time I fished Lake Ontario in September, 1977, with my fishing partner Mac Collins, five out of the six kings my partner and I caught were on a flat silver #88 Sutton. Since then, Sutton spoons in a variety of sizes and stock finishes, plus customized versions I concoct myself, have caught every species of trout and salmon in Lake Ontario for me including, cohos, steelhead, lake trout, domestic rainbow trout, landlocked salmon, several thousand brown trout, plus walleyes and bass.
Suttons, by far, are the most popular trolling spoon for trout and salmon in New York’s Finger Lakes, where they originated many years ago, and continue to be manufactured in Naples, at the south end of Canandaigua Lake. They have had and continue to have one of the finest silver plated finishes on the market.
Suttons are available in both ultralight flutterspoons and heavier casting spoons. They are available in a variety of finishes including flat and hammered silver, brass, copper, silver/brass, and silver/copper depending on the model and size.
My favorite is the ultralight flutterspoon because it can be tweaked to troll properly at speeds from 1.5 – 3.0 mph. These spoons come from the factory with a light treble hook which produces good action at slow speeds. For my purposes on Lake Ontario, I replace the treble on all Sutton spoons with a single Mustad siwash hook. On my favorite, the 3” long #44 Sutton, I use a Size #1, #1/0 or #2/0 depending on the speed I’ll be trolling for different species and the spoon action I’m trying to achieve. With the factory bend and a single # 1 hook, the #44 rigged with a #1 crosslock snap on a light leader will start to spin at 2.0 mph. Small crosslock snaps improve the action of any flutterspoon at slow speeds. Rigged with the same small crosslock snap, but a 1/0 Siwash hook, the #44 will start to spin at 2.3 mph. Rig a #44 Sutton with a #2/0 Siwash hook and a #2 Sampo coastlock ball bearing snap swivel it will wobble up to about 2.7 mph. Flatten the spoon thru the middle and bend back a 3/8” length of the nose of the spoon, and it will wobble up to about 3.0 mph.
For brown trout, tune a Sutton to wobble. King salmon prefer a spoon that wobbles, but will hit spinning spoons when they’re aggressively feeding. Domestic rainbows sometimes prefer a flutterspoon that spins. Vary the size of the Sutton you’re fishing from the smaller, 3” #44 and #31 to the larger #71 and #38 depending on the size of the bait fish trout and salmon are targeting.
One of my my favorite Suttons in Lake Ontario’s gin-clear water when it’s sunny is the stock hammered silver/brass finish. A 1/16” stripe of fluorescent orange paint along the silver edge of a hammered silver/brass Sutton produces more fish in colored water under sunny skies. A flat silver Sutton with a diagonal stripe of light blue lazer tape is one of my favorites for brown trout in clear water and low light. Your own custom touches of tape and paint are sometimes just what the doctor ordered.
I’ll never forget that first Lake Ontario trip with Mac Collins. As he removed a crumpled #88 Sutton from a big king’s toothy maw, I suggested the spoon was ready for the garbage heap. “No way,” Mac said. “This baby is just starting to get a little character!” Mac put another “peppermint twist” in the spoon, rigged it on a downrigger and promptly caught another king on it. You can order Sutton Spoons online at www.allseasonssports.com