Regional Reports-Midwest

Higgins Lake

February is the Holy Month for lake trout fanatics like Dave Jackson. Owner of the Sports Barn in Roscommon, Jackson divides time between his tackle shop and nearby Higgins Lake. The 9,600-acre lake has a solid reputation for producing hard-water lakers and Jackson chases them whenever he can. "It's not an easy lake to fish," he says. "But there are fish over twenty pounds out there. The average laker weighs about eight pounds. People who put in their time can get into some nice ones." Jackson looks for lakers in deep holes ranging from 75 to 135 feet deep. "You can catch some perch, too, if you stay a little more shallow," he says. "If you want just lake trout, fish deep." Jackson likes to watch a tip-up while jig-fishing. (You are allowed two lines.) He rigs his tip-up with 20-pound-test Dacron line tied to an egg sinker, then runs a section of mono (8-pound-test maximum) from the sinker as a leader. Baitfish, like gray shiners, on treble hooks are the medicine on Higgins. Jig-fishing is catching on in popularity on Higgins, according to Jackson. "A pearl- or iridescent-colored Swedish Pimple about three and a half inches long tipped with a shiner can be good. The best color jig depends on the day and who you ask."