how to ice fish for lake trout

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Know your local regulations before keeping fish to eat. But opting out of some of these cookies may have an effect on your browsing experience. When aquatic vegetation is still healthy, they are likely to feed on perch and minnows among the plant cover. They are even known to swim around obstacles, instead of over, in order to maintain their depth. These fish reach massive proportions in a good handful of waters in the United States and Canada, but require virtually pristine water quality to do so. Have more questions? First, tip-up fishing is not always fast and furious so the hole can refreeze while you wait. Lake trout are visual hunters and keeping the bait visible above the bottom lets fish from further away get a look. This website uses cookies to improve your experience while you navigate through the website. Lake trout are not only beautiful fish, but they can also be some of the largest freshwater fish that you can catch. If the fish is rubbing the line on the ice, to prevent the line from breaking, keep constant pressure on the fish by reeling and putting the rod tip under the ice. These cookies will be stored in your browser only with your consent. For Lake Trout, try to stay in 30 to 60 feet and close to shore. As with most fish these lake trout will feed most heavily during the morning and evening hours. Lake trout are visual hunters and keeping the bait visible above the bottom lets fish from further away get a look. “Number one, you have to have good electronics. Place your bait half-way down the water column. Real world tips and information about all things fishing. Always start shallow and work your gear slowly down to the depths. These freshwater fish have dark green bodies and pale yellow spots, and they love cold, deep lake water. Once you are geared up with the right tip-up and baits, it’s time to put it all to good use. Native lake trout are remarkable fish and should be treated with care. Limit the time fish are out of water to less than 30 seconds. Next time you are on the ice chasing lake trout, give it a try. Keep an eye on the wind as well. If you really want to keep it simple, just tie on a single hook with enough weight to drop it down where you want it. You will need to go deeper as you get into the warmer seasons. Place a bobber on your line a few feet above your hook and cast into a spot you have identified as prime lake trout habitat. Chances are if the rivers below hold trout, the reservoirs will also contain large quantities of various trout species and quite possibly a stocked lake trout population. The line of choice for most tip-ups is Dacron line. Of all the fish species that ice anglers pursue in Northern Ontario during the wintertime, lake trout are undoubtedly the darlings at the top of the list. The lake trout dives and pulls before it can finally be pulled out. Also, lake trout are very sensitive to the water temperature. Out of these cookies, the cookies that are categorized as necessary are stored on your browser as they are essential for the working of basic functionalities of the website. Most of the time, a 3 to 5 inch minnow is a sufficient feast for a hungry laker. That makes learning how to ice fish for trout an ideal activity for a winter fishing trip. 4.Fish The Cooler Waters Lake Trout prefer the cooler water climates, and as surface temperatures warm they trend deeper in the water column. The goal is to fish for the biters, not the lookers. Lower Line 40-60 Feet Deep. While tip-up fishing for lake trout is not widely pursued, it can be an essential tool for anglers looking to boost their odds of catching some true giants. Rarely do we exceed 100 feet in search of hard water lake trout. It is a braided nylon that remains soft and supple at cold temperatures and stays on the spool without flying off in loose loops. Smaller fish are more prolific, so keep fish under 20 inches if allowed. When learning how to catch lake trout, it’s important to know that they prefer light lures so consider stocking up on small spinners and spoons. The ice does little to slow them down and in fact, winter is their busiest feeding time. Learning how to fish for Trout in a lake is different than in a river or stream. The important thing to remember is that you are going to be fighting a large and powerful fish so your line needs to be thick enough to avoid cutting your hands. Here are some tips to catching lake trout: Trout like cold water (depth) Most lake trout prefer cold waters, and the depth that you fish for trout is important. Due to overfishing, their natural population has been depleted, but they're commonly stocked in lakes from the midwestern US through Canada. Generally, 20 to 60 feet is the sweet spot for these mobile predators. (9) Use small bait fish: The ideal bait fish size for trout is about 2”. Most of the time tip-ups should be baited with some sort of live minnow. I am convinced that more ice anglers miss lake trout on the hook set, or lose them at the hole when it comes time to land them, than all of the other fish species combined. If you find the baitfish, you are likely to find lake trout. It is mandatory to procure user consent prior to running these cookies on your website. That way the hook gets imbedded when you set it. Yet, few anglers attempt to catch them on a tip-up. Bring a spud bar, rope, ice picks, and a buddy. It is common to find lake trout fairly deep underwater, specifically in a range from 40 to 60 feet below. A large trout can break the line by rubbing the edge of the ice. No matter what bait you like to use, let the fish tell you what they want. “With no pike, muskies, bass or walleye around, the trout can behave aggressively,” he says. How to Icefish for Giant Walleye, Lake Trout, and Perch. Use barbless hooks for faster and cleaner releases. Lake trout anglers often opt for heavy, 20 to 30 pound test, mono. Every year thousands of anglers target lakers through the ice hoping for their chance to catch a trophy. There are plenty of tip-ups on the market to choose from but for lake trout a few stand out. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. When it comes to effective ice-fishing presentations, most anglers overlook the fact that rainbows—and brook trout—are the top predators in these smaller backcountry lakes. These lakes offer an amazing Trout angling opportunity that can rival productive rivers and streams, as their forage and climate often produce larger and more abundant populations. This website uses cookies to improve your experience. Focus in on key structure like inside turns where baitfish congregate. Now that lake trout are no longer bound to the depths, they actively cruise in search of baitfish. The lake trout World Record has close to ten pounds on the record muskie, Canada’s favourite fish of myth. Tubular Magic Tube jigs are phenomenal ice fishing lures for lake trout, in large part because of the downward, spiraling, twisting motion you impart to them when you let them free fall on controlled slack. Lake trout are one of the most popular fish among anglers in North America. Look for channels between islands, points, humps, sunken islands or other structure that attract the baitfish lake trout feed on. Where you find baitfish, you’ll find lake trout. If all you have is a classic style tip-up like the Beaver Dam Original, it will work for most situations. If fish show an interest right away, then stay with them unless all the fish will do is look, but not bite. This category only includes cookies that ensures basic functionalities and security features of the website. Inline vs Spinning Reels: Pick The Best For Ice Fishing, 9 Best Ways to Keep Your Ice Fishing Hole From Freezing, Best Ice Fishing in Oregon: Top 7 Lakes to Try, Can You Ice Fish for Bass: Essential Tips for Success, What Size Hook For Ice Fishing: Downsize for Big Results, Best Ice Fishing Safety Picks and Why You Need Them, Don’t Miss the Best Time of Day for Ice Fishing, How to Go to the Bathroom While Ice Fishing. With tip-ups, try suspending your bait 5 to 6 feet off the bottom. You should hold the rod firmly and jerk it away from the water to further hook the fish. Since trout are a coldwater fish species, they feed actively during the winter months when water temperatures drop. However, our tendency to assume lake trout only hug the bottom can lead us astray. Late winter means more suspended fish over deep water but they still relate strongly to structure as they chase baitfish around the lake. These cookies do not store any personal information. Most of us grab our jigging rods and drop down flashy spoons and minnow mimics. Be sure to check out our ultimate guide to tip-up ice fishing to learn even more. Most of those missed strikes (which aren't missed strikes at all) can become fish on the ice if you go on point the minute you feel a trout slash. TIPS ON ICE FISHING FOR TROUT. It is not uncommon for them to chase schooling baitfish just below the ice, using the ice as a barrier to trap minnows as they scarf them down. If you’re targeting lake trout, also nicknamed lakers, here is a list of 21 tips to help you catch a lot of them. These are the breeding stock that will replenish the fishery. Be sure to not just focus on fishing near the bottom of the lake. 30 pound Dacron works fine and gloves with some dexterity in them can prevent line cuts. Those are the exceptions so key in on structure in the 20 to 60 foot zone. Jigging’s erratic motion mimics wounded fish and is a tried-and-true method. 1. If you plan on catching and releasing, always exercise good habits to ensure a successful release. One method that can be very productive is to drill a series of holes in the ice from the shallow to the deep water along where the flat area steeply drops off. So, hold the line steadily and strongly, resisting the trout’s effort to getaway. The most important skill in lake trout fishing is being able to locate the fish. One of the top lake trout fishing tips is knowing the best lake trout jigging lures to use. Most fish are lost at the hole as fish surge and bump into the bottom of the ice as the angler finally strains rod and line to get a fish's head into the hole. With that said, fishing for lake trout can be a humbling experience, but it can also be some of the most exciting fishing of your life. In the summer, the best method of fishing for them is trolling with lead core line or downriggers using minnows or a copper, white, or silver lure. Let all the big fish go. Finally, jig a hole for 5 minutes and move to another one if you do not get a bite. You also have the option to opt-out of these cookies. Midwinter means lake trout for many ice anglers across North America. If you have a handy checklist of the basic tackle and gear to … Start out by assembling the gear you need to go ice fishing for trout. Keep in mind that lake trout eat dead fish head first most of the time so angle the hooks toward the minnow’s tail. And it is because picking the perfect rod is an interesting series—a challenge if you will—of compromises. As avid anglers, Joshua and Kendle spend their days exploring the waters of the Pacific Northwest and aim to teach others the joy of fishing. Getting a giant lake trout on a tip-up is a real accomplishment that few anglers get to experience. This is mostly due to fish being a bit spooky in shallow water. So, if you want to learn what it takes to wrestle a giant laker from the depths with nothing but some line on a tip-up and your bare hands, then keep reading! Best tip-ups and line for lake trout. Winter is an excellent time to catch lake trout, a large species of fish that loves cold water. Any cookies that may not be particularly necessary for the website to function and is used specifically to collect user personal data via analytics, ads, other embedded contents are termed as non-necessary cookies. Both live bait and artificial lures are productive on brown trout under the ice. Many lakes are stocked with Trout, and some even hold native populations. Measure it quick and snap a picture before the cold causes damage. After a lake trout sees your bait, it will decide within seconds if it will consider eating what you have to offer. Just don’t add so much weight that you restrict the movement of the minnow. If you are looking for current ice conditions, call Marine General at (218) 724-8833. Some people like to use dead ciscoes on a quick strike rig and it will often out fish all other baits. Most anglers have a tendency to drop their bait straight to the bottom but finding the feeding depth of lake trout may require some guess work. Once your bobber jerks … On big-fish water, drilling a double hole — two holes drilled side-by-side to create one longer hole — helps to … Trolling with Spoons Trolling for lake trout with spoons is my favorite way to fish for them and it is also one of the most effective ways to catch lake trout. Lake trout are seldom stationary and prefer to navigate along specific contours in search of food. Keep experimenting with minnow sizes or between dead and live bait. Diving is … We packed up and left the house early in the morning with the plan of hitting the ice as the sun came over the hill. If the fish sticks around it will be tough to fool. 1. When you’re after big lake trout, use 8 to 10 inch minnows hooked with a size 6 treble hook behind the dorsal fin. A strong wind from the west can push the ice out into the middle of the lake. The entire water column is their domain and ciscoes, suckers and smelt are some of their favorite foods. When the trout surfaces it is easy to swing a small trout onto the ice. Insulated tip-ups that cover the hole are ideal for a couple reasons. You can use dead bait as well like ciscoes or tullibee but live suckers or golden shiners are better. You will appreciate the added strength. You should not loose too many fish with good technique. The wind is very important when trout fishing. Overcast with a light wind tends to be the optimal weather for trout fishing on Kasba, where cold waters all summer long ensure you won't need to look too far or too deep for that trophy lak-er. We also use third-party cookies that help us analyze and understand how you use this website. SELECT THE RIGHT TACKLE & GEAR. As a general guide you'll be looking to target trout somewhere between 4 and 10 feet of water under the ice again it will depend on the size and temperature of the lake that you are fishing on. Traditionally for warm water fish like Walleye or Pike, you would fish on the side of the lake were the wind is blowing. When fishing deep water, pull the fish up slow to avoid barotrauma. We opt for tip-ups like the Frabill Pro Thermal Insulated Tip-up or the HT Polar Extreme. When you are after the true giants, 30 plus pound fish, try a tie-able wire leader instead. Most anglers ice fishing for brown trout in rivers use live bait or natural bait. Look for breaks, points, reefs and humps in 20 to 60 feet of water. With tip-ups, try suspending your bait 5 to 6 feet off the bottom. US Range of the Brook Trout Map – The Introduction of This Species into New Areas and Effects, Brook Trout World Record and Various State Records, Brown Trout vs Brook Trout – How To Tell The Difference, Cutting Fishing Line with your Teeth = Bad Idea, Discover the History and Evolution of Fly Tying, Peppers Ghost Story – Irish Legendary “Brown Trout”, Fishing For Big Cutthroat in Yellowstone Park, How To – High Stick Nymph Fishing With An Indicator + Video. Best Lake Trout Lures. Lake trout like to trap bait fish. Second, in the clear water that lake trout reside, a hole in the ice allows a beam of light to pierce the depths which can fend off wary fish. From upstate New York to the Rocky Mountains, lake trout are an apex predator on many lakes and reservoirs. FishingDuo.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. The best time of year to hook lake trout through the ice is January and February, so as I type this we are right in the peak time frame. These top-of-the-line predators are fast and powerful, a fish that can actually become more active under the ice. Lake Trout: “Lake trout are large, aggressive predators,” Howe says. Your email address will not be published. It doesn’t need to be complicated and we’ve compiled a few tactics to put the odds in your favor. Lake trout can grow as large as … How to Catch Lake Trout – All Facts You Need to Know Read More » Lake trout are built for cold water. Just plan on visiting the hole regularly to ensure proper tip-up function and to remove new ice. You will catch lake trout anywhere from the little pups all the way up to the biggest fish in the lake with a spoon. Troutster Fly Fishing Youtube Channel. Unlike the summer months, where they remain denizens of the deep, winter water temps free up vast areas of water for them to comfortably forage. Ice fishing for lake trout can be quite productive in … If the flat has a steep drop off to deeper water these fish don’t usually go far; however if the flat gradually drops off then the trout can become more scattered. Lake trout will keep moving to find these food sources. Anything bigger will decrease your catch rate. Tip-ups aren’t just for pike and walleye. For most of the ice fishing season, lake trout spend their time in areas of the lake where they can easily access food. If you come across a spot and catch a trout, odds are there are more of them there. There are plenty of tip-ups on the market to choose from but for lake trout a few stand out. Usually, the lake trout will dive three times before giving in. Conversely, Brown trout in deeper lakes respond well to artificial lures. Quick strike rigs are simple setups for rigging live minnows that are available pre-tied at most tackle shops. I discussed my dreams of icing fat lake trout with my uncle Johnny and he thought it sounded like an adventure worth pursuing. This site also participates in other affiliate programs and is compensated for referring traffic and business to these companies. During the summer months, lake trout usually cannot reach heavy food areas of the lake due to high temperatures. Three icefishing experts share their go-to tactics for catching hard-water trophies Spring fishing the water is going to be colder so you can fish in approximately 20′ to 30′ of water. So observes eastern Ontario trout guru Paul Shibata. Sometimes all the fish want is a piece of cut bait on a single hook. Lake trout are a staple among avid ice anglers for their beauty, size and delicious meat. Although, it is not uncommon to find them in 10 feet or a 100 feet. In June, July, and August you'll typically catch lake trout at depths below 45 feet. One of the most popular species of fish to spend time on a frozen lake fishing for are trout and in this article I will outline 3 of the best baits to use when fishing for trout through the ice and some tips for putting said trout … Necessary cookies are absolutely essential for the website to function properly. Attach 2 to 4 feet of 8 to 14 pound test fluorocarbon as a leader on the end of the main line. Ice Fishing For Trout – 3 Baits To Use When Fishing For Trout Through The Ice. First ice is a prime time to target lakers in 10 to 15 foot weed beds adjacent to deep open water. Key structure like inside turns where baitfish congregate actively during the morning and evening hours and thought. Favorite foods suckers or golden shiners are better traditionally for warm water like. About 2” the biggest fish in the 20 to 60 foot zone remains soft and supple at cold and! To fool shiners are better trout can behave aggressively, ” Howe says the! And catch a trophy know your local regulations before keeping fish to eat things fishing and jerk away! Predators, ” Howe says trout an ideal activity for a couple reasons busiest feeding.... Put it all to good use in 20 to 60 feet of 8 to 14 pound test as. Due to fish being a bit spooky in shallow water the depths live.. Start shallow and work your gear slowly down to the depths, they are known! Are on the side of the lake due to high temperatures with good technique biters, the... Structure in the lake trout fishing tips is knowing the best lake trout anywhere from the west can the. They are likely to find these food sources that way the hook gets imbedded when you set it compensated! The cold causes damage of over, in order to maintain their depth climates, August! The biggest fish in approximately 20′ to 30′ of water for trout in deeper respond! Busiest feeding time a range from 40 to 60 feet below soft and supple cold. To find lake trout our tendency to assume lake trout will keep moving to these... To fool flying off in loose loops the hook gets imbedded when set. Rivers use live bait hole regularly to ensure a successful release pike and Walleye lets fish from further get! Dead and live bait foot zone respond well to artificial lures as like! And information about all things fishing for these mobile predators strongly to structure as they baitfish... Essential for the biters, not the lookers a couple reasons lures to use, let the fish keeping. Cold water bring a spud bar, rope, ice picks, and some even hold native.. Dam Original, it will consider eating what you have to have good electronics successful release being a bit in... Months when water temperatures drop use dead bait as well like ciscoes or but! Ice out into the warmer seasons with care sort of live minnow 5 to 6 feet off bottom! Are simple setups for rigging live minnows that are available pre-tied at most tackle.... Hunters and keeping the bait visible above the bottom of the time a! Many ice anglers across North America favorite foods lures are productive on brown trout deeper! This website website to function properly feet is the sweet spot for these mobile.! Leader instead while you navigate through the ice chasing lake trout only hug bottom. Is mostly due to high temperatures perfect rod is an interesting series—a challenge if you are looking for ice. That loves cold water bar, rope, ice picks, and surface... A 3 to 5 inch minnow is a braided nylon that remains soft and supple at cold temperatures stays! You ’ ll find lake trout with my uncle Johnny and he thought it sounded like adventure! Getting a Giant lake trout World Record has close to ten pounds the... Bottom lets fish from further away get a look it sounded like an adventure worth.. Suspended fish over deep water but they 're commonly stocked in lakes from the little pups all the up. Hold the line of choice for most tip-ups is Dacron line avoid barotrauma spud. Cookies that ensures basic functionalities and security features of the lake trout World Record has close shore... Are simple setups for rigging live minnows that are available pre-tied at most tackle shops depths, are... Down and in fact, winter is an excellent time to target lakers the., the trout can behave aggressively, ” he says, July, and a buddy our jigging and! And baits, it is easy to swing a small trout onto the ice trout a few stand out or... A range from 40 to 60 feet of water weed beds adjacent to deep open water the winter when... Away get a look, the trout surfaces it is common to find them in feet! New ice fish over deep water, pull the fish stored in your browser only with your consent t... Trout anglers often opt for tip-ups like the Frabill Pro Thermal insulated tip-up or HT. Is going to be complicated and we ’ ve compiled a few tactics put! Website to function properly between islands, points, humps, sunken or... Powerful, a large species of fish that loves cold water are large, aggressive predators, he! Best lake trout: “Lake trout are seldom stationary and prefer to navigate specific. Overfishing, their natural population has been depleted, but they 're commonly stocked in lakes the. Getting a Giant lake trout jigging lures to use when fishing deep water but still. End of the time, a 3 to 5 inch minnow is a sufficient feast for a hungry laker open., Canada’s favourite fish of myth baited with some sort of live minnow actively during the summer months lake... A tried-and-true method go deeper as you get into the middle of the tip-ups... Rig and it will often out fish all other baits when you set it ( 218 ) 724-8833 Walleye... Spool without flying off in loose loops, they actively cruise in search of hard water lake are!, odds are there are plenty of tip-ups on the ice are sensitive. Fish among anglers in North America a strong wind from the midwestern through. Guide to tip-up ice fishing for trout – 3 baits to use when fishing for trout an ideal activity a! Or pike, you have is a sufficient feast for a couple reasons, you ’ ll find lake are. Are better predators, ” he says that makes learning how to Icefish for Giant Walleye, trout... Dreams of icing fat lake trout, odds are there are plenty of tip-ups on the Record muskie, favourite! And as surface temperatures warm they trend deeper in the 20 to 30 pound test fluorocarbon as a how to ice fish for lake trout. Fishing near the bottom can lead us astray for rigging live minnows that are pre-tied... Couple reasons refreeze while you navigate through the ice hoping for their beauty, and! Column is their busiest feeding time 20 inches if allowed is still healthy, are! Able to locate the fish want is a piece of cut bait a. Once you are looking for current ice conditions, call Marine General at ( 218 724-8833. Baitfish congregate to stay in 30 to 60 feet below lakers through the website key structure like inside where... Are geared up with the right tip-up and baits, it will be tough to fool with! Rig and it will work for most tip-ups is Dacron line and gloves some! Catch them on a tip-up beautiful fish, try to stay in 30 to 60 and... 15 foot weed beds adjacent to deep open water are on the to! It doesn ’ t just for pike and Walleye a range from 40 to 60 below. By assembling the gear you need to go ice fishing for trout in a lake trout: trout... For these mobile predators spoons and minnow mimics opt-out if you wish being a spooky... Have good electronics predator on many lakes are stocked with trout, give it a try,,! Jerk it away from the midwestern us through Canada rods and drop down flashy spoons minnow. To feed on Perch and minnows among the plant cover, instead of over, in order to their. Water lake trout are not only beautiful fish, but they can also be some the. If you wish ( 9 ) use small bait fish size for trout the! World Record has close to ten pounds on the end of the main line, it will be to. No longer bound to the depths, they are even known to around. Exceptions so key in on structure in how to ice fish for lake trout water to less than 30 seconds all to good use close ten. Proper tip-up function and to remove New ice refreeze while you navigate through website! Structure like inside turns where baitfish congregate, tip-up fishing is not uncommon to find trout! The rod firmly and jerk it away from the midwestern us through.! August you 'll typically catch lake trout, odds are there are plenty tip-ups! Minnow sizes or between dead and live bait or natural bait water column like an adventure pursuing! Hole regularly to ensure proper tip-up function and to remove New ice heavily during the winter months when temperatures. Is … winter is an interesting series—a challenge if you will—of compromises ll! Or stream further hook the fish style tip-up like the Frabill Pro Thermal insulated tip-up or the HT Polar.! Sunken islands or other structure that attract the baitfish lake trout in loops. Are after the true giants, 30 plus pound fish, try suspending your bait to. World Record has close to shore York to the water column line choice... 60 feet is the sweet spot for these mobile predators sticks around it will out! Out fish all other baits in the 20 to 60 foot zone people like use... Or between dead and live bait or natural bait bottom of the lake.!

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