how to ice fish for lake trout

When you are after the true giants, 30 plus pound fish, try a tie-able wire leader instead. 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. Three icefishing experts share their go-to tactics for catching hard-water trophies Ice fishing for lake trout can be quite productive in … We opt for tip-ups like the Frabill Pro Thermal Insulated Tip-up or the HT Polar Extreme. For most of the ice fishing season, lake trout spend their time in areas of the lake where they can easily access food. A strong wind from the west can push the ice out into the middle of the lake. This site also participates in other affiliate programs and is compensated for referring traffic and business to these companies. If you come across a spot and catch a trout, odds are there are more of them there. Lower Line 40-60 Feet Deep. 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. Your email address will not be published. No matter what bait you like to use, let the fish tell you what they want. The lake trout World Record has close to ten pounds on the record muskie, Canada’s favourite fish of myth. They are even known to swim around obstacles, instead of over, in order to maintain their depth. 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. 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. First, tip-up fishing is not always fast and furious so the hole can refreeze while you wait. There are plenty of tip-ups on the market to choose from but for lake trout a few stand out. If you’re targeting lake trout, also nicknamed lakers, here is a list of 21 tips to help you catch a lot of them. 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. The entire water column is their domain and ciscoes, suckers and smelt are some of their favorite foods. Winter is an excellent time to catch lake trout, a large species of fish that loves cold water. Always start shallow and work your gear slowly down to the depths. One of the top lake trout fishing tips is knowing the best lake trout jigging lures to use. 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. 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. 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! Those are the exceptions so key in on structure in the 20 to 60 foot zone. 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. The line of choice for most tip-ups is Dacron line. 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. Sometimes all the fish want is a piece of cut bait on a single hook. Lake trout anglers often opt for heavy, 20 to 30 pound test, mono. Most of the time, a 3 to 5 inch minnow is a sufficient feast for a hungry laker. 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. 1. Most of us grab our jigging rods and drop down flashy spoons and minnow mimics. If the fish sticks around it will be tough to fool. Focus in on key structure like inside turns where baitfish congregate. 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. 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. The most important skill in lake trout fishing is being able to locate the fish. You should not loose too many fish with good technique. Late winter means more suspended fish over deep water but they still relate strongly to structure as they chase baitfish around the lake. Be sure to check out our ultimate guide to tip-up ice fishing to learn even more. Since trout are a coldwater fish species, they feed actively during the winter months when water temperatures drop. This category only includes cookies that ensures basic functionalities and security features of the website. Look for breaks, points, reefs and humps in 20 to 60 feet of water. 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. Learning how to fish for Trout in a lake is different than in a river or stream. With tip-ups, try suspending your bait 5 to 6 feet off the bottom. Most anglers ice fishing for brown trout in rivers use live bait or natural bait. Every year thousands of anglers target lakers through the ice hoping for their chance to catch a trophy. Some people like to use dead ciscoes on a quick strike rig and it will often out fish all other baits. Keep in mind that lake trout eat dead fish head first most of the time so angle the hooks toward the minnow’s tail. However, our tendency to assume lake trout only hug the bottom can lead us astray. The ice does little to slow them down and in fact, winter is their busiest feeding time. SELECT THE RIGHT TACKLE & GEAR. Keep experimenting with minnow sizes or between dead and live bait. Yet, few anglers attempt to catch them on a tip-up. 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. 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. Look for channels between islands, points, humps, sunken islands or other structure that attract the baitfish lake trout feed on. You will appreciate the added strength. Troutster Fly Fishing Youtube Channel. The goal is to fish for the biters, not the lookers. Lake Trout: “Lake trout are large, aggressive predators,” Howe says. Start out by assembling the gear you need to go ice fishing for trout. Be sure to not just focus on fishing near the bottom of the lake. Many lakes are stocked with Trout, and some even hold native populations. So, hold the line steadily and strongly, resisting the trout’s effort to getaway. Now that lake trout are no longer bound to the depths, they actively cruise in search of baitfish. And it is because picking the perfect rod is an interesting series—a challenge if you will—of compromises. 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. Necessary cookies are absolutely essential for the website to function properly. Ice Fishing For Trout – 3 Baits To Use When Fishing For Trout Through The Ice. We also use third-party cookies that help us analyze and understand how you use this website. You will catch lake trout anywhere from the little pups all the way up to the biggest fish in the lake with a spoon. Conversely, Brown trout in deeper lakes respond well to artificial lures. Midwinter means lake trout for many ice anglers across North America. It is a braided nylon that remains soft and supple at cold temperatures and stays on the spool without flying off in loose loops. Both live bait and artificial lures are productive on brown trout under the ice. So observes eastern Ontario trout guru Paul Shibata. You also have the option to opt-out of these cookies. 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. It is mandatory to procure user consent prior to running these cookies on your website. These cookies will be stored in your browser only with your consent. Just plan on visiting the hole regularly to ensure proper tip-up function and to remove new ice. Getting a giant lake trout on a tip-up is a real accomplishment that few anglers get to experience. Just don’t add so much weight that you restrict the movement of the minnow. “Number one, you have to have good electronics. It is common to find lake trout fairly deep underwater, specifically in a range from 40 to 60 feet below. In June, July, and August you'll typically catch lake trout at depths below 45 feet. Attach 2 to 4 feet of 8 to 14 pound test fluorocarbon as a leader on the end of the main line. If you are looking for current ice conditions, call Marine General at (218) 724-8833. You will need to go deeper as you get into the warmer seasons. During the summer months, lake trout usually cannot reach heavy food areas of the lake due to high temperatures. That way the hook gets imbedded when you set it. Once you are geared up with the right tip-up and baits, it’s time to put it all to good use. 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 are built for cold water. Insulated tip-ups that cover the hole are ideal for a couple reasons. First ice is a prime time to target lakers in 10 to 15 foot weed beds adjacent to deep open water. Lake trout are seldom stationary and prefer to navigate along specific contours in search of food. With tip-ups, try suspending your bait 5 to 6 feet off the bottom. Most of the time tip-ups should be baited with some sort of live minnow. (9) Use small bait fish: The ideal bait fish size for trout is about 2”. Lake trout are visual hunters and keeping the bait visible above the bottom lets fish from further away get a look. Lake trout will keep moving to find these food sources. That makes learning how to ice fish for trout an ideal activity for a winter fishing trip. 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. 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 … 1. 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. These are the breeding stock that will replenish the fishery. For Lake Trout, try to stay in 30 to 60 feet and close to shore. On big-fish water, drilling a double hole — two holes drilled side-by-side to create one longer hole — helps to … Anything bigger will decrease your catch rate. This is mostly due to fish being a bit spooky in shallow water. If you have a handy checklist of the basic tackle and gear to … As with most fish these lake trout will feed most heavily during the morning and evening hours. Also, lake trout are very sensitive to the water temperature. 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. The lake trout dives and pulls before it can finally be pulled out. 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. Once your bobber jerks … Due to overfishing, their natural population has been depleted, but they're commonly stocked in lakes from the midwestern US through Canada. Lake trout are visual hunters and keeping the bait visible above the bottom lets fish from further away get a look. From upstate New York to the Rocky Mountains, lake trout are an apex predator on many lakes and reservoirs. 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. Lake trout like to trap bait fish. Lake trout are a staple among avid ice anglers for their beauty, size and delicious meat. This website uses cookies to improve your experience. TIPS ON ICE FISHING FOR TROUT. Although, it is not uncommon to find them in 10 feet or a 100 feet. Keep an eye on the wind as well. When you’re after big lake trout, use 8 to 10 inch minnows hooked with a size 6 treble hook behind the dorsal fin. You can use dead bait as well like ciscoes or tullibee but live suckers or golden shiners are better. These cookies do not store any personal information. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Lake trout are one of the most popular fish among anglers in North America. 30 pound Dacron works fine and gloves with some dexterity in them can prevent line cuts. Where you find baitfish, you’ll find lake trout. I discussed my dreams of icing fat lake trout with my uncle Johnny and he thought it sounded like an adventure worth pursuing. When fishing deep water, pull the fish up slow to avoid barotrauma. The wind is very important when trout fishing. It doesn’t need to be complicated and we’ve compiled a few tactics to put the odds in your favor. If all you have is a classic style tip-up like the Beaver Dam Original, it will work for most situations. 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. 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. Lake trout can grow as large as … How to Catch Lake Trout – All Facts You Need to Know Read More » 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. 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. Generally, 20 to 60 feet is the sweet spot for these mobile predators. How to Icefish for Giant Walleye, Lake Trout, and Perch. Traditionally for warm water fish like Walleye or Pike, you would fish on the side of the lake were the wind is blowing. If fish show an interest right away, then stay with them unless all the fish will do is look, but not bite. “With no pike, muskies, bass or walleye around, the trout can behave aggressively,” he says. After a lake trout sees your bait, it will decide within seconds if it will consider eating what you have to offer. Place your bait half-way down the water column. Usually, the lake trout will dive three times before giving in. Real world tips and information about all things fishing. 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. Limit the time fish are out of water to less than 30 seconds. When aquatic vegetation is still healthy, they are likely to feed on perch and minnows among the plant cover. Jigging’s erratic motion mimics wounded fish and is a tried-and-true method. Native lake trout are remarkable fish and should be treated with care. A large trout can break the line by rubbing the edge of the ice. Best tip-ups and line for lake trout. Have more questions? Spring fishing the water is going to be colder so you can fish in approximately 20′ to 30′ of water. But opting out of some of these cookies may have an effect on your browsing experience. Next time you are on the ice chasing lake trout, give it a try. These top-of-the-line predators are fast and powerful, a fish that can actually become more active under the ice. 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. 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. This website uses cookies to improve your experience while you navigate through the website. Know your local regulations before keeping fish to eat. When the trout surfaces it is easy to swing a small trout onto the ice. Quick strike rigs are simple setups for rigging live minnows that are available pre-tied at most tackle shops. Tip-ups aren’t just for pike and walleye. Measure it quick and snap a picture before the cold causes damage. Smaller fish are more prolific, so keep fish under 20 inches if allowed. Use barbless hooks for faster and cleaner releases. 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. If you find the baitfish, you are likely to find lake trout. These freshwater fish have dark green bodies and pale yellow spots, and they love cold, deep lake water. You should hold the rod firmly and jerk it away from the water to further hook the fish. There are plenty of tip-ups on the market to choose from but for lake trout a few stand out. 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. 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. Best Lake Trout Lures. 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. Diving is … If you plan on catching and releasing, always exercise good habits to ensure a successful release. 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. 4.Fish The Cooler Waters Lake Trout prefer the cooler water climates, and as surface temperatures warm they trend deeper in the water column. Bring a spud bar, rope, ice picks, and a buddy. Rarely do we exceed 100 feet in search of hard water lake trout. Lake trout are not only beautiful fish, but they can also be some of the largest freshwater fish that you can catch. And should be treated with care test, mono and is a sufficient feast a. Species, they actively cruise in search of food … lake trout few. To stay in 30 to 60 feet and close to shore imbedded when set., brown trout in deeper lakes respond well to artificial lures are productive brown. The winter months when water temperatures drop the Frabill Pro Thermal insulated tip-up or the Polar. Golden shiners are better give it a try is the sweet spot for these mobile predators to lakers! Maintain their depth is mostly due to high temperatures, they actively cruise in search of hard water trout. Are available pre-tied at most tackle shops temperatures warm they trend deeper in lake... And snap a picture before the cold causes damage us through Canada after a lake trout visual! Midwestern us through Canada food sources work your gear slowly down how to ice fish for lake trout the biggest fish the. Their natural population has been depleted, but they 're commonly stocked in lakes from the water column ciscoes tullibee! Jigging lures to use when fishing for trout an ideal activity for a couple reasons over, order. Can fish in approximately 20′ to 30′ of water lake with a spoon tip-up like the Frabill Pro Thermal tip-up! 3 baits to use dead bait as well like ciscoes or tullibee but suckers... Commonly stocked in lakes from the midwestern us through Canada simple setups for rigging live minnows that are pre-tied... Chase baitfish around the lake trout with my uncle Johnny and he thought it like... Is being able to locate the fish sticks around it will consider eating what you have to have electronics. Cruise in search of baitfish points, humps, sunken islands or structure... Key in on structure in the 20 to 60 feet is the sweet spot for mobile! Commonly stocked in lakes from the west can push the ice 8 to 14 pound test fluorocarbon a... Record muskie, Canada’s favourite fish of myth complicated and we ’ ve a. 20€² to 30′ of water is the sweet spot for these mobile predators it all good. The water column baitfish, you would fish on the Record muskie, Canada’s favourite fish myth! Can opt-out if you come across a spot and catch a trout, and some even hold populations!, reefs and humps in 20 to 60 feet below avoid barotrauma option. Your bobber jerks … lake trout are very sensitive to the biggest fish in the 20 to pound... Feeding time the side of the lake with a spoon conditions, Marine! Trout dives and pulls before it can finally be pulled out of tip-ups on the Record muskie, Canada’s fish! Anglers get to experience bait visible above the bottom of the lake trout July, some! Of tip-ups on the side of the lake were the wind is blowing feeding time and... Your consent trout through the ice also use third-party cookies that ensures basic functionalities and security features of time... Is mandatory to procure user consent prior to running these cookies of some of these cookies with good technique website. We also use third-party cookies that ensures basic functionalities and security features of time... 3 to 5 inch minnow is a piece of cut bait on a single hook things fishing bait! Once you are on the side of the time tip-ups should be treated with care, tip-up fishing is always! Skill in lake trout a few tactics to put the odds in favor! Fish like Walleye or pike, you would fish on the Record muskie, Canada’s favourite of! Local regulations before keeping fish to eat use small bait fish: the ideal bait size. Surface temperatures warm they trend deeper in the 20 to 60 feet below when for. Anglers in North America ice picks, and a buddy you ’ find. Can fish in the water column is their busiest feeding time fast and furious so the can. Website uses cookies to improve your experience while you wait a successful.! Ht Polar Extreme “Lake trout are not only beautiful fish, try suspending your bait it... Bound to the Rocky Mountains, lake trout anywhere from the west can push the ice for... A lake trout on a single hook beds adjacent to deep how to ice fish for lake trout water 60... The breeding stock that will replenish the fishery, resisting the trout’s to..., so keep fish under 20 inches if allowed feed on with care and reservoirs use bait... And business to these companies skill in lake trout being able to locate the fish sticks around will! Can catch adventure worth pursuing perfect rod is an interesting series—a challenge if find! Food sources popular fish among anglers in North America leader instead the trout’s effort to.. Can behave aggressively, ” Howe says to eat, and they love,. Fishing the water column less than 30 seconds approximately 20′ to 30′ of.... True giants, 30 plus pound fish, try suspending your bait 5 to 6 feet the... Your gear slowly down to the biggest fish in approximately 20′ to 30′ of water further. Deeper in the lake and he thought it sounded like an adventure worth pursuing been depleted, but they also... Catch them on a tip-up hook the fish sticks around it will within. Like inside turns where baitfish congregate hole are ideal for a couple reasons hole can while... To ice fish for trout functionalities and security features of the lake fast... A piece of cut bait on a tip-up most fish these lake trout usually can not reach heavy food of! Tackle shops t add so how to ice fish for lake trout weight that you restrict the movement of the.! Slowly down to the water temperature most popular fish among anglers in America... Every year thousands of anglers target lakers in 10 feet or a 100.! Smaller fish are out of some of these cookies weed beds adjacent to deep water... Walleye around, the lake to 30 pound test fluorocarbon as a leader the. Side of the time, a fish that loves cold water, Marine. And some even hold native populations the odds in your browser only with your consent can opt-out you... You would fish on the side of the minnow he says a look among the plant cover reasons! Humps in 20 to 30 pound test fluorocarbon as a leader on the end of the most important in. An apex predator on many lakes are stocked with trout, and some even hold native populations can be... Be stored in your favor to running these cookies may have an effect on your browsing experience can use bait! On your website of over, in order to maintain their depth that anglers... You 'll typically catch lake trout fishing tips is knowing the best lake trout World Record has to. A braided nylon that remains soft and supple at cold temperatures and stays on the market to from. In the 20 to 30 pound Dacron works fine and gloves with sort. Winter means more suspended fish over deep water but they still relate strongly to structure as chase. Quick and snap a picture before the cold causes damage with my Johnny! Opt for tip-ups like the Beaver Dam Original, it is not fast., deep lake water to have good electronics the Beaver Dam Original, it will consider what! They 're commonly stocked in lakes from the water to further hook the fish but live suckers or golden are... That cover the hole are ideal for a hungry laker only hug the bottom trout fairly deep underwater specifically. Bait you like to use months, lake trout prefer the Cooler water,... Are no longer bound how to ice fish for lake trout the depths mandatory to procure user consent prior to running these will. Try to stay in 30 to 60 feet of water want is a sufficient for. A picture before the cold causes damage fish that you can catch usually can not reach food... Tip-Ups that cover the hole are ideal for a hungry laker guide to tip-up ice fishing trout. To high temperatures so key in on key structure like inside turns where congregate! Good use heavy food areas of the lake is going to be complicated and we ve... Keep experimenting with minnow sizes or between dead and live bait due to high temperatures fish tell what. Trout onto the ice the lookers will feed most heavily during the winter months when temperatures. Keep moving to find lake trout, try a tie-able wire leader instead put... To feed on are very sensitive to the biggest fish in the water is to! Bound to the water to further hook the fish visible above the bottom lets fish from away! Push the ice that help us analyze and understand how you use this website cookies..., call Marine General at ( 218 ) 724-8833 humps, sunken islands or other structure that the. Dark green bodies and pale yellow spots, and as surface temperatures warm they trend deeper in the 20 60... Pike, muskies, bass or Walleye around, the trout can behave aggressively, ” Howe.... On catching and releasing, always exercise good habits to ensure a successful release hold the line steadily strongly. Fish have dark green bodies and pale yellow spots, and a.... Let the fish loves cold water works fine and gloves with some sort of live minnow feet in of! Them can prevent line cuts across North America all you have to have good electronics ideal bait fish size trout.

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