Although some fishes such as largemouth and smallmouth bass are dormant during the winter, the lake trout is the opposite. It is as if this fish is for the cold seasons. The colder it gets, the more active it is. Most fishers know that no matter how dormant other fishes get, the lake trout still bites when the cold is severe, and that is why they focus on it during the winter. But the fact that it is active does not mean that it is easy to catch around this time. With these tips and tricks, you will have a successful day on the waters.
Identify familiar places to find the lake trout
The first step to lake trout fishing is identifying the location of the fish. Lake trouts are excessively mobile during the winter. It is one of the most active fishes around this time. That means that it will not be perching at one place, waiting for you to catch it. The good thing, however, is that they move in packs, and that makes it easier to get them.
One thing we know is that lake trouts are always on the lookout for prey. They follow the baitfish most often, and you will find them hunting for the baitfish around steep structures. Structures such as submerged humps, points, and islands are hot spots.
Since they like to spot their prey from afar, they prefer clear waters and places that are likely to host their preys. The yellow perch is common prey for the lake trout. The perch makes it home in shallows and weed beds, so lake trouts also move around these places. So you will find lake trouts around healthy weed beds and shallows. They prefer the ones that are about 12 to 13 feet and around drop-offs since they are good habitats for yellow perch.
So when you go on lake trout ice fishing, consider these areas.
Work on the top first
Lake trouts are predators that move in groups in search of prey. When oxygen gets thinner at the bottom, most of their preys will move to the top. They will try to get oxygen right below the ice. The trout will also follow them there. The easiest way to catch them at the top is to jig. Since lake trouts are aggressive, there is a high chance that they will hit the jig as it falls into a hole.
Be consistent with your jig
Erratic movements may catch the attention of certain fishes such as pike but not the trout. Since they are predators, they try to spot their baits from afar. They continue to look to establish a rhythm. They will eventually get hooked if they can predict your lures.
Try pattern fishing
There are several ways of catching the trout, and they can all be successful at certain points in time. Sometimes, you only need to jig the top; at other times, you need to bait at the bottom. When you catch your first fish, try to replicate what you did to achieve that success. For instance, if you are fishing with a sonar screen and you spotted a trout. And you dropped your lure and jigged to catch it, try that again. In some instances, that pattern is all you need to record immerse success for the day. You don’t need to continue repeating that pattern in the same hole or area. Try the same pattern elsewhere. You should also consider the structure you are fishing. Where did you catch the fish? Was it on a shoal? Focus on those structures, as well.
Continue jigging when you feel a bump
Sometimes, you may think that you missed the fish when they bump your jig, that is not always the case. Lake trouts being the sight predators that they will get closer when they spot your spoon or skirt. Sometimes, they will rush in and bump on your jig. Keep jigging when you feel their bump. In most cases, they will come back and try to bite.
As mentioned earlier, lake trouts are really active during the winter. They can be at one spot, and the next minute, they are about 70 feet away. If you drill holes at one point and you don’t feel the action of the fish for about 30 minutes, you need to move to another point. They may have moved far away. Since you need to move and drill more holes consistently, try getting the power auger if you don’t have one. People who do not have problems drilling several holes can go without the auger, but if you find it tiring and time-consuming, the power auger can be of great help.
Know the lures to use
Lures do a great job of attracting these predators, but do all lures work? Well, some are known to present greater successes. Let’s look at those. We are not going to talk about brands but rather features of the lures that make them excellent choices.
For this type of lures, choose the big-sized lures. A size nine is excellent. Select a lure whose movements look like that of an injured fish. Choose a color similar to a yellow perch since lake trouts are attracted to this fish.
When it comes to flash spoons, look for the one-ounce models. The colors could range from Nickel, brown, to brass.
Soft baits on jig heads
Many people believe that this option only works for pikes, but that is not true. A big jig head can create a luring view for lake trouts. Common baits to use apart from perch include suckers, shrimps, insects, and lings.
Get a depth finder
It makes it easier for you to mark fishes and see if the fish is chasing your lure or not.
Many fishers target the bottom of the lake when looking for trouts, but you mustn’t overlook the area right beneath the ice. Lake trouts make great meals, but they are fighters. If you love the challenge of fishing a big fish during the winter, pack up and enjoy some lake trout ice fishing.