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Ice Fishing Tips for Lake Trout

Hello, my name is Chris Pryde. I am the Fisheries Director on the board of the Kawagama Lake Cottagers Association. I have been a seasonal resident on this lake since the mid 90’s. Since that time, I have gotten to know this lake and fish species very well. I have learned many different tips, tools and techniques for optimal catch and release. In this article, I will offer much of the knowledge that I have acquired to help you better understand techniques on how to locate lake trout and the types of tackle best suited for ice fishing on this lake.

Holding patterns of Lake Trout through the ice.

During the winter months, the water temperature is typically around 43F from the surface to the bottom of the lake. Because of this, lake trout can be found at many different depths. It is not uncommon to find lake trout in shallower water in and around the 20 foot range. Some prime location that I have found include Fish Pole, the north side of Serpents rock. You can also find them holding between Denison Island and East Long Island. I have also found fishing to be productive near the rock pile located at the north-east side of Bear Island.

Types of tackle

First off, you will need an auger. A hand auger would suffice. Having a portable fish finder would also enhance your chances of locating fish. These units can typically be purchased for under $200.00. I have found that chartreuse green or white jig heads with either live bait or various plastic minnow variations work well. For plastic baits pearl white or green work best. Any 3 to 4 inch Berkeley power minnows work well. Various Williams Wobbler jigging spoons in colour combinations silver/green and silver/gold baited with a live minnow also work well.

The most common method when using these types of tackle is jigging. Some people use tip ups but in my experience, I have found jigging to be the most effective. The deeper the water you are fishing in, the bigger the jig head you will want to use. I tend to use between 1/8-1/4 ounce. In shallower water, I may drop down to 1/16 ounce.

One important fact I would like to point out regarding lake trouts eyes, they typically cannot see down only up. Because of this they like to ambush their prey by striking from below. This is important in how to detect a bite when jigging. When jigging always look for your line to see if it stays slack when you are expecting your line to drop down when jigging . When lifting your jigging rod make sure the tip of your rod is close to the hole. Simply raise it slowly about 2 to 4 feet up then hold it for 10 seconds then lower your rod tip back down to the hole you have drilled. It’s when you raise your rod tip to whatever height you reach is when they will take your bait and continue to swim up not down which explains your line not dropping back down when you expect it to . When you see your slack line not going down when you expect it to quickly reel up your slack line and set the hook !!

I hope you find these tips and locations helpful in catching more of these majestic fish.

Tight lines !


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