Having fun in the water can be achieved with the right tactics and tips. If you are new to the game, you may need help knowing where to begin. To help you out, this article offers a few tips on how to find lake trout ice fishing.
Locate the forage
Getting to know where the forage is in your lake trout ice fishing zone is essential. The best places to look for fish include submerged islands, points, reefs, shelves, and flats. A good sonar can help locate the forage and determine the best techniques.
During the summer months, water temperatures rise and create warmer surface waters. This pushes the thermocline deeper in many lakes. Thermocline zone waters typically range from 20 to 35 feet deep. Because of this, zooplankton and phytoplankton may float higher in the water column.
Forage is also found in the lower part of the water column. Forage includes ciscoes, whitefish, and kokanee. The lake trout also feed on yellow perch, burbot, and suckers. The smelt is another essential food for lake trout.
During the winter, lake trout use the same depth as the forage fish. They roam in small groups. They will ambush suspended forage that drifts by in deep currents. They will also target yellow perch, rainbow trout, and other species.
Lake trout prefer colder water. They will often move up to the flats to feed. These areas are shallow but only sometimes warm. They like to roam near structures. When evening approaches, the trout will feed in shallow areas. When morning comes, they will provide to the deeper parts of the flat.
The lake trout are driven by forage. Their primary food is landlocked salmon, but they also will hunt other species. They will target ciscoes, whitefish, lake herring, and other baitfish. They will use vertical jigs and a lake trout school to prepare for spawning.
Using the correct bait can help you catch more fish. For example, white tube jigs are more productive in soft-rayed forage lakes. During the summer, try different tricks.
In addition to being practical, spoons are easy to present and closely resemble a baitfish. These lures can also be rigged as swimbaits. They work well when they are used to feed shallow yellow perch. The best size spoons are 1/2 to 3/4 ounces.
If you can, locate the forage before the ice completely melts. A change in current flow can shut off the bite. A strong current can be hard to control, especially when presenting the bait.
Actively jig while you wait.
While waiting for lake trout, an active jig is a great way to draw them to your location. There are many different jigging rods, but a heavy-action rod provides the torque to get your lure down the ice. You’ll also want a line that’s sensitive enough to get the most out of your jigging experience. A braided mainline of 10 to 15 lb test will give you complete control over your lure.
The right jigging rod is the key to catching a big lake trout. The trick is to find a good spot and get your lure down as soon as possible. A bottom rig with an egg sinker is a good choice if you’re looking for a deep cast. You can also use a spoon jigger by attaching sucker meat to a trailing treble.
Using a paddle tail bait is a good choice for this task. However, you’ll need to be aggressive when jigging this lure. You want to ensure your appeal sat on time, or you’ll miss out on a big one. You’ll also want to try jigging with a chub minnow instead of a swim bait jig. This isn’t a challenging feat to do, but you’ll need to be sure to keep the bait afloat.
The best part about this technique is that it allows you to control the motion of your lure. You can control the rate at which your bait rises and falls. This is a great way to entice fish and is essential to your jigging routine.
The jigging device of the modern era has come a long way from the flimsy models of years past. Today, you can choose from various jigging rods, including a spin casting rod, a spinning reel, and a trolling rod. The rods you choose should be strong and have plenty of stretches. Using a jigging rod with a hefty action is crucial for your health and will make for a more enjoyable fishing experience.
As you troll through the ice, you’ll find that your jigging device will have to be used to its fullest. If unsure where to start, try jigging near the shore or in deep open water next to a structure.
Developing a cadence
Developing a cadence is the Holy Grail of ice fishing. The best way to do it is to start with an excellent ol’ fashion plank and set it up so you can see the fish without fumbling with a wader. You may also consider getting a few good friends along for the ride. The trick is to make sure you aren’t the one who is hogging all the best spots. For example, if you are fishing in a small boat, you are more than likely fishing in the middle of a gang of thugs, so it is best to be aware of their presence and slam dunk them into your laps. If you do, you should be able to catch up with the rest of the gang in record time. The best time to do this is in the early morning hours.
You’ll also want to be sure to pay attention to your line. It’s easy to overstuff your tackle box with too many lures and snags, so keeping a few baits on hand is best.
Using a sonar
Using sonar to find lake trout is a great way to make fishing for these predators easier and more productive. It will help you determine the best fishing techniques and allow you to watch the behavior of the fish you are chasing.
Lake trout love to chase prey trapped in underwater structures. They also use depths similar to those of the forage species they eat. Typically, lake trout are found in waters from 80 to 160 feet deep. In the winter, they are most likely to be in shallow water. They will chase a lure about 50 to 70 feet off the bottom.
You can still catch these fish if you still need a sonar unit. A simple method is to use a spoon flasher. This allows you to imitate minnow foraging in the water.
For a more sophisticated approach, you can buy an underwater camera. This will allow you to observe how the fish react to your lures and help you to improve your sonar skills. You can also compare the sonar results to the pictures taken with the camera.
There are several ways to set up a sonar cone. You can mount the device on the hull of your boat, or you can use a scupper hole. You will also need to consider the clarity of the water and snow depth. A good sonar unit will cost about $200 to $400.
A good sonar unit will be able to locate fish within about three to four feet of the shoreline. If the fish appear on the sonar, it is time to raise your lure. Lowering your line too quickly can cause the fish to pass by. This is why you must watch the distance on your sonar unit. If you are unable to do this, lower the line gradually.
When fishing for lake trout, keeping your bait in position is essential. Fork-tail baits with a Thumper Jig are best fished stationary near the bottom. Paddle tail baits are also good but must be cast aggressively in the water column.