Whether you’re a beginner or a pro, there are a few essential tips to help you jig for lake trout ice fishing. The location of your fishing spot is the first thing to consider, but the lures you use will make a big difference in your success.
Location is the hardest part of the puzzle.
Using the right lure and fishing in the right location are two keys to success. You need to know where to start, whether you’re catching lake trout or other big fish. This can be challenging when the water is frozen over. Fortunately, an electronic bathymetric map will tell you where to find the baitfish.
The best locations to fish include points, islands, underwater humps, and other structures. The best spots will usually be in 10 to 80 feet of water.
There are many ways to catch lake trout on ice. Some anglers swear by jigging a medium-sized minnow over the bottom at 20-plus feet. Other methods include fishing the edge of a bluff or channel. You can also look for submerged islands or saddles of shallow water between islands.
Getting a lake trout on the ice is no small feat, but it isn’t impossible. Remember that these powerful fish are pack predators and need to feed frequently. For example, lake trout move in and out of deeper water to feed when the weather warms up, and the ice breaks up. A good indicator is a change in the current flow. This can be the nudge that triggers a bite.
The trick to catching lake trout on the ice is to scout for the best places to find them. In other words, don’t be afraid to fish around. You may just be surprised by a strike.
Use the correct type of leader.
Choosing the right leader for lake trout ice fishing can make all the difference. The type of leader you use depends on your fishing style and the water you’re fishing in. It must also be strong enough to land fighting fish but not spooky to them.
While fluorocarbon is the best leader for lake trout ice fishing, monofilament is also a great option. Mono is affordable and can work well in dirty water. You can get a mono line in various colors, including clear. It’s also great for a sliding sinker rig.
You can find a leader with various lengths, from 12 to 30 inches. The longer the leader, the more difficult it is to cast. It would help if you also chose a leader thinner than the rest of your line. Using a light leader will reduce visibility and keep your trout from spotting your line.
For example, if you’re ice fishing in clear water, you’ll want to have a leader at least 2 feet long. It would help if you could tie the leader tightly to your setup.
You can also tie a treble hook to the leader. This allows you to hold on to the bait and catch more fish. Similarly, a split shot can keep your bait in the strike zone. A pencil-shaped bobber will help you detect light bites.
If fishing in deeper water, you might need a heavier test line. You can also use a flasher to show the fish you’re fishing.
Present the jigs on the fluttering fall
Using the proper jigs on the fluttering fall is a great way to increase your angling productivity. Using a large jig head can also help you create an irresistible lure combo for feeding lake trout.
There are two main types of jigs for the fluttering fall. One type is the S-shape style, which is designed to promote water displacement. This type of jig is very effective for attracting fish from a distance. It is made with a slight bend that creates vibration and erratic action.
Another type of jig is the shad style, which mimics a shad’s body shape and movement. These jigs are very effective when there are a large number of shad in the area. A shad-style jig usually has an up-jig motion that produces a tight vibration.
Consider using an octopus hook rigged beneath the dorsal fin. These octopus hooks can be a 1/0 to a 3/0. You can also tie a soft plastic tail on the jig.
You can also use the Oddball Jig, which can be worked just under the ice. These jigs can be tipped with a minnow, adding a bit of sweetening.
The standard jig is a tried and true jig that you’ll find in your tackle box throughout the year. It’s very effective and can be tipped with a minnow or soft plastic.
Ensure the current under the ice is fast enough and fast enough.
Using a jig as bait is a well-proven fishing method. The trick is to snag these silver foxes with a bit of finesse. The secret is in figuring out the best location to cast a line. The most optimal places for this action are in or around lake inlets, outlet rivers, and shallow bays or coves. Try and fish around the edges of docks as the lakers are near their food source. This tactic works exceptionally well in the colder months when the sun has retreated a lance, and the ice cover is still thick.
The best jig for this task involves a trip backward and forwards to retrieve your bait. A good time to do this is early in the season when the fish are in full winter mode. There are plenty of lures on the market to choose from, but if you incline, you can do just as well with a fly rod and a good pair of trebles.
As with most ice-fishing endeavors, the most challenging part of the task is finding the optimal vantage point. Fortunately, there are several ways to do this. The most effective are the jigs above and spins, which can be paired with a small set of nimble fingers to ensure a successful day of fishing. The most successful methods are a matter of luck and experience, but you can also rely on the pros to call the shots.
Make sure the lures are noisy.
During the winter, lake trout hit hard. They are formidable predators and will eat anything in their path. Fortunately, they are straightforward to catch. However, you must know the proper technique and use the best gear to ensure a successful ice fishing experience.
The most effective way to ice fish for lake trout is to set up in their favorite ambush spots. The best places to target these hard-fighting fish are hollow points, underwater humps, and saddles between islands. These areas will be at least 10 to 80 feet deep. Try jigging. The best lures for lake trout include tube jigs and spoons.
If you don’t want to jig, trolling is a good alternative. To troll, you’ll need a 3-way swivel and a small, 1-ounce or 2-ounce weight. You’ll also want to attach a floater to your line. This will help you track your bait. It would help if you trolled very slowly.
For the ice-fishing-shy, a buddy system can help. Your partner can guide you to the best spots and watch your lures.
In the spring, the color of the lure can make a difference. A bright orange is often a popular choice. Red, pumpkinseed, and other colors can also be effective.
Another option is to drill prospect holes to find the best spots. Aside from checking depth, you’ll also want to check the quality of your ice. A slushy ice layer is 50 percent weaker than clear ice.
Get the correct type of tackle.
Getting the correct type of tackle for lake trout ice fishing can make all the difference. While it is common to use lightweight gear for other kinds of ice fishing, a heavy-action jigging rod and a reel with a sound drag system are essential for success.
The most common type of ice fishing line is braided. The bar is strong, has little stretch, and offers incredible sensitivity. This line is also less likely to break when rubbed around ice holes.
The best lake trout lures include a tube jig, swim baits, spoons, or a rattling trap. Choose a model with a variable drag setting on the spool on an excellent tip-up. This will help prevent false tip-up alarms.
The first step in locating lake trout through the ice is to check the depth and current strength of the water. You will also want to check the structure in the area. Some of the most productive spots are in the shallows, around weed beds, or in a bay leading into the main lake.
The fish often travel in small groups. When they move into the shallows, they feed gluttonously before moving back into deeper water.
The best lake trout lures for ice fishing are white. You will often see lake trout cruising in small hunting parties, following schools of baitfish. They will then bump your interest to determine whether it is tasty.