rainbow trout inhabit thousands of natural lakes from maine to washington, including the great lakes. as cold-water fish, trout thrive under the ice and often prefer to feed in shallow water in winter-just the opposite of their summer preferences. in winter, panfish often go deep while trout move shallow. the best bait in natural lakes often is a live mayfly or stonefly nymph. use light line, thin wire hooks or 1/125- to 1/80-ounce jigs, and a small lead shot 18 inches or so above the bait. in the great lakes and in larger reservoirs, minnows often are a top bait.
lip-hook or reverse-hook the minnow. one key to trout location in natural lakes is finding the largest shallow flats in the lake, since these areas tend to produce the most food. trout feed deeper, too, but when they do, it often occurs just past the lip of the first major drop leading to these shallow flats. mobility often is a negative when fishing for rainbow trout in shallow water, since activity spooks them. scatter them over the flat and along the lip of the drop-off where the deepest water approaches closest to the flat. they return in the evening, and some continue feeding through the night.
the beginning of the season offers some of the best rainbow trout fishing as the oxygen levels are still high in the water and the fish are aggressively feeding. rainbows will relate to shallow water in the winter months, sometimes as shallow as 3 feet under the ice. rainbows like to cruise the ledges adjacent to weeded areas seeking forage. the best is if you can look down your ice hole and see half the hole is weeds and half is not; then you know you are in a prime area! later in the day the rainbows will become less active in the shallow water and they will move out to the deeper 10 to 20 foot range.
as the evening sets in the trout will start to come back up to the shallow areas to feed, so you should follow. regardless of where you choose to fish on the lake it is a good idea to get to the lake early and drill all your holes. when the trout are feeding up on the weeded shoals its important to keep your presentation very close to the bottom, as this is where the trout find most of their food. using small spoons such as a mack’s lure hum dinger or sonic baitfish when the rainbows are suspended over the deeper water will attract the rainbows from a far and entice them to attack your gear. rainbow trout are either super aggressive or very picky on what they choose to eat. rainbows have an excellent sense of smell; so adding scent onto the lures and bait such as the pro-cure trophy trout ice gel encourages the trout to hold onto the bait for a longer period allowing for a greater hook set.
generally speaking, the best spots to find rainbow trout under the ice are large shallow flats and shoals. these expansive areas with muddy bottom and weed beds the best bait in natural lakes often is a live mayfly or stonefly nymph. use light line, thin wire hooks or 1/125- to 1/80-ounce jigs, and a look for areas on the lake that offer flat shoals with a drop off ledges. rainbows like to cruise the ledges adjacent to weeded areas seeking forage. drill your, ice fishing trout with nightcrawlers, ice fishing trout with nightcrawlers, best bait for rainbow trout in winter, ice fishing for trout in wisconsin, ice fishing for trout tips.
4. different ice fishing trout bait & lures jigs: jigs in the 1/64 to 1/8-ounce range (use the appropriate weight for the water depth and conditions) can be ice fishing for trout first, stick with live bait. yes, you can catch trout while jigging artificials, but live bait simply works better. second, fish near the first thing i look for is a shallow, weedy bay when i’m ice fishing on a rainbow trout lake, or on a body of water that rainbows share with, ice fishing for trout in maine, how to jig for rainbow trout ice fishing, ice fishing for trout in michigan, ice fishing for trout with tip ups.
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