The lake trout — generally known as gray trout — is a species designed by Mom Nature for winter. The colder, snappier, and brighter the winter day, the extra these gray trout prefer it. They often strike a jigged line with ferocity, and when hooked by means of the ice, hardly ever struggle with something lower than full dedication. The laker, nevertheless, can be a fickle character. Listed here are a few of my ideas and reflections on catching the right winter fish.

Chilly and vibrant is true

It’s not which you can’t catch lake trout when it’s gentle and cloudy. You may. Nevertheless, if I had been to decide on the right day to chase lakers on ice, it could be a crisp and sunny day in January, February, or March. The excessive stress related to chilly days is a set off for lake trout.

Final February, I made a decision to go laker fishing on Lake Superior simply east of Thunder Bay. Circumstances had been harsh — some may say brutal — and for some odd cause, nobody wished to go along with me. My snow machine protested the -25 ̊C air. When it sputtered to life, I hooked on my fish entice sled and made a brief run onto the ice. I drilled two holes, flipped the tent over my head and turned on the warmth.

I clipped on a silver and purple Williams Whitefish jigging spoon and let it slowly flutter. My Humminbird flasher confirmed the spoon because it descended 85 ft to backside. Most lakers hug the underside, though they’ll chase a lure effectively up. The spoon touched backside, and I closed the bail. Lifting the rod tip up and then dropping it slowly allowed the spoon to flutter and dance. That spoon danced a few dozen occasions when a big mark all of the sudden appeared on my flasher display. The road tightened on the upstroke and a lake trout was on. I’ve finished a variety of ice fishing in my day, however there are few emotions as satisfying because the thump of a giant laker. It by no means will get outdated. The fish made a pair runs and fought doggedly all the best way to the highest. On the gap, I reached down and grabbed the fish by the gill plate. It was an ideal specimen, about seven kilos, with that gray and cream mottling that’s so distinctive. That trout was the primary of eight I’d land in just some hours. The lakers had been on a tear that day because the chilly winds of February rattled the tent. The underside line is that this: don’t keep away from the chilly, vibrant days if you happen to like lakers.

Combine it up

Lake trout are an aggressive fish, so my choice is to make use of methods that set off strikes. The go-to method entails a spoon jigged on 20-pound take a look at braided line with a 15-pound monofilament or fluorocarbon chief. There are numerous nice lake trout jigging spoons, however the Williams Jigging spoon, Williams Bully, EGB Killer Copper, Fortunate Strike Algonquin Wobbler, Swedish Pimple, Gibbs Kroc, Hopkins Smoothie, and Buzz Bomb are a few of the classics. Have a number of totally different sizes of spoon from 1⁄4 ounce to 1 ounce or extra. In huge water, a bigger, heavier spoon can name fish in very successfully.

Plan B

When lakers are coming right into a spoon however not placing, switching to a extra delicate presentation is the important thing to getting bit. The traditional winter lake trout plastic is a four-inch white or pearl tube with a half-ounce head. The gradual spiral of a tube to the underside is often greater than a fickle lake trout can endure. Basic tubes like those used for smallmouth fishing will do the job. I’ve additionally had good success with the specialty lake trout tubes known as Starvation Strike, made by Drop Tine deal with in northwestern Ontario ( They’re pre-rigged with a treble and most important single hook and have the added attraction of a small spinner blade teaser. Starvation Strike tubes are available in all kinds of sizes and hues. Minnow and vibro-tail our bodies are additionally choices that may be fished on swimbait heads. I’ll typically reel the plastic away from a trout that’s being fickle and make it chase. It’s superb how typically that fleeing lure triggers a strike. If the fish stops chasing, let the tube free fall. Typically that is sufficient to change the channel.

Electronics key

Having good electronics when fishing lakers is a recreation changer. An old-school flasher will work and offers you all the fundamental data you want. Nevertheless, the brand new breed of ice sonars embody GPS mapping and quite a lot of zooms and show decisions. Having the ability to see when a lake trout is approaching and the way it’s reacting to your presentation, could be the distinction between catching fish or getting skunked. In case you don’t like expertise and simply need to drop a spoon to the underside and jig, that can work too. The lakers don’t know you might be old style.

There are numerous shades to gray trout.

Initially revealed within the Jan.-Feb. 2023 challenge of Ontario OUT of DOORS Journal

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