February 26, 2014
I’ve a younger good friend from west Texas who all through his years in highschool has been dropping me an occasional observe about fishing. Final January he and his father determined to drive to Colorado to ice fishing for lake trout, their first expertise with lakers in winter. Time was brief earlier than they left, so I outlined briefly by way of e mail what to anticipate. They went, caught nothing, and have been completely puzzled by their lack of ability to seek out fish. I adopted up with a number of previous Ice Fishing Information articles about trout location and presentation choices. They went out once more a month later and jigged up 20 fish.
We’ve got, over the previous a long time, taught those that need to catch lake trout by way of the ice how to take action, whether or not the fish are in New York, Ontario, Utah, or Alaska. The angler wants a transportable flasher or TFT (which carry out to -30Â°F) unit rigged appropriately, to see the lure under the outlet in relation to the underside and the lake trout that come into sight. Jigging with a lure like a 3- or 4-inch plastic tube slipped onto a 1/4- or 3/8-ounce jighead works all over the place trout swim. Conventional spoons work, tooâ€”and likewise swimming lures just like the Jigging Rapala.
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Berkley PowerBait Professional Energy Tube, 4 inches
Canyon Plastics 3.75-inch Gitzit in Pink Pearl Pepper, jighead rigged inside
Canyon Plastics Gitzit, jighead rigged exterior
Northland Buck-Shot Rattle Spoon
Anglers take two elementary approaches to fishing, both transferring comparatively rapidly from lake space to lake space, looking for lively fish; or establishing in identified scorching spots and sticking it out, trusting fish to maneuver by way of the world infrequently. If you are onto journey space, this latter strategy can work.
I’ve all the time opted to maneuver and search. I decide a goodlooking shelf aong a steep shoreline or island, the tip of a mainlake level, or the purpose or inside flip of a sunken island; reduce a half-dozen to a dozen holes at depths starting from about 20 to 60 toes, and provides every gap 5 minutes or so, except fish are transferring by way of.
Lake trout in most lakes, however not all, swim by way of at nearly any depth and positively aren’t caught to the underside. Certainly, I’ve caught extra trout 15 to 25 toes down, it doesn’t matter what the general water depth, than at some other depth. Trout prefer to pin suspended prey up towards the underside of the ice.
In 50 toes of water, I would begin jigging 20 toes down, then drop the jig to 40 toes and jig some extra. The water’s clear and I assume that fish can simply see 20 feetâ€”even way more. After jigging for a bit at 40 toes, I deliver it again as much as, say, 25 feetâ€”then possibly as much as 10 toes, earlier than transferring on to the subsequent gap.
I jig aggressively to draw fish by lifting the jig 3 toes and letting it fall again. Typically a fish rushes the jig and hits with out a lot warning on the depth sounder. This occurs so much when the jig’s down 10 to twenty toes. The sonar cone’s comparatively small at that depth, so you do not see fish coming from a distance, except you discover them rising up from the underside. Different occasions, they rush in and hesitate. Someday I get these fish to take by nodding the rod tip to make the jig quiver, then possibly giving it one other fast lift-fall. Or, I would quiver it then rapidly elevate it up 5 toes, give it a bit lift-fall adopted by one other quiver. Hesitant fish typically grow to be strikers if you tease them up.
You additionally by no means need to simply reel up a jig from any depth earlier than hesitating it 5 or 10 toes under the ice. The act of reeling it up is in itself a robust triggering maneuver.
Lance Sokero, of Waterford, New York, despatched me a observe this 12 months about how he typically finds and triggers the trout on waters like Lake George and the Finger Lakes. On smelt waters like Lake George, he likes to go looking giant flats in 70 to 80 toes of water. Sokero: “The fish often roam these giant flats; considered one of my favorites is about 1 mile by 1 mile with a mixture of mud, gravel, and rock. The fish observe smelt, that are suspended. After I first search a deep flat, I reduce holes about 100 toes aside till I discover fish. I often haven’t got to maneuver except the smelt transfer utterly out of the world.
“In lakes with alewife, huge trout spend lots of time close to backside, though there are suspended fish too. Quite a lot of the flats in these lakes are 120 to 180 toes deep. I start with my lure 10 toes above the underside. If fish transfer by way of suspended at any depth, I rapidly reel the lure as much as them.”
Sokero often fishes with spoons, one favourite being the Northland Buck-Shot Rattle Spoon, in 1/2 or 3/4 ounce. He makes use of all the usual maneuvers I discussed for triggering fish, save one which hasn’t been broadly talked about and may work to set off hesitant trout anyplace they swim. He likes to take a lure away from such fish. That’s, if he encounters fish hesitating as soon as they get close to the lure, he takes the lure away anytime fish begin towards it, bringing it steadily up towards the floor earlier than the fish can really swim as much as scrutinize the spoon.
Sokero: “I attempt to hold the lure away from the fish. This typically triggers them to swim sooner and overtake the lure. At occasions, although, they observe all the way in which to simply beneath the ice with out placing. After Âstopping the lure for a second, I instantly drop it again down 40 toes or so. If the fish follows, I then instantly reel the lure steadily again up towards the ice, once more with the fish following. Typically I will do that 3, 4, or 5 occasions earlier than a fish strikes. Any time I run into hesitant fish I additionally begin experimenting with spoon dimension and colour.”
In lakes with a shad forage base, Sokero says that trout typically do not transfer as quick as these feeding on smelt and ciscoes. He once more begins along with his spoon about 10 toes off backside. As fish come up to have a look at it, he gently lifts the spoon whereas quivering the rod tip. If fish are aggressive, they hit the lure when it has been lifted solely a foot or two. Usually, it takes at the least 10 toes of raise to set off a strike.
Sokero, who stays put as soon as he finds fish, prefers to fish from a shanty, whereas we not often use them, counting on immediately’s nice clothes to remain heat and cellular. A part of the distinction in desire is a matter of the fishing depth. I often use a monofilament line of 10-pound take a look at, ideally Berkley Huge Sport, a particularly dependable and hard line. It is a stretchy line, good for hard-Âcharging lakers in water depth not more than 60 toes deep or so, the place I’d in any other case fear about bending a hook out on the hook-set or in combating a fish.
At occasions Sokero is fishing deeper than 100 toes, the explanation he prefers 6-pound Berkley FireLine, which does not stretch. It is robust to “get hooks” when fishing monofilament that deep. He provides a Berkley fluorocarbon chief about 5 toes lengthy, testing 10 or 12 kilos, to the top of the FireLine. This provides abrasion-Âresistance by way of elevated line diameter.
Sokero’s rod desire is for a medium-action 32-inch St. Croix Premier. I exploit considered one of a number of customized rods made for me years in the past by Thorne Brothers in Minneapolis, Minnesota. My rods fluctuate in size from 36 to 46 inches. Particularly in extraordinarily chilly climate, when an angler is fishing an extended line, it is useful to fish from a shack as a result of FireLine tends to freeze to the spool, whereas monofilament would not.
In fact spinning rod with a clean drag is important to the method. In the meantime, a ball-bearing swivel is tied into the chief line about 2 toes above the lure, to scale back the road twist that outcomes from fixed vertical jigging. I think about Sokero worries about bending hooks out when he fishes shallow water, along with his desire for FireLine, which is why he replaces manufacturing facility hooks with heavier fashions and he replaces manufacturing facility break up rings with heavier break up rings, too.
Harvest lake trout selectively. The larger fish, particularly on Canadian Defend lakes, are all the time very outdated and restricted in quantity. They can not stand any harvest. As soon as a visit, we often hold a 3- or 4-pound fish for a shorelunch of chowderâ€”possibly a fish or two for a barbecue again at camp.
Lake trout are nearly as good because it will get on ice. They develop giant and struggle more durable than absolutely anything else. They’re typically supremely aggressive. I’ve had fish begin up from 40 toes down, charging towards my lure after I’ve simply dropped it down the outlet. These are memorable moments that do not occur with different fish, considered one of many causes trout have grow to be so fashionable.