With lakes all across Canada starting to freeze over the fun is just beginning. As you gear up for the season’s coldest pastime, we’ve got five tips to consider before dropping a lure in search of your next hidden lunker. Whether you’re just scratching the surface of this time-tested Canadian tradition or a seasoned angler, the real secret is having knowledge. The more you know about ice fishing for lake trout, the more you’ll catch.
MAKE THE MOST OF YOUR TIME
A successful day on the ice often begins in the morning when most fish are at their peak of activity. But before you hit the slab at the crack of dawn, it’s important to know the water you’re fishing in. Conditions will vary by the day, if not by the hour and it’s advantageous to learn the fishery. In our neck of Southern Ontario, Lake Simcoe is known for its abundance of lake trout. When the ice fishing season first opens up, lake trout often hang out in close proximity to their spawning locations (shallow water with boulders or rubble bottoms.) Wherever it is that you decide to set up your rig, be sure to familiarize yourself with how the fish behave in colder temperatures.
BUY QUALITY, AND MAINTAIN YOUR GEAR
Unlike the warmer months, the setup isn’t quite as simple as a pole, hooks, and worms. For what is affectionately known as “hard water haven,” preparation is half the fun. But if you don’t already own quality gear, be prepared to dig deep into your pockets. Nothing will ruin a perfectly good fishing day more than equipment failures in frigid conditions. If you’re looking for a new selection of tournament quality, Canadian-made fishing lures for the winter months, we recommend adding this kit to your tackle box.
If you’re not getting any bites, move on to a different spot. You might even have multiple holes going at once, with rods set up on stands. When the rod tip bobs and snaps down, scramble back, dig your heels into the ice and hang on! Half the game is an attraction. If they see it, hear it or feel it, lake trout will investigate with violence. The BamZooka is perhaps our most versatile tube which will pull your prey from heavy cover with its scent-infused, salt and UV loaded qualities. It seems like no matter where you fish for lake trout, a white tube jig is the “gold standard.”
GIVE IT A LITTLE ACTION
Jigging is a commonly effective form of ice fishing for lake trout. Of course, the beauty of fishing is that everyone develops their own method for success. You might even find that when the jigging rod is catching all of the fish, the same lure attached to the deadstick can be just as good, or even better. Be willing to experiment. Even if the fish seem to lose interest, keep in mind that these creatures, like people, tend to slow down to semi-hibernation state in winter.
Whether they catch their limit or walk away empty handed, good anglers always appreciate their time on the ice. Absorb the winter scenery, breathe in the fresh air and swap some stories with your buds. Time spent fishing is never wasted! Personal comfort and success facilitate a positive experience. Use the regular fishing season to do your homework. Prepare for the conditions and be ready to adjust tactics and location. These are the most important elements of success.