Winter is fast approaching and in no time at all it will be ice fishing season. Rainbow trout is a very popular fish to go after while ice fishing and we are going to give you some tips to help bring some home with you. Rainbow trout are active during all seasons so getting them through the ice shouldn’t be a problem. The key to landing some nice rainbows while ice fishing is the type of bait you use.
There are many different types of bait that will work to catch rainbow trout but some really good choices are small jigs or small Kastmastersthat have been tipped with maggots or mealworms. Be sure to arrive early in the morning, punch your holes in the ice and then you should let the lake “settle” for about an hour or so. You can use this time to prepare your gear and bait. By waiting about an hour or so you will give the trout some time to get back to normal and get over all the noise that was create from you walking around and drilling your holes.
When your hour is up it is time to place a small jig (from 1/6 to 1/50 of an ounce) or a small KastMaster that has been tipped with maggots or a mealworm through the hole. Most people when ice fishing like to “jig” their jig or Kastmaster constantly, when ice fishing for rainbow trout it is better to not “jig” your bait to often, jigging once ever 30 to 60 seconds is what you are looking for. Just remember when ice fishing for rainbow trout, most of the time less is more when it comes to “jigging” your lure.
Live bait such as minnows, meal worms, maggots, night crawlers, and even Powerbait should be effective for catching rainbow trout when ice fishing. You can effectively “double” your chances of catching rainbows by rigging your bait on a set of #8 or #10 gang hooks. Many people like to use any of the above trout baits by rigging gang hooks baited with bait under tip-ups. This can be a very successful ice fishing strategy.
Location is important when ice fishing for rainbow trout and many times underwater structure is a key to success. If you are familiar with the lake you are fishing or can read a map to determine where underwater rocks, trees, submerged fence lines, etc. are than you will want to punch your holes in these areas. Underwater structure is important to success if you are ice fishing for rainbow trout. Rainbows relate to structure in the winter. Don’t forget about the extreme edges of the lake either; I’m talking about 2-4 feet of water. In many instances rainbow trout are susceptible to be caught through the ice as they “cruise” the shoreline of the lake.