7 Tips for Ice Fishing Lake Trout That Will Bring You the Most Catches

Ice Fishing Lake Trout - Tips and Tricks

Winters mean hunting of lake trout for anglers in North America. From the Rocky Mountains to Upstate New York, lake trout is an apex predator in many lakes and reservoirs. Considered as fast and powerful fish species, lake trout can become more active and prevailing under the ice. Here, I want to share some important tricks and tips for ice fishing lake trout that help you to tackle lake trout in ice.

Tips for Ice Fishing Lake Trout That you need to keep in mind

1. Do Research

With 6300,000 plus lakes and reservoirs, it is daunting to find the best spot in North America to catch lake trout. It is a midwinter fish species and anglers can locally find them in many of the states of the US such as California, Washington DC, North Dakota, Wyoming, South Dakota, Colorado, Maryland, Idaho, Ney York, Pennsylvania, and Massachusetts.

Before starting your fishing session, it is important to learn basic info about your desired fish species. A little research will help you to look for your prey at spots where the chances of catching these species are full.

Salvelinus Namaycush is the scientific name of Lake trout. It is considered as a char and close relative of salmon, Dolly Virden, brook trout, and bull trout. Lakers or lake trout prefer to live in deep iced water, so winter is the best time to catch some. With bulky bodies and large heads, lake trout are powerful and strong enough to escape from your escape.

2. Planning

Imagine going out for fishing and cannot tackle any fish. Planning is the most important part of fishing, especially if you are going to catch lake trout. Finding a good fishing spot is crucial; the Lakers change their habitat according to the weather condition. In March and April, lake trout will start moving to the deeper holes. In June, you can catch the majority of Lakers in 70-80 feet water depth.

Lake trout are most likely to move 80-120 feet water depth during July and August. In September, Lakers go deeper into the water but finding them in shallow water is not a good idea. Moreover, most of the lake trout will feed near the clouds of bait fishes. Learning about the habitat changing the behaviour of Lakers will help you in planning your fishing session.

Learn more about what is the necessary information you need to know before planning to go for fishing Lakers.

3. Safety First

No doubt, fishing is a fun and healthy activity for everyone. Some of the fishes are small and easy-to-handle. But most of the fish species are brutal with a fighting nature, and it is not easy to tackle them. Lake trout is one of those fish species that are known as water monsters. So, if you want to go out for fishing Lakers, there are some important safety points that you should keep in mind.

· Always check the latest updates on the weather forecast before going out.

· Never fish alone (especially if you are tackling large fishes such as salmon, Lakers, walleye, etc.), always fish with a friend.

· Wear a personal floatation device and take all the fishing safety measures with yourself.

· Do appropriate clothing and wear shoes that have non-slip soles

· Weather and water condition can change any second. So pay all attention to the water

· Keep a close eye on your prey

· Always prepare an escape plan, take time to learn more about fish species and your desire fish spot

· Never take a danger sign for-granted, and if your prey threatens your sell position, leave your spot immediately.

There is more to learn about the safety precautions that you should keep in mind before heading for fishing.  

4. Jog with Spring Bobber

Lake trout only attack the things that are visible to them. Whenever they see something, they attack it and follow their expected spot. Lakers are effective hunters, and if you produce jig erratically, they are not going to attack. The darting pattern of Lakers depends on the consistency of the jig. So, they try to catch a lure that travels in a straight line. A fish will never change its path unless it is necessary and Lakers know this point well. 

The hunting strategy of lake trout base on the consistent rhythm and that is the reason it is too hard for a Laker to catch bait with erraticism. It is necessary to give a lifelike look to your jig that can lure your prey. If you are jigging randomly, then Lakers will take your jig away from your fishing reel, and you will be left empty-handed.

What is a suitable rhythm for jigging? There is no rule to follow. You can try jigging at a different speed and find a suitable scale for rhythm.

Learn about the relation between jigging rhythm and winding speed.

5. Important Things to Consider

Before going hunting lake trout, there are some important things that every angler should keep in mind.

·      Temperature

Knowing the temperature scale of fish that you are trying to catch is an essential point. One of the most important things that you should know is the water temperature. For this purpose, you can purchase an inexpensive thermometer or depth gauges. Lakers are cold-blooded, and they cannot handle the warmth of their own body. Lake trout react differently to different temperatures and weather conditions.

Most of the winter season, they spend deeper on the water surface while in the summer season they stay near to the surface. During midwinters (March and April), lake trout stay 50-55 feet in depth while in July and August, they will go 80-120 feet depth in the water.

Learn more about the temperature effect on the habitat of fish species.

·     Search in Shallow Water

As we know, lake trout are cold-blooded, and they spend most of their time on the water surface during winters. In summer, the water surface is too hot, and it is difficult for the Lakers to handle the warmness. That is why; anglers certainly look for lake trout in deep waters during that season. In the winter, the temperature of shallow water is much more likeable by this fish species.

During midwinters, Lakers will stay closer to the water surface because of the less supply of oxygen and food in the shallow water.

So, don’t worry, if you cannot catch any lake trout in deep water, switch your fishing to the shallow water to tackle some huge Lakers. The scientific name of lake trout is “Deep Water Fish” and with water being colder during winter is the perfect time to set your fishing trip.

6. Location

No doubt, anglers pursue the hunting of many fish species during the winter season, but Lake trout is on the top of the list. Finding the best places to Lakers is to start fishing right below the underwater cliff. These structural areas are favourite hunting spot of lake trout because it gives them a huge advantage of leaving no escape option for their preys.

The cold water of northern areas is hotspots of finding Lakers. From Canada to lake & reservoirs regions such as Alaska, Washington DC, Idaho, Wyoming, and many lake regions of England, this fish species also appear in Tennessee, Kentucky, California, and Utah.

Learn more about the location of this fish species in Northern America.  

·     40-60 Feet Deep Lower Line

Lake trout loves cold water; it is common to search Lakers underwater, especially in the range of 0-60 feet. For finding the lower line in the depth, you can use a depth finder device or any other fishing gear. It will help you to estimate the exact point. Lakers swim to the shallow in the winter during midwinters. But 40-60 feet depth is a common range to start your fishing session.

Learn more about the techniques that help you to estimate the depth underwater.

·     Lighting Condition

During summer, Lakers hit the water surface in the early morning and at 10:30 am. In June and July, lake trout only hit the water surface, if the sky is clear and water is calm. Any other weather conditions and wind pressure will slow down the activities of Lakers. In winter and Midwinter, this fish species spend most of their time on the water surface and hunt their prey in midday light.

·     Depth

During spring, the water surface starts to warm up, so Lakers start moving to go deeper in the water. Summer is the trickiest season for lake trout due to unexpected changes in weather conditions. They try to find thermal layers or find shallow holes that pump cold water in the lake. Here is the 3 approximate water depth that lake trout prefer during a different time of the year.

  1. Midwinter: the water surface or 10 feet depth
  2. Mid-spring: spend most of the time between 20 to 30 feet depth
  3. Summer: they prefer to stay in 53-55 feet depth of the water

·     Setup

There are lots of different methods to set up for lake trout. There are 4 important techniques for setting a trap for this water monster fish species.

  1. Start fishing by casting the spinner reel slightly upright in the slackline.
  2. For achieving the natural drift, hold on the fishing line for maximum time.
  3. Go with moderate retrieve after the spinner swayed towards the shore
  4. For driving deep in the depth and shallow water, use worm or artificial bait with a split shot.

Here is the diagram setup for lining a trap for Lakers.

7. Types of Trout

There are 15 plus different types of lake trout, but brown and rainbow trout are easy to found.

Rainbow Trout: Oncorhynchus mykiss is its scientific name, rainbow trout are native to North America. The colour of this fish species vary according to the water clarity, age, habitat, and feeding behaviour. From shiny blue to pink, rainbow trout has a silver olive green appearance. With a dorsal fin and tail, the complete body of this fish species is covered with black dots. The olive green colour of rainbow fish species disappears when fish reaches 25 cm length.

Brown Trout: Salmo Trutta is its scientific name, and this fish species is native to Europe. This is a long elongated fish species that has a solid and wide body with larger heads. As compared to rainbow trout, it has a larger mouth that goes all way back to the eyes. In many cases, brown trout grows 35 cm in streams and reach 80cm length in the river.

Learn more about rainbow and trout fish species.

Why is lake trout fishing popular?

A unique Canadian fish species, Lakers are the member of the char family. Lake trout are easily recognized by their huge bodies, wide mouths, and large head. During ice fishing, it is easy to do trolling. It is the easiest and effective technique of jigging and creating consistent rhythm. Winters are the favourite season of this fish species, and it is not difficult to find them in winter.

Multiple Baits Types Make it Easy 

From Marabou jig to sonar and from plastic baits to crankbait, there are multiple options available that you can utilize. In the case of ice fishing, white is the most effective colour because it looks natural underwater and easily deceives the lake trout. Don’t hesitate to experiment, try different colours and sizes of baits because one size never fits in all situations.

 Going with a friend is helpful if you are going for ice fishing. There are many other benefits of fishing with friends than having a good company. For example, if your friend successfully holds on the lake, trout go right away to the hole and cast your line. Lake trout travel in groups, so there are 100% chances that you can get your hands on others too.

Learn more about the benefits of ice fishing with a friend.

Essential Gears for Ice Fishing That You Need to Keep

With a simple spinning rod and live baits, ice fishing is also simple. But there is some bare bone when it comes to drilling through the hold and fishing gears. No matter, if you are a beginner or a pro-level angler, there are some important ice fishing gears that every angler should have before going for ice fishing.

6 jigs and minnows for trapping your prey

  1. · The portable heater in ice fishing helps you to stay safe from the frigid cold weather
  2. · Ice shelter is used for the exposure of carbon monoxide during ice fishing
  3. · An auger, it is a drilling device with a rotating helical screw
  4. · Best quality fishing rods and reels for winning the fight against lake trout
  5. · Fishing line is similar to a string; it is a durable cord that is used for better angling
  6. · Jig and minnows allow you to hook up your live bait and trap your prey

Ice Fishing Location That Will Bring You the Most Catches

Here are the 5 best fishing locations are the world:

  1. · Higgin Lake, Michigan
  2. · Devil’s Lake, North Dakota
  3. · Ammassalik, Greenland
  4. · Lake of the Woods, Ontario Manitoba
  5. · Antero Reservoirs, Colorado

Learn more about international fishing locations

Here are the 8 Favourite hotspots of catching lake trout in North America

  1. Georgia and Alabama Lakes
  2. Alaska and down to Mexico
  3. Reservoirs of Henry’s Fork
  4. White Rivers in Missouri and Arkansas
  5. Bull Shoals Lake
  6. Montana’s Bighorn River
  7. Deschutes River in Oregon
  8. Pacific Coast to the Rocky Mountains

Here, learn some more facts about lake trout.


Here, I have tried my best to cover all the important tips and tricks for ice fishing. Hopefully, these points will help you to get your hands on many great Lakers. Moreover, do your complete research on ice fishing and lake trout before planning a trip.

Steve Hudson

I have been an outdoor activities enthusiast from teenage. I have been going out with my parents on different outdoor activities such as camping and hiking. After moving to a town surrounded by three well known fishing spots, I started fishing and started using all kinds of tricks and equipment to make the most out of each adventure I pursued. Over the years I have been camping outdoor, hiking and following my passion of enjoying life at full. Few years ago, I started writing about my thoughts, experiments and ideas about outdoor, fishing, hiking and more. This blog is a compilation of that plus tips, ideas and products that can make life more meaningful, enjoyable and a pleasant.

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