Stocked trout lakes offer an underrated ice fishing experience during a time when most folks are thinking walleye, pike and panfish. What makes this type of fishing especially enjoyable is the visual aspect.
Often times, you’re fishing in ultra-clear water where sight fishing is easy and underwater cameras can see a LONG ways. Dig around online and you might be surprised how many stocked trout lakes you have in your area.
When it comes to catching stocked trout there are two baits I will start with. The first is an aggressive style minnow profile bait like Rapala Rippin Rap.
It has an aggressive action and gives off a ton of noise calling in the fish. I will also tip one of the treble hooks with a wax worm so the trout have something to key in on.
If I am having success seeing first with the Rippin Rap, but they are not hitting it I will switch over to a small tungsten jig like Northland’s Mite Mouse Jig and I will tip it with a wax worm or spike.
Trout are very visual feeders and changing your presentation can greatly improve your success rate.
Don’t be afraid to change lures often until you find out what the trout are willing to bite.
Stocked trout lakes offer a unique opportunity for ice fishing enthusiasts to target a variety of fish species. While popular species like bluegills and walleyes are always a great catch, there are some more exotic species that can make for an exciting ice fishing experience. In this article, we will explore the thrill of fishing for whitefish, catfish, and one of my personal favorites, rainbow trout.
Rainbow Trout: A Cool Mission
Rainbow trout are known for their vibrant colors and acrobatic fights, making them a sought-after species for ice fishing. Before we dive into the details of fishing for rainbow trout, let’s take a look at some stocking reports. According to the link I’m about to share, there have been reports of some impressive catches, with adult trout weighing around three to four pounds. These fish can provide quite the challenge and excitement for ice anglers.
Choosing the Right Spot
When targeting rainbow trout, it’s important to choose the right fishing spot. In this article, we will explore the thrill of fishing for whitefish, catfish, and one of my personal favorites, rainbow trout. Rainbow trout are known for their vibrant colors and acrobatic fights, making them a sought-after species for ice fishing. Before we dive into the details of fishing for rainbow trout, let’s take a look at some stocking reports. According to the link I’m about to share, there have been reports of some impressive catches, with adult trout weighing around three to four pounds. These fish can provide quite the challenge and excitement for ice anglers.
Choosing the Right Spot
When targeting rainbow trout, it’s important to choose the right fishing spot. In this video, I’m looking at the stocking reports of a particular lake. It seems that they have stocked some big rainbow trout, with adults weighing around three to four pounds. This lake has a sharp drop-off near the bank, which transitions into a shallow flat. This area is a key spot where the fish can be corralled into a smaller area. Later in the day, when the sun gets higher, we might move out to deeper water. But for now, we’ll start fishing close to the bank.
Regulations and Trout Stamps
Before heading out to fish for rainbow trout, it’s important to check the regulations for the designated trout lakes in your area. These regulations may differ from the general fishing regulations. For example, in Minnesota, you can fish with two lines in designated trout lakes, but only one line in other lakes. Additionally, you will need a trout stamp, which helps fund the stocking programs for these lakes. The fees associated with the trout stamp go directly into stocking the lakes. In Minnesota alone, there are numerous stocked lakes, providing ample opportunities for ice anglers.
Trout Fishing Beyond Minnesota
Trout fishing is not limited to Minnesota. Other states like Wisconsin, North Dakota, South Dakota, and even Northwest Ontario and Michigan have designated trout lakes. Additionally, the Great Lakes fisheries offer the opportunity to catch monstrous-sized trout, some weighing up to 25 pounds. These fisheries provide a unique and exciting experience for ice anglers looking to target larger trout.
The Art of Ice Fishing for Rainbow Trout
Now that we have covered the basics, let’s talk about the techniques and gear needed for ice fishing rainbow trout. Rainbow trout are visually-oriented fish, so being able to see the fish and their reactions to your bait is crucial. The clear water in many trout lakes allows for excellent visibility, making it easier to spot the fish.
To get started, I set up my clammy and get ready to fish. I use a VMC tungsten probe, which is an ultra-finesse jig designed specifically for trout. It’s important to use light line when targeting trout, as they can be quite finicky. I prefer using four-pound test fluorocarbon line, as it provides the sensitivity and invisibility needed to fool these wary fish.
When it comes to bait, trout have a varied diet, including bugs, insects, freshwater shrimp, and even plankton. Therefore, using small lures is often effective. I like to use a little VMC tungsten ice fly with a red-colored spike for added attraction. The key is to hang the bait vertically in the water column, allowing it to mimic the natural movement of prey.
Patience and Stealth
Trout can be quite spooky, so it’s important to be patient and stealthy when ice fishing for them. Setting up in a spot and waiting for the fish to come to you can often yield better results than constantly moving around. Trout tend to circle certain areas, such as ledge drops or distinct points, so positioning yourself in their path can increase your chances of success.
It’s also worth noting that larger trout often swim closer to the surface, while smaller ones can be found deeper down. Keeping this in mind can help you target the size of trout you’re looking to catch. Remember to be observant and watch for any signs of fish activity, such as fish cruising near the surface or feeding below it.
Ice fishing for rainbow trout can be an exhilarating experience. The vibrant colors and acrobatic fights of these fish make them a favorite among anglers. Whether you’re fishing in Minnesota, Wisconsin, or even the Great Lakes, there are plenty of opportunities to target these beautiful fish. Just make sure to check the regulations and obtain a trout stamp before heading out. Remember to use light line, small lures, and practice patience and stealth to increase your chances of success. So grab your gear and get ready for an exciting ice fishing adventure targeting rainbow trout!