Ice Fishing Lake Trout

Here is my take on using artificial lures for lake trout.
First we have to understand how a lake trout hunts. If you take a look at the placement of a trout’s eyes on it’s head. They are near the top of it’s head much like a walleye. They usually spot their food source above them. Sure they can look down but they love to ambush from below. Now check out a salmon’s eye placement. Their eyes are placed way down their heads which is perfect for horizontal hunting, almost like a pike.
Adding to this, now, is water temperature. In the summer lake trout are in their preferred temperature zones in the depths of a lake. In the winter this changes and they hunt using the whole water column as the water is basically the same temperature….. COLD! Lake trout can be shallow, mid depth or deep.
Now I just want to take a minute to dispel a common myth that lake trout will get the ‘bends” when caught out of deep water while ice fishing. They won’t if they are allowed to burp. When you catch a lake trout from deep water, when 50they burp, you will sometimes see big bubbles coming up in the hole. That’s from the trout.
Lure selection, White is a very common and great choice for lake trout. People think the trout can see it better, shows up better, etc. As I mentioned earlier white is a great choice because trout hunt looking up. And now I ask you…….. What is the colour of every fishes belly? In my opinion, that is why white is a good choice. Silvers, golds, blues, black, and pink are my other choices.
I talk to many people and they like to use a minnow, be it a sucker, cisco and for where allowed, smelts. These are all great choices. Two of these bait choices live and feed quite a bit of the time suspended. Suckers like the bottom. Many anglers like to hover their bait 1-2 feet off bottom. And yes you can catch trout this way. But try bringing that bait up off the bottom. If you are in 50 feet try suspending the bait at around 35-40 feet. I use this analogy, You are standing next to me. I point at a white rabbit in a snow cover field. I have to really point and describe to you where that rabbit is so you can see it. Now I ask you if you can see the plane flying over head. You see it pretty much right away. Same thing happens under the ice. I have caught trout right under the ice over 100 feet of water and they are usually pretty big ones too.
Now back to artificial baits. You can use what ever you like it’s pretty much all the same concept. Also electronics will enhance your game a 1000 fold as you can see where in the water column the trout are. I like to start jigging at 1/2-2/3 of the water depth I’m fishing. So if I’m in 40 feet I like to start between 20 and 30 feet. and so on. If nothing seems to be attracted I’ll use the sit and wait. That means I won’t move the lure at all. I can only remember once that a trout came and hit the stationary lure. But when you see one approaching your lure, start reeling the lure up. You can jig while reeling up. The most important thing is to keep moving away from the trout. Watch what happens. You just increased your odds on a hook up.
Here’s some lure tips.
Try inserting a Hopkins spoon into a tube. Spoon action tube style. (I know Gussy wrote about this and it isn’t my idea either. It’s a bass tactic from back in the 80’s!)
Try vibrating lures such as a Zonar, Cicada and I can’t remember the name of the blade bait but it’s my new favourite and it’s in the same aisle in DNR as the Swedish pimples. Rattle traps and Rattlin Raps work but I find that the sink to slow..