Best Kayak Fishing Rods
Best Kayak Fishing Rods

Ice Fishing Lake Trout: Tips and Tricks

Salvelinus Namaycush is a salmonid cousin to both salmon and Brook trout. They are distinguished by their silver-gray bodies and forked tails.

These large fish are both fun to catch and delicious to eat. However, ice fishing for these predators in cold water is possible if you understand the effects of temperature on their movements. Lake trout, unlike other species that you might chase under the ice and fish for, is perfectly at home in cold water.

Below are some great tips and tricks for ice fishing trout. These links will provide you with more information about other species.

  • Walleye Ice Fishing Tips & Techniques
  • Sunfish Ice Fishing Tips & Techniques
  • Crappie Ice Fishing Tips & Techniques
  • Perch Ice Fishing Tips and Techniques
  • Muskie Ice Fishing Tips & Techniques
  • Northern Pike Ice Fishing Tips and Techniques

Tips, tricks,s, and techniques for ice fishing for lake trout

  • Do the right thing like trout will follow when oxygen levels begin to drop and baitfish rise in the water column. They can be found in the water just below the ice. We use a trick to get them to jig immediately. These predators are known to strike a jig when it falls into a hole. Make sure you get the water just below the ice before you attempt the bottom.
  • There are no missed opportunities for bumpsLake trout are sight predators and will spot the flash of your spoon, or the skirt of your tube-jig from far away. They may rush in and bump your lure to check if it is edible. Don’t worry if they bump your lure, just keep jigging. They will turn around and return for a bite.
  • Packpredators like trout are often hunted in packs. One fisherman will hit another and they’ll be out looking for food. Fish multiple poles, if legal, and quickly drop a quick jig at the same spot if your buddy pulls one.
  • Get on board with the fall lake trout will often strike lures in the fluttering fall. You must take your time and let nature do the rest.
  • Make your lures more appealing they rely on sight to find prey. However, they can be spooked by scent and taste. We like to attach a small minnow to the two ends of larger lures.
  • Rhythm is the key however, erratic movements are a good idea for pike but not for lake trout. Lake trout can see their food from far away and will rush to catch it. Your lure will be more predictable to them if you jig your movements consistently and rhythmically. You can help them locate your hook by using consistent movement.
  • A leader is a good choice you’ll need a strong tackle to get these giants to their hole. But, keep in mind that they have sharp teeth! We recommend strong leaders at least 2 feet in height and either fluorocarbon wire ortileablee wire.
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Lake Trout Basics

Lake trout’sintolerancet to warm water is the most important thing you need to know. Summer is their worst season, unlike walleye or perch. Lake trout can only survive in a small range of water temperatures, ranging from -40F to 52F. This means that they need to live long in warmer seasons. This restricts their summer activities to a small area of lakes.

These cold-water fish can chase summer-sick species without restriction in winter. Lake trout need water that is warm enough to eat crappie and perch, but not too warm for them. Winter is their peak feeding season.

Overfishing is a problem

Lake trout’s native range is very small and tends to be more north than the rest of the United States. They have been introduced to a wide range of places and are now available from Maine to California.

The slow growth of lake trout means that they live long lives and can be difficult to keep or kill. This is good news in areas where they have been introduced (e.g Yellowstone Lake), as they have hurt the ecosystem. Overfishing, however, is a real danger for the species where they are native.

It is best to capture and release animals as soon as possible.

Lake Trout Behavior

It is winter to lake trout, what summer to walleye and perch. They can chase alewives and cisco under the ice and make use of the whole lake and water column, unhampered from their deep-sea roots.

Two hunting methods are very common. The bottom is where lake trout wait for their prey, and they will be there. This is something that most anglers know. Jigging the bottom is an old hard water technique. However, lake trout can also be found below the ice at five to six feet depth, trapping baitfish and making easy meals of them.

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Lake Trout under the Ice: Where can you find it?

Lake trout are mobile predators that move quickly and rarely stop once they have full access to the entire lake. They prefer to cruise in small groups looking for prey. You can find them hunting close to steep structures like islands, submerged humps,s, and points.

Baitfish are everywhere, so you can expect lake trout to be looking for them. Lake trout, site predators that hunt at close range, rely on clear water and visibility to see their prey. Once they are free from the depths, the weed bed,s and shallows where these fish rest provide a feast for them.

Lake trout hungry for food will seek out shallows between ten and fifteen feet, healthy weed beds near drops-offs, and any structure that provides a good habitat.

These contours are used by lake trout to trap baitfish in panicked bundles. For example, the basin between two points is one trap. This area is also a good spot to drill your first holes. They will also be found in open water near these points, where they can hold their prey at the same depth.


Although it is not uncommon to catch lake trout with a tip-up it’s also possible to do so using a lure. As many places now prohibit the use of live bait, any minnow species that is over 5 inches can be used to catch these fish. However, you are just as likely as to hook a pike!

A braided line is not recommended for tip-ups. It can cause skin irritation if you have a large fish on the hook. We prefer monofilament of large diameter fluorocarbon or monofilament with three feet of table metal as a leader. You should not use less than a 30-pound test. Also, you don’t want to use small diameter lines.

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Our Favorite Lake Trout Lures

Large apex predators like lake trout, so we love many of the same lures and techniques that we use for pike.

Flash Spoons

Dardevle Spoons

The Dardevle spoons make a great flash spoon for lake trout. The one-ounce models are 3 5/8 inches long and we like to jig them. There are many effective colors: brass, nickel, brass, brown trou,t, and fire tiger. These guys are especially deadly during the fluttering descent.

Swimming lures

Rapala Jigging Rap

Rapala’s Jigging Rap, a long-standing favorite lure for ice fishing, is extremely popular. We prefer the 9-inch size for lake trout. It measures 3 1/2 inches in length. Its unique action mimicsana an injured baitfish and is just what lake trout need. Perch is our favorite choice of color.

Soft Baits for Jig Heads

This unusual choice works equally well on lake trout than it does on the pike. You can use a large jighead to make a lure combination for lake trout. The 5 1/2-inch No products were found. This is rigged with a 1/4 ounce Bait Rig’s Oddball Jig. This combo is great for working the bottom of the water below the ice.

Last Thoughts

Lake trout are a great species to target but they’re often not considered a primary species for angling. This is a shame, especially since they are an introduced species. They are often relegated to the back of the pike but they can be seduced into a strike by the right knowledge and it is a great pleasure to fight on the ice due to their size and strength.

They are great for dinner, as well, and smaller fish than 20 inches are best. You must always follow the local laws. However, if you are angling for these giants in their natural habitat, please release large, uninjured fish to maintain a healthy population.

These tips and tricks have worked for you? Leave a comment below

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Lewis Mark is a vastly experienced fly fisher. His encyclopedic knowledge of fly tying has led to start blog on fishing. He also review Fishing equipment based on his knowledge and experience.