Lake Trout On Ice

My alarm went off at 5 a.m. this morning and I laid there for a few moments wondering what the weather outside would be like. It was one of those nights where I had dreams of sleeping in and missing my fishing trip! I looked outside to a fresh blanket of snow and heard the wind howling. I awaited a text from a friend Lenny, who would make the call on whether or not we should head out for lake trout today. At 5:30 a.m. ‘Should we try it?’ My reply ‘I’m game!’ So I got ready and off I went outside with arms full of gear to load up the truck. I tried the passenger door which was frozen shut and the rest of the truck was covered in a sheet of ice and snow on top – great. I set everything down, pried the driver door open and cranked the heat in attempt to melt the windshield enough to scrape it off. I thought to myself ‘the things we do for fishing’, hopped in the truck and off I went to Loughborough Lake.

I arrived and met Lenny, unloaded my hut from the back of the truck, packed the gear into it and we set off on the ATV. We made it to the spot Lenny picked and set up. He fished outside and I set my hut up and began fishing in 55 feet of water. A few minutes later Lenny hooked one!

What a beautiful fish! My first time seeing a lake trout in person. This gave me hope that there would be more!

I used a white tube jig on my baitcaster to start and fished just off bottom, marked a few fish and even had some chasers, but no commitment. I switched over to my spinning set up with a Pearl Jigging Shad Rap. I’ve only ever fished for walleye and panfish while ice fishing, so I am confident with the Jigging Raps and how to work them. I began jigging for awhile and not long after I finally hooked into my first laker!! It hit like a train and thrashed around like mad! I had it right up to the hole and LOST IT! Nooooo! It was disappointing, but very exciting none the less. I knew I was doing something right, and just needed to work on landing these aggressive fish properly.

My next hit and I landed my first ever lake trout!!!

Then my second ever lake trout:

By now I was feeling great! Something about catching a fish through the ice really warms you up on the coldest of days. At this point I was satisfied with even catching my first laker, and couldn’t believe the fight in these fish! They come up on the flasher so quickly that you must be on your game to set the hook. I fished at the bottom of the water column the whole time and marked fish sitting right on bottom. I would pull my bait up in a ‘quiver’ motion while reeling and then drop down and repeat. Every so often I would reel in a few inches of line and jig higher off bottom, then drop back down. When I marked a fish I would quickly work up and away from them. This is when I got a nice strike! I had the fish halfway to surface when it freed itself. I pulled up to check my lure for any twists, dropped back down and got SLAMMED on the way down at 20 feet. This was a good fish, could it have been the same one? I took my time and the fish was taking drag – love that sound! When I got it up to the surface I started yelling for Lenny and cheering ‘GOOD FISH ON!’ This is the point where it feels like a life and death situation – have to land this one! I worked the fish slowly to the hole and got a glimpse… wow! Pulled the fish up through the hole, flipped open my hut and was cheering ‘Look at this beast!’ I couldn’t believe I landed it the way it was fighting! I suppose you would like to see it 🙂

All fish were released after photos and I am still smiling! What a great morning on the ice! Another fish off the list. Thanks Lenny!

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15 replies »

  1. Hey Ash – those are really nice lakers – great colors. I've caught a lot of lakers, but never through the ice. They look like a blast.

    nice job

  2. Kudos to you, Ashley! Those are some real nice looking Lake Trout. I have never landed one through the ice either. As I read this post, I was almost as excited as you were.

  3. There was no doubting you'd be successful with lakers Ashley. They kind of make eyes feel like pulling up an old boot by comparison, don't they?
    Great post, now go get some whities!

  4. Thanks Mel and John!
    I had been told that I would say 'What's a walleye?' after catching lakers, and the fight of a laker was very different. They are maniacs, I loved it! Although I do love the challenge of the walleye. I really had to work at catching them at times this winter. They are picky!

  5. Great job Ashley. Those are some mighty nice looking Lakers. Just a quick note on the ice on your windshield. Last week I was scraping ice off my wife's car and cracked the windshield to the tune of $375.00. Got to be careful.

    Mark

  6. Nicely done! I'd love to see a post about your techniques for 'eyes. I learned a little about enticing ice crappies this weekend which was not unlike what you did for the lakers: stay above them and jig to entice.

  7. Great fish!!!, the wife and I were out there on sunday all day, no flasher though. Had one solid hit all day and packed it in. How were you working your jiggin rap, I find the walleye like it slow and gentle but saw guys just rippin them with no pause for the lakers.

    Chris (WalleyeWonder)

  8. Mark – Thank you! Sorry to hear about the windshield 😦 I will definitely be careful of that!

    MNAngler – Thank you! I will definitely post something on the technique soon! With a lot of days spent on the ice this winter, I learned a lot about negotiating those crazy 'eyes!

    Chris – Thanks! I only fished for a few hours Sunday morning and was even home before noon I believe. I found that jigging a few inches above bottom until I saw a fish, and then pulling it away from them with the same motion worked. Not all the fish hit, but when they did it was hard! I almost pulled it away from them before they could even see it closely, then they slammed it. It was great 🙂

  9. Great fish Ashley. Some day you have to get up this way and we'll catch a 20-pounder plus! Great job. Cheers. Gord P

  10. Ben – Thank you, they are a blast! You better do that soon 🙂

    Gord – Thanks for stopping by, hope we can fish together soon. A 20-pounder would be a great fight!

    Fisherman – Thanks 🙂 It was a LOT of fun!

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