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Ice Fishing Rainbow Trout

Ever wanted to go ice fishing for rainbow trout but had no idea how to even begin?

Well, this might just be the perfect article for you!

Ice fishing rainbow trout

In this article, we are going to be taking you through the basics of ice fishing rainbow trout with a series of the most frequently asked questions from beginners just like you! 

What is the best bait for ice fishing rainbow trout?

Live bait is the best bait to use when you are ice fishing for rainbow trout by a country mile! The reason for this is because it will be the closest bait to the actual food sources that they tend to choose. 

There are a number of different types of live bait you can use, and you should experiment with a few of them to see what gives you the best results.

The reason for this is because all fish are different, and whilst they are generally similar when it comes to their diets, some may respond better to certain types of bait than others. 

So, want to know some of the best live bait options for ice fishing for rainbow trout (well, at least in our opinion)?

Here they are: 

  • Mealworms
  • Spikes
  • Small live minnows (these are like the sort of bait fish they would eat in the water)
  • Worms
  • …and whatever else you have had luck with for similar fish in the past! 

These live baits can be used alongside some of your other tried and tested methods. For example, many people have lots of success when using live bait in conjunction with artificial lures and baits.

They should be presented on a small hook for the rainbow trout. All of them will be able to be purchased at your local fishing store or tackle shop! 

What depth do you ice fish for rainbow trout?

When you are ice fishing for rainbow trout, it is essential that you know exactly what depths you need to reach them. Generally, you will need an area from around 5 feet deep all the way down to 10 feet deep. 

That being said, every lake, river, and body of water is different. As well as this, different fish behave in different ways, and so you may find that some are in shallower water and some are far deeper. 

The best thing to do is try somewhere between 5 and 10 feet first and then experiment until you get a catch! 

In an ideal world, you would want the transition between the flat of the water and the deep water to be pretty steep. We are talking somewhere between 10 to 20 feet! This will ensure that the rainbow trout will be able to easily cruise the edges of the flat in search of food. 

As an example, an ideal situation may be something like this: a weed bed that is fully submerged at around 8 or 9 feet of water. This may then drop steeply and sharply to around 15 or 16 (or even more!) feet of water. This is the ideal depth of water to push rainbow trout to the top in search of baitfish, larvae, and other food sources. 

How do you target rainbow trout ice fishing?

When it comes to targeting your rainbow trout when you are out ice fishing, it will involve getting some variables just right. For example, you need to ensure that you are fishing at the correct depth (you can check out more information on this in the above section of this article). 

You will also need to ensure that you are using lures and baits that are attractive to the rainbow trout. In the first section of the article, we explored what live bait is most preferred by the rainbow trout. Use these alongside jigs and other lures. 

The best jigs include ones that are in the range of 1/64 to ⅛ ounces. You need to ensure that you use the correct weight for the water depth and the conditions at the time. These can actually be tipped with your bait of choice such as minnows, worms, or artificial bait if you prefer it. 

You may also want to consider using jigging spoons when you are targeting rainbow trout, although this may actually work better when you are hard water fishing. You can experiment with these to see if it works for you if you don’t have any luck with regular jigs and bait. 

Where can I find rainbow trout ice fishing?

In terms of the locations within the particular stretch of water on which you are fishing, there are two main places you can look – large shallow flats, and muddy shoals. You may also be wondering where in the world you could go ice fishing for rainbow trout. We explore both in this section. 

Typically, there are two places where you can look for rainbow trout when you are ice fishing. First and foremost, you should check in weed beds. They may be submerged in the weed beds, especially right at the edge of the weeds. 

You should also look at any open stretches of muddy flats. They frequent muddy flats when they are looking for food in the winter (such as snails, smaller fish, leeches, nymphs, and larvae). 

In terms of geographical location, some of the best places to go ice fishing for rainbow trout when you are in the United States include any of the lakes and rivers that flow or drain into the Pacific, specifically on the West coast of America. 

They can range from the south, way down in Mexico, all the way up to the North, near Alaska. For those who want to travel further, you could try the Kamchatka Peninsula. This is on the Pacific coast of Russia! However, it is actually not too far from Alaska, if that is where you are from. 

You may also find rainbow trout in the icy waters of the Great Plains, the Great Lakes, central Canada, and even in some of the south western areas of Mexico. 

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