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Mike Stark

Can you catch trout without sonar?

23 posts in this topic

i really want to get in on some of this trout fishing..it sound like a lot of fun...but i dont have a sonar unit..im in the market..but have not found one for the right price yet...my question is..can you catch lakers or any trout without sonar? would i be crazy for heading out there with no sonar?

thanks,

mike

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It's not possible. A trout through the ice was unheard of until 60 years ago when sonar came along. Many people starved.

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If you are the type of person who just enjoys being there and letting lady luck deal the cards the whole time, then no, you are not crazy. But the deck will be stacked heavily against you, especially on a unfamiliar lake.

Last year on B-side I did witness an Indian looking type fellow drive up on his yellow Ski-doo wearing a rucksack. He stopped not far from us, pulled out his two piece ice chisel, screwed it together and proceeded to start chopping a hole. He would bend down and swish and scoop out the chips every once in a while with his chopper covered hand.

After watching him for what seemed like 15 minutes, I walked over with my auger and offered to cut some holes for him. By this time he was shoulder deep into the ice.

He smiled and said "No thank you, I'm doing fine".

After the hole was fishable he started with his broomstick baitcaster. Dropping to the bottom, jigging for a bit, reeling up 5 feet and jigging some more until his bait was just under the ice. Then repeat. No house, no heat, no flasher.

He didn't catch anything but was quite content when I checked on him toward the end of the day.

Day two. He came back to the same hole, re-opened it and proceeded to repeat the first day's effort. Same result.

I don't know if THAT was Pete Zebich or not, but its a true story.

Sorry for the long story to say diff strokes/diff folks.

Go find a spot that has many holes drilled and fish the ones that had a flip over set up on them. Or ask someone if its OK to join them, just so you know you're likely in good water.

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Deathroe,

I hope you are being sarcastic!!!!! You certainly don't need electronics to catch trout!!!!

Justin

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You don't need one. I did it for many years and caught many fish. Then I started using one. There is nothing as exciting as watching a big line appear under your bait and then move up to it until you get the smack. There is also nothing so frustrating as watching that line appear, move up to your bait and then disappear. Only to watch it reappear, then disappear, then reappear, then disappear.........

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DeathRoe, you kill me. You should join the sarcasm society. grin.gifgrin.gifgrin.gif

I love using the electronics for the cat-and-mouse excitement it offers. But I've caught quite a few trout while jigging and not even looking at the Vexilar, whether daydreaming or watching ravens out the window or something and with my jigging arm on autopilot. grin.gif

And when I've walked into Trout Lake off Vermilion, even though I tote in a Vex, I often do the two-hole method I first saw the In-Fisherman guys talk about.

If you're over about 50FOW, drill two holes about 50 feet apart. Then you fish them both at the same time with a rod in each hand, not reeling while you're jigging, but walking toward one hole and away from the other, then reversing course and walking back toward the other hole.

That way, while the lure in the hole you're walking toward is falling and jigging, the one in the hole you're walking away from is rising and jigging. When you're standing over one hole, your lure is right off the bottom and the lure at the other hole is right under the ice.

Works great, although light lures and windy days can make it a bit tough, but I've caught fish that way. When you get a fish on, you just drop the other pole in the snow and fight the fish. It's also a great way to keep moving and stay warm, always an issue when walking into the wilderness. You also can provide comic relief for the rest of your fishing party as they sit there huddled up trying to stay warm. grin.gifgrin.gif

More than the cat-and-mouse, however, is the value of electronics for finding depth and structure. If you have a good map, though, and just use your reel to count how many turns of the crank and how much line comes in per crank, you can check depth the old fashioned way.

I definitely wouldn't let not having electronics keep you off the laker ice. As DeathRoe implied, they've been catching lake trout for centuries, and we've only had these cool on-ice electronics for 20 years or so.

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Caught many a laker without electronics.

Now its a matter of how many miles from home would I consider turning around to go get my LX5 if I forgot it.

Say on a 120 mile trip one way to the lake....

Having thought it over I started to have a panic attack.

Inhale,,, exhale,,,inhale exhale... the grass is green the sun is warm. Oh my its only a dream its, only a dream. Inhale, Exhale. Its not real, Its not real. Doh!

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hey thanks a lot for the tips stfcatfish!

i think on my next day off im going to wonder around b-side with a map and find some previously drilled holes and drill a couple of my own.

thanks again for the advice.

mike

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Mike, one good place that's only a half mile walk (walking is easy on Bside now, if you want to walk it), is off the Van Van landing.

As you face out across the lake from the landing, look straight out and across the lake you'll see a deep bay. But on the left leading into that bay, and closer to you than the bay itself, is shoreline. The water drops off really fast from that shoreline, and it's a pretty commonly fished spot that produces regularly.

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hey thanks again..i really appreciate the help you have given me..hopefully i can get into one of those big b-side lakers..i posted a question for you in inland trout gear and tactic about the shimano reel that you use..the 4000..is it the same shimano 4000 open water reel?

once again thanks so much.

mike

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I answered you over there, Mike. You'll learn lots of new spots at the Burntside Bash, too. We'll have a big six-foot map of Bside, and we'll be giving away a bunch of those monster maps as part of the drawing.

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If you are looking to buy a flasher and don't want to spend a whole lot of money check out the Marcum VX-1. With a $30 rebate it brings the price down to $219.

I have a Vexilar FL-8SE and I love it but I know if I were in the market for a new flasher I would be looking at the VX-1.

You can catch trout without, it is just a little more of a challenge.

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catfish,

i was looking at a map and trying to find the spot you are talking about but could not pin point it...i have the 'lakesmap' map...what are some of the islands that are around it...if this is asking too much info dont worry about it. im not trying to get your hole...just an idea where to fish.

thanks,

mike

mike

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The showdown by Nature Vision is also very affordable.

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Mike, like I said, it's a well known spot and lots folks fish it, so it's not "my" spot at all.

Pick up the Sportsman's Connection book of maps for St. Louis County. It's a full book and runs $25, but has many, many lake maps in larger scale, and Burntside is too big for that little plastic map to have enough detail.

It's too hard to describe the spot without a map in front of each of us or unless folks are standing at the landing looking out. You can find it easily once you're at the landing. Simply look straight out across the lake and find the shoreline across the lake to the left of dead center that's closest to you. That's the shoreline.

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I would have to say that most of the time I got fish without the sonar. I just set up with a deadstick/bobber rig with a big shinner and then in a hole within 10 feet I jig a big buckshot spoon. Most of the time even with the vex they will come in and look at my jig, then go over and slam the shinner. So I just let whoever was with me use the vex and then procede to outfish them.

Really, I just use it to find structure, and then fish without it. It makes for a loud mess when a laker gets tangled up in the cord anyway.

As for B-side I really liked the dead river, but it is a hike with all that snow. I fished a lot more shallow than anyone else, I like about 30-40 feet. It seemed like they would push the smelt up shallow by the rocks that are sticking out around the point. Plus, you got the bonus of hooking a real nice 'eye and some slimmers.

Anyway, thats my 2 cents.

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We did just fine for many years with no sonar. We DID starve a few times, but we got over it. A big plus for us was doing lots of summer fishing on the same lakes. We had a pretty good feel for the lake, so finding fish was much easier. Of course, now it's the vex all the way. Funny you mentioned turning around ST; I went to Red last weekend (slow, no craps) and made it to the other side of GR before I remembered I'd left the Vex on the charger at home. I thought about it...and kept going. Did about as well as my buddy who had his, but I know if we'd have gotten into a school of neutral crappies he'd have smoked me.

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A few guys use only tip-ups w/frozen smelt for lakers ... certainly don't need a sonar for that.

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Steve,

I'm sitting here visualizing you walking back and forth with two rods.

That in itself is very humorous, but thinking of the rumbling noise the trout would have to endure is more than I can stand.

It'd sound like an Army tank going into forward, then reverse, over and over \:\)

They'd probably have their fins over their ears, doing barrel rolls while trying to swim because they wouldn't have any stability!! \:\)\:\)

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 Originally Posted By: Great Outdoors

It'd sound like an Army tank going into forward, then reverse, over and over \:\)

Or one of Leustek's old dozers rumbling about on the ice. LOL whistle.gif

Justin

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 Originally Posted By: Great Outdoors
Steve,

That in itself is very humorous, but thinking of the rumbling noise the trout would have to endure is more than I can stand.

It'd sound like an Army tank going into forward, then reverse, over and over \:\)

Dude, that sound is his camera bag which you better hope you don't get stuck dragging over a portage in the future. Been there, done that.

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[quote name='mstark83my question is..can you catch lakers or any trout without sonar? would i be crazy for heading out there with no sonar?

thanks' date='

mike [/quote']

Yes Mike, you will need (1) ice fishing rod (1) hook (1) hunk of dead meat.

Sorry man, just pokin some fun. My first few years of trouting on ice, the only electronics was my cellphone and with wife calling every 5 seconds, I was about to throw that down the hole. Some marking tape, a good heavy depth charge, decent bobber, some patience and you're good to go in most places.

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Blah, blah, blah. grin.gifgrin.gifgrin.gif

I should tell you I've dropped 30 pounds in the last six months since quitting my desk job. Of course, that's only the equivalent of tossing a single sabot round off the tank. As long as the tank keeps lumbering along and doesn't run out of fuel, I'm happy. Plus, I may weigh as much as a tank but I'm a LOT more quiet.

Chunky, it's easier to lug my camera bag over a portage than it is for two under the weather fools to drag a Fish Trap II three miles into Trout Lake to fish. I'll never forget THAT bit of idiocy. What were we THINKING? And of course I had to "touch up" the edge of my Mora the night before we went in. What was it, five minutes to drill each hole? No wonder we never caught a fish, with a LONG walk in and an hour to get our holes drilled. grin.gifgrin.gifgrin.gif

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