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sparetime

Lake Trout Ice Fishing info anyone?

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sparetime

Having never been ice fishing for Lake Trout, and wanting to try I'm hoping some of you may be able to point me it the right direction to get started. I don't need your secret spots, but some general ideas and links to information would be much appreciated.

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yoppdk

I am definitely going to spend time pulling lakers through the ice this year. I did it for the first time last year and found it to be a blast. Then I started this year's open water season fishing for lakers (before they go deep) and also had a blast. So I'm already looking forward to what this year's ice season has in store.

First of all, keep in mind that there are different seasons for lakers than walleyes, etc. Season closes at the end of this month and opens again in January, I think. Might want to check on this.

Two good methods are using tip-ups with a frozen smelt or cisco, and also jigging.

Lakers, and other trout, can be found at virtually any depth under the ice, but I think (not fully sure yet) that they will relate to some of the deepest water. If you know of a lake that has lakers, see if you can find some of the deep sunken islands or deeper points. These would be the places to start. I believe the lakers will relate to these pieces of structure simply because the schools of baitfish they're chasing are relating to this structure.

Last year I found jigging a white Berkly PowerBait Tube jig (2-incher) on a relatively heavy jig (1/2 oz) was effective, and also did the same this spring. I'll probably start by setting out a tip-up with a cisco or smelt near the bottom and start jigging a second hole, also near the bottom. With the jig I'll work my up the water column. If you have one, use a depth finder. Last year while jigging in 30' of water, with a bunch of tip-ups in the area, I saw the laker show up on the depth finder, near the bottom. My jig was at about 15'. I continued to jig for well over a minute before the laker darted up and hit the jig ... that's always a thrill to see that little red indication start to move up toward your jig, then feel that hit when the two red spots come together. Lakers hit with gusto.

We caught a few northerns and one laker on the tip-ups that same day. But I think the action of the jigs is important to attract trout and will always keep a jig in action.

Ben's in Grand Rapids had frozen Cisco's last year ... will assume they will again this year. Also, they have the Berkley tube jigs mentioned. And I'm pretty sure Ben could direct you to some spots ... when I bought the jigs last year he know what I was up to.

The DNR website has good info on area lakes for lake and stream trout ...

best of luck ...

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Steve Foss

Sparetime and yoppdk:

I'm also a rookie laker trouter through the ice. Caught a lot on open water, done a lot of ice fishing, never able to connect the two. Moved to Duluth-Superior a year ago, and spent most of the winter on lakes in NW Wisconsin. Planned to get to Burntside and a couple laker lakes near Rapids, never got to it.

No sled, no ATV, and snow on the ice keeping the ice too thin to drive on it had something to do with it. Pulling a Trap II on foot through fairly heavy snow takes a bit of the fun out of it, especially when lakers seem to demand the ability to move around a lot.

Ice is coming. Soon I hope, and I'll be doing lakers a couple times this winter no matter what.

See you there, maybe. Drop a line if you want to hook up. Two or three fools feeling their way around is better than one.

------------------
Steve ([email protected])

[This message has been edited by stfcatfish (edited 10-20-2002).]

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kupcho

3 things I bring lake trout fishing.
1. Smelt
2. A treble hook with a trailer treble hook with a steel leader set up
3. A vexilar.

That is what I have done the best on. I usually leave it lay right on the bottom, they will pick it up and take it away.
Good luck

------------------
Kupcho's Guide Service
Upper Red, Winnie, Blackduck Area
http://fishingminnesota.com/blackduck/
Phone:(651) 426-1545
E-mail: [email protected]

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yoppdk

Kupcho:

Your rig sounds exactly like what I was told to use last year. We used those rigs on Lac La Croix, but caught 3 northerns to one laker. I'm told that the earlier in the season (January) the better for larger and more fish. We were up there at the end of the season (late February) - a bit late.

With the bait resting on the bottom you can leave your reel in free-spool (baitcasters) and put a piece of electrical tape on the line to use as a "flag". When the flag's gone, you know you have a fish on.

I suppose you could use the same rigs using a tip-up. However if you're fishing for 15-25 lb trout you might be better off using a stiff ice rod and a good baitcaster such as used for muskies/northerns.

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mwktrapper

Sounds like you boys got the fever. Breaking through ice while duck hunting this weekend gave it to me too. You all seem to have most of it down, but one tip. Don't be afraid to use live bait on these lakers. I've had times where the trout would just slaughter chubs. Sometimes they'll focus on shiners. And like you said, sometimes smelt is the choice bait.
Also, don't be afraid to go small. I spent a lot of time on the ice for lakers last year. My choice jig last year was the walleye-size demon glow jig tipped with a chub. This caught a lot of trout last year.
As stated, locate the deepest water in a lake. A large point dropping into this deep water is deadly, orelse a hump in there. Use that vexilar, start your bait on bottom, but be ready to raise that bait. Me and a buddy caught a limit of lake trout last year and we watched every single one bite. We were in a lake where you could see about 30 feet down but some came to within 10 feet of the ice. It was unbelievable.
Yoppdk, that Lac la Croix is some fun stuff. I did a 3 day trip in there last winter. We caught 4 lake trout, all in the 12-13 pound range. Nothing extravagent but man was it fun. Give me a hollar if you have any questions. Go get em this winter

good fishin

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Steve Foss

Thanks for the good tips. I suppose the quick-strike rigs I've already got for pike will work in place of the treble rigs? Got a couple Ambassadeur 6500s with clickers. I'd guess they'd work on free spool with the clicker engaged, which is pretty loud when line's going out. What's your line preference on baitcasters for ice lakers?

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sparetime

Thanks for the info. I am going to give it a try this year. The season opens again in mid January. Sounds like any color will work as long as its white.

Have to take a trip to Cabela's to pick up a Vexilar soon

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mwktrapper

For line, I like to use the 17 pound Vanish from Berkley. I fish some very clear lakes. As this stuff hits the water it becomes invisible. Otherwise, a lot of people run the braided dacron. I run dacron on my tip ups, but with a Vanish leader of about 10 yds at the end of it. This stuff is much much stronger, but you're decreasing the chances of catching those lakers cause of its visibility.
Yoppdk was talking about using flagging on your line. This is a great form of a "tip-up". I use the bright orange flagging that people use to tie around trees and such. I then paper clip the flagging to the line. Therefore, when you're reeling in and you come to the flagging, it is simple to take it right off. This flagging not only acts as a large bobber but the wind blows this flagging around, giving that dead smelt some live action under the ice.

good fishin

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yoppdk

I'm also anxious to hear about the camping aspect of the LaCroix trip.

When we went into LaCroix last year it was on snowmobile. We "camped" in a cabin at Borderland Lodge on Crane Lake. The ride into LaCroix isn't very far, but you'd better know your way to the portages - which I did not. Fortunately a friend was showing us the way and he took us through the three or four portages that get you to LaCroix. Once on LaCroix you can use your powered equipment (snowmobile & augers) on the Canadian side since it's not the Boundary Waters. You do need a remote border crossing permit, though. Anyway, we snowmobiled in and fished from morning to late afternoon, snowmobiled back out and had a few hot bowls of chili and a few cold brews that my wife had waiting for us. It was such a fun trip we've already made plans to do it again this January. This time I plan to take a GPS and mark the portages so I can get back in on my own. I've seen the portages marked on lake maps, though not sure if these are the ones we took. Getting myself lost in the Boundary Waters on in Canada on my snowmobile isn't high on my list of things to do.

If you plan to "hoof" it or are limited to driving to a lake trout spot, there is another lake that is one portage away from Crane - Makooda. Again, we snowmobiled there from the lodge, but when there we saw a couple 4-wheel drive trucks driving about. My wife and I caught nothing that day, but watched a guy have four strikes on his tip-up before he finally hooked an 8-lber. A couple other folks were fishing the lake at that time, so it wouldn't be as remote as LaCroix, but would be much more remote than anything around Grand Rapids. What really surprised me was how easy of a drive Crane Lake is ... you get there quicker and easier than to Ely - although it is north or Ely.

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mwktrapper

Wow, you had it nice yoppdk. We snowmobiled in 15 miles, and you're right, you must know the portages well when making the trip, I went with an old-timer whose been up there many times so it was easy in that part. The Otter sleds are very nice to have up there. The Otter houses were our cabins for the weekend. One guy can sleep in the sled and then another on a cot on the ice where the shelter pulls over. We brought 2 warm sleeping bags per person, slept in all my clothes and still froze. You can heat it up with the mr. heater so you get it all cozy but then you have to shut it off, unless you want to kill yourself. It's impossible to get out of your bags in the morning unless you turn the heater on. For water, we drank right out of the holes. You have to pack tightly just as you would for any Boundary waters trip. The guy I went with had walking problems so we had a spot where we could snowmobile in on the Canadian side and then walk a couple hundred yards to a fishing spot on the American side. We would see about 2 trucks from the tribe up there and the Outfitter's snow machine each day, so you're definitely in the wilderness. The spot we fished was packed down with wolf tracks when we showed up. I am planning on making a big walk-in trip to some lakes I know of hopefully this winter. I have never done the walk-in trips but have heard enough stories to get me there in good shape. The lake trout in Lac la Croix are beautiful. The darkest lakers I have ever seen. Oh, and you learn to love boiled eelpout and whitefish too. Good stuff.

good fishin

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sparetime

mwktrapper, how difficult was the trip into the BWCA to Lac La Croix during the winter? I assume you were camping in the wilderness. I have done the summer trips in, but never ventured in during the winter. Did you travel with canvas tents and wood heaters or did you go and really rough it with nylon 4 season tents and warm sleeping bags. I have the equipment, and plenty of snowshoe experience, but have never put them together, and mistakes during the winter have more consequence than during the summer, so any help would be appreciated.

I suspect that power augers are a no-no, and that hand is the only option.

I'm ready to load up the toboggan and hoof it on in, just need to be confident that I am prepared.

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bmc

hey yoppdk,

are we gonna' meet and put a dent in the laker population in Caribou this winter? Let me know!

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yoppdk

bmc - you're on! I haven't done Caribou in the winter yet and that IS high on my list of things to do when the season re-opens Jan 18 ...

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Guest

Yoppdk...I think your best bets would be Bluewater for 2-5 lb lakers and the pit in Bovey which you know about. Caribou has not been that good over the last couple of years, although you can still catch them in there.

How's the list of crappie lakes coming for this year? I am up to 30 lakes to fish in a month this year. I hit 32 last year with great success. Keep me posted on the crappie fishing, maybe we will make a trip out one day. If you see those crazy Rapids fisheries boys tell them they don't know bull! That oughta "P" them off.

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yoppdk

Alaskander:

thanks ... I'll give Bluewater a look. Caribou was "kind" to me this spring. Was on it three times this past season - opener, a couple weeks after and then in mid-July. Got bit the first two trips out and nothing the July trip, which wasn't a surprise. Because I got bit at the same location on the lake the first two trips, I figure it must be worth a return trip. Plus saw a 24" brown taken from that lake this spring ... that would be a nice plus.

That pit near Bovey would be a great place ... right off the snowmobile trail and easy access from home. It's one big honkin' body of deep water, though.

No "bites" on my plea for local crappie lake info ... I guess locals are more tight-lipped than a bullhead!

With the way the fall is shaping up, we should be on the lakes in November.

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Steve Foss

What county is Bluewater in, so I can look up a map/lake info on the DNR site?

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yoppdk

Alaskander:

On the topic of Bluewater, it appears there is no public access, other than through the channel from Wabana ... correct? I've been warned that the locals on those lakes are quite protective, so access to Bluewater can be a challenge. Do you know where to access if driving on, or where is an appropriate place to park without getting locals all bunched up?

THX

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Steve Foss

Alaskander:

I second that question. Just got done with the DNR maps, and they show no clear access. Though, at less than 400 acres, Bluewater is small water and it looks like the spots are close enough to shore to pull the Trap II on foot.

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Steve Foss

Thanks. It's now on the list. grin.gif

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Steve ([email protected])

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