Lake trout get huge. 

Say what you need about lake trout. For constitution captains trolling on the Nice Lakes, they’ll make or break a very good day on the water. In locations like Yellowstone Nationwide Park, they’re interloping vermin. For ice anglers throughout a lot of the northern US and most of Canada, nevertheless, lakers may be the heroes of chilly winter days.

Of all of the fish caught by means of the ice through the winter months of U.S. and Canadian waters, few species persistently strategy the scale of lake trout. However that is simply one of many issues that make them darlings of the hardwater world. Listed below are a number of good the reason why lake trout have cemented their favored fish standing for ice fishermen across the globe.

Dimension Issues

First, lake trout get huge. Large even. That actually is their principal attract. The world report guide is stuffed with large lake trout–most of them caught by conventional hook-and-line strategies. However among the greatest fish to ever flip and flop onto the ice are additionally lake trout. Contemplate the 52-pound, 2-ouncer caught in Lac la Croix, Ontario, Canada, on February 8, 2014. For authorized causes, nevertheless, that fish was confiscated and cannot be thought-about a world ice fishing report.

Or how concerning the one Minnesota angler Bruce Sederberg caught in 2013 on Ontario’s White Otter Lake that measured 46 inches and was estimated to weigh between 40 and 44 kilos?


And do not forget the 57-pounder caught in Pink Lake, Ontario in March of final yr–a fish so huge that the anglers needed to drill a second gap by means of the ice to get the fish with a 31-inch girth out of the water.

In locations with wholesome populations of lakers, an honest fish is something above 20 kilos. Few different species routinely tip the scales in that weight class.


Canada’s Northwest Territories is house to one of the best lake trout fisheries on this planet. However that is a bucket-list vacation spot for many. Nearer to house there are a few go-to spots to seek out lake trout.

An ice angler holding a large lake trout for the camera.
Chilly-water lake trout may be scrumptious whether or not smoked, grilled, steamed, or baked.

In Minnesota, Burntside Lake has a repute for producing heavyweight lake trout.

In New England, in keeping with a number of sources, the biggest lake trout ever caught by means of the ice got here out of New Hampshire’s Large Diamond Pond, means up north within the Granite State. In late February 2020, Thomas Knight put a 37.65-pound lake trout on the ice of the small (179 acres) Coos County pond.

In Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom, you will discover Lake Willoughby. A deep glacial lake with wild populations of lake trout and rainbow trout, it might probably cough up some monsters too, like James Alexander’s 29-pound, 6-ounce laker caught in 1996 that stood as a tip-up world report for a number of years.

“Each tip a flag goes up on a tip-up on Willoughby there’s an opportunity it is a 20-pounder,” stated Tony Smith, a fisheries biologist with the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Division. “A trout in that 20-pound class occurs as soon as each two or three years on Willoughby, and that is the attract of the place.”

You Smelt It…

From the Lake States to the Northeast, one of the best lake-trout lakes have baitfish populations of smelt, ciscos, whitefish, and shiners.

On Willoughby, as an illustration, trout feed nearly solely on smelt, a lot in order that Smith gives this one piece of recommendation: “It would not appear to matter the place on the lake or what the depth of the water is. For those who discover smelt, you will discover the trout,” he stated.

That stated, lake trout may be opportunistic eaters. The 37.65-pounder from New Hampshire’s Large Diamond Pond was caught on a big sucker.

Lake trout do not get to large sizes by being choosy eaters.

An ice angler holding a large lake trout for the camera.
There’s no denying that lake trout are a well-liked species for a lot of ice fishermen across the globe.

Any Type Will Work

Lake trout are usually suspended through the winter months. For many who fish with dwell bait, which means utilizing tip-ups set at depths the place the bait is. It might be 15, 50, or 75 ft of water. Whereas lake trout are on the underside throughout hotter months, they are often anyplace within the water column through the winter. Each winter, any individual will catch a lake trout of remarkably shallow water. It should not be a shock. Lakers will feed in any respect depths in chilly water. 

For many who wish to jig, be sure you differ the depth of the jigs. Lakers will hit tube jigs, spoons, and airplane jigs. They’re interested in motion, and an erratic motion that simulates a useless or dying baitfish will produce.

One other tip: Be on the ice for first mild. Whereas lake trout will eat all day, they appear to be extra lively because the solar begins to rise.


Lake trout haven’t got the repute as prime desk fare as walleye or perch. Heck, even the secretive burbot (also referred to as the cusk, ling, or eelpout) is commonly extra prized for its meat amongst many ice fishermen. However a part of that narrative could also be that lakers caught through the summer season in hotter waters do style completely different. However cold-water lake trout may be scrumptious whether or not smoked, grilled, steamed, or baked. There are two keys to good-tasting lakers: Eat the smaller ones and trim off the reddish-brown lateral line from the fillets. That is the place the oily style comes from.

Say what you’ll, however there’s no denying that lake trout make unbelievable quarry for ice anglers.

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