Lake trout remain active throughout the hard-water season and at times are downright aggressive.
Live bait isn’t always necessary for icing good numbers, and size, of trout. This winter, arm yourself with a variety of soft-plastic baits and cash in on this sure-fire technique for catching lake trout through the ice.
The top producing soft plastic baits for winter lake trout are your typical summer time bass baits. They can be grouped into three main categories; tube jigs, swim baits and jig-plastics.
Tube jigs are the most popular plastic bait used for targeting lake trout through the ice. Their slow spiraling fall, pulsating tails, and darting action when jigged prove irresistible to hungry trout. Sizes ranging from micro one-inch tubes up to larger four-inch models are all effective. White is my ‘go-to’ colour, although other colours have their time and place.
I discovered the effectiveness of swim baits last winter for catching lake trout through the ice. They have a nice bulky profile and the paddle tail gives these baits a life-like action. Their heavy internal weight allows them to be fished much faster, making them an excellent choice for an active bite. Storm WildEye Swim Shad and Berkley 4” Swimmin’ Pogy are both excellent choices.
Jig plastics refer to any soft plastic bait that you can tip a jig-head with. These include grubs, power minnows and hollow-bellied paddle tail minnows. Jig head sizes can be changed to fish faster or slower, depending what the bite on a given day is dictating. GULP! products also work well through the ice and offer a large variety of sizes, colours and profiles to choose from.
Lake trout fight hard and have a willingness to chase baits that makes them an exciting winter alternative to pike, panfish and walleye. This winter, keep your ‘bass-plastics’ handy for some lake trout action on the ice.
By Ben Beattie
Ben Beattie is an outdoor writer and fishing guide based in Sioux Lookout, ON. For more information visit benbeattieoutdoors.com