For spin fishermen who enjoy fishing for and catching rainbow trout, the winter means one thing….ice fishing. I mean sure if given a choice, most of us would prefer to be standing in the flowing water of our favorite trout river, but during the winter rainbows become so difficult to catch in rivers, it means there is one place that we have to go. The local lake that the local fish and game department stocks with trout to engage in a little thing called ice fishing.
Now ice fishing for rainbow trout certainly couldn’t be compared to rocket science, but there are certain tips, tactics, and methods that need to be employed if you want to catch a rainbow or two through the ice. One of those things is the trout bait that is employed and in this article I will draw upon more than 30 years of combined trout fishing experience to outline 3 baits that you need to try if you want to catch more rainbows through the ice.
- Micro Marabou Jigs – Micro marabou jigs that are 1/8 of an ounce at the heaviest are an excellent bait for rainbow trout when you are ice fishing. It’s also a good idea to “tip” your jig with a live meal worm, maggot, or wax worm. Also keep in mind that a ton of movement is not necessary when ice fishing with a micro jig (especially if the jig it “tipped”). I like to jig my rod every minute or two, but many old timers “jig” their rod only about once every 5 to ten minutes and swear by the strategy.
- Powerbait – While this might sound strange, Powerbait can actually be quite effective when utilized as trout bait when ice fishing for rainbow trout. Keep in mind that a majority of the trout that are fished for when you are ice fishing have been planted and therefore will readily eat anything that smells like Powerbait. Remember there are also Powerbait products now that come in the form of mite jigs and micro wigglers that also work great as bait beneath the ice.
- Acme Kastmaster – The acme Kastmaster makes a great vertical jig when ice fishing for rainbow trout. Always remember to vary the depth and the speed at which you jig your Kastmaster. You never know what the rainbows are going to be attracted to on a particular day on the ice.
The bottom line is that all of the baits that I just mentioned are effective baits to use anytime that you are ice fishing for rainbow trout. Make sure that one or all of them are available to you the next time that you hit the ice in search of a few rainbow trout and you won’t be disappointed with the results.