A very popular winter time activity is ice fishing for trout rainbow trout and in this article I will outline a few tips so that you can experience more success on your next excursion out onto a frozen lake in search of these beautiful and tasty fish. Rainbow trout are active during all seasons, so fishing for them through the ice can be very productive. The biggest key to ice fishing for rainbow trout is the type of bait that is used.
Although many different types of bait will catch trout, small jigs or KastMasters that have been tipped with maggots or mealworms are a great choice. A good tip is to arrive early in the morning, punch your holes in the ice and then let the lake "settle" for an hour or so while you prepare your gear and bait for fishing. This will allow the trout a little time to "get back to normal" after the initial ruckus of walking around and drilling holes through the ice subsides. During this "waiting" time many ice fishing trout anglers like to aggressively jig a large flashy spoon or spinner. The vibrations can attract hungry trout to the area, although don't expect them to bite this attractor spoon very often, this is being done simply to attract rainbows to the area.
After an hour or so, it's time to drop a small jig (from 1/6 to 1/50 of an ounce) or a small silver KastMaster that has been "tipped" with maggots or a "mealy" through your hole. Although the common practice is to "jig" your jig or Kastmaster constantly, when ice fishing for rainbow trout it is often more productive to not "jig" your bait very often, once every thirty seconds to a minute is a good "rule of thumb ". When it comes to ice fishing for rainbow trout, in most instances less is more when it comes to "jigging" your lure.
Plain live bait such as minnows, meal worms, maggots, night crawlers, or even Powerbait can be effective when used for rainbow trout through the ice. You can effectively "double" your chances by rigging your rainbow trout bait on a set of # 8 or # 10 gang hooks. Many ice fishermen like to use any of the above trout baits by rigging gang hooks baited with bait under tip-ups. This can be a very successful ice fishing strategy.
Location is very important when ice fishing for rainbow trout and many times underwater structure is a key to success. If you are familiar with the lake you are ice fishing on or can read a map to determine where underwater rock riles, trees, submerged fence lines, etc. are you need to punch holes in these area's. Underwater structure is a key to success when ice fishing for rainbow trout. Rainbows relate to structure in the winter time. Don't neglect the extreme edges of the lake either; I'm talking about 2-4 feet of water. In many instances rainbow trout are susceptible to be caught through the ice as they "cruise" the shoreline of the lake.