Colorado Ice Fishing for Trout tips
Lately I’ve seen quite a few posts regarding tips or hints for what tactics to use for trout at various lakes that have ice over around the state. I will share a few things I have picked up fishing here in Colorado for trout that have been highly successful for myself, and people I have taken with me. I have also learned quite a bit from people I have gone with and those that have come with me, so it is very important to keep an open mind no matter the level of ice fishing experience you have.
First off I want to say that reading others’ posts on how they did fishing, what they did, used etc is a great tool for getting a head start on what YOU should do, try, or mimic if you are unfamiliar with a body of body, or just a certain species of fish. Going through Conditions Reports along with that is also beneficial. This is what I did on top of fishing with other FXR members when I moved to Colorado in 2009. You will get better responses on the forum if you are actively asking questions and reading others posts instead of just posting your own post: GIVE ME THE ANSWERS! haha. Asking for help is fine, but try and do some work of your own too! It makes it that much more rewarding when you have success.
Now onto the fun stuff!The first thing I do when fishing a lake, especially a new lake, is to look at Google Maps, at minimum, and preferably I look at a Fish’n Map or a contour map to see drop offs, ridges, points, etc. So basically look for some kind of structure, start there, and depending on how good the fishing is, move around the structure. A great feature with the Fish’n Maps is looking at where the weed beds start and end. Fishing on the edges of weed beds can produce many fish and nice fish. The edges act like a natural barrier for a “road” that the fish can swim along, shoot into, an come out of to ambush prey. I will usually jig in more open water, and place my Jaw Jacker in hole that has weeds halfway or so up in the water column. Having a flasher makes determining water depth, amount of weeds etc that each hole has. In the past before I used a flasher I had a cheap Fish TV underwater camera that I would put down the hole, and see what it looked like down there. This is a good alternative if you do not have a flasher.
Ok, so now you have a spot on the lake you feel confident will produce some fish. What should you chuck down the hole? How deep should you jig? How should you jig? It seems after you solve one problem, you get another! My experience here in Colorado is a smaller tube jig in the 1 1/2-2 inch range in white, pink, orange, and brown will work in almost every lake here for trout. You can tip that tube with a meal worm, wax worm, spikes, etc etc.
I do not usually tip my tubes when actively jigging for trout. (Exception Lake Trout fishing) I usually have good enough success I don’t have to tip my jig. Sometimes I will put some Krill jelly/scent on my tube if I notice 3 or more fish come and look at my jig, chase it, but no commit. My rule of thumb for switching baits, adding scents etc, is if you have 3 or more fish come in and not bite, switch up your presentation, bait, add or take away scents. When jigging in the water column it is important to know if you are on a flat, edge of a drop off, or on structure. This will help you decide where in the water column you should jig at. Typically overall I start by letting my jig go straight down to the bottom as a slower pace. I’ve had plenty of fish shoot up from the bottom and nail my jig on its way down. Once at the bottom i usually jig there for a bit and bring up my jig in a foot and a half increments to about 2 feet from the ice, then reverse the process. You can always go down, or up to a fish if one shows up. Most of the time you are OK being a few feet off the bottom. Active fish will be looking for food, and will come up to your jig if you get their attention.
One last thing is when fighting fish…keep your drag a bit loose, you can always tighten it up while fighting! Also keep your rod down low to the hole or even in the hole when fighting fish. From my personal experience I have had better luck keeping fish on by doing that, and when you get that big boy on, it keeps your line off the ice! There is so much information here on FXR from its members, and Bloggers, USE IT!Good luck out there! I hope this helps some people get some fish through the ice!
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