fishingoutcast header logo

How to Ice Fish for Trout: Tips and Strategies to Catch More Fish

Table of Contents
Trout fishing is a popular winter activity and engaging hobby. It provides an opportunity to escape the indoors and enjoy the fresh air and beautiful scenery, as well as experience some peaceful time on the water. If you’re new to ice fishing for trout, it can be helpful to learn more about where, when, and how to go trout fishing.

Fishing can be a fun experience. Walleye, trout, and bass are popular freshwater fish you might want to try. Fishing for trout is a good way to introduce kids to fishing. In this article, we will discuss how to ice fish for trout, the best places to go, and what gear you need. Here are some tips and strategies for ice fishing that will help you seize more trout!

What is Ice Fishing?

Ice fishing is a winter sport in which an ice angler sets up a portable shelter on top of a frozen body of water to catch fish. The gear used in ice fishing falls into two main categories: tip-ups and augers.

Tip ups are used for jigging or lifting the bait with a rod until you feel a nibble from the fish, at which time you would slap your hand on the flag attached to the tip-up to let it know that you’d hooked a fish. A black ice auger is helpful when drilling through thick ice so that you can set your fishing lines in place before dropping down trout lure.

How to Ice Fish a Rainbow Trout?

Numerous types of trout can be caught in winter as they are cold water fish, but rainbow trout is one of the most popular. Male and female rainbow trout have olive greenbacks with silversides. They also have pale bellies. A distinctive dark stripe runs from behind their dorsal fin to the middle of their caudal (tail) fin.

Before you go ice fishing for trout, it’s important to know your quarry’s feeding habits. Trout are opportunistic feeders, meaning they will take advantage of abundant food sources even if it isn’t particularly nutritious for them. During the colder months, they commonly eat other smaller fish as well as leeches, insects, larvae, crayfish, worms, and smaller fish species.

Can I Fish a Lake Trout in Winter Months?

If you are ice fishing for trout in a lake or pond, you may use either live bait or artificial lures. Lures will mimic leeches, crayfish, insects, larvae, worms, and other fish species that trout commonly eat during winter months. Popular options include small spinners like Panther Martin spinners or Rooster Tails Spoons.

Small spoons can imitate leeches and crayfish. If there is a current break near the shoreline where the water isn’t frozen over yet, using a bobber ​or slip bobber might be a good choice as well. You can place your bait just under the surface of the water so that trout have easy access to it without having to break through thick ice.

Ice Fishing Tackle and Gear

Fishing rods used for ice fishing are generally shorter than other types of rods because you will typically be casting less distance, or at least closer distances compared to other types of fishing. It’s important to pick up some appropriate tackle and gear before going out for jigging or luring purposes. This includes:


Ice fishing line may vary in thickness depending on what depth you’re trying to fish at, but most commonly is anywhere from 2-8 lbs (0.5-3 kilos). The lower the number, the stronger line is.


Fishing lures come in a variety of sizes, colors, and shapes for trout fishing. The best choice depends on what type of fish you’re trying to catch.

For example, red and white spoons are popular choices for ice fishing because they mimic leeches and crayfish that trout commonly feed on during the winter months.


good ice fishing rod according to ice fishermen should have a sensitive tip so that you can detect when a trout bites onto your bait or lure without having to pull up too hard to avoid breaking the rod.

It’s also helpful if the rod has a fast action so you can quickly set your hook before it swims off with your lure or baits attached to its mouth.


The size of the hook you use should depend on what type of fish you’re trying to seize. For trout, using a treble or single hook with 1/0-3/0 sizes is appropriate. However, if fishing for salmonids like steelhead trout or coho/silver (silvers) salmon, consider using larger hooks anywhere from 8-12.

Where to Go Ice Fishing for Trout

Shallow Flats

You can go ice fish for trout in shallow flats and areas that don’t get very deep. These are the best places to set up your fishing lines if you’re using baits or lure because trout have easy access to them without breaking through thick ice.

However, keep in mind that small fish or panfish may also find their way to your bait so it’s important to constantly check them for bites when they strike.

Shallow Water Near a Current Break

Another good place for trout is a shallower area near a current break where the water isn’t covered by ice yet.

You can test this by having one person drill through the ice while another stands in the water with a rod in hand just under the surface of the water. If your line goes in an upward direction

Weed Beds

Fish on the bottom of these types of areas and places with some type of weight, such as round balls or egg-shaped flats sinkers.

If you’re jigging those areas with a bobber, try using an unweighted, red and white spoon or rooster tail spinner that makes some noise to attract more fishes.

Deeper Water Areas

Another good place for trout is where there are deep water areas near shorelines where ice doesn’t cover it over completely yet.

These are typically just off the frozen waterline but it’s important to look out for cracks in the ice because sometimes they can be hard to see if there isn’t snow covering the ground.

What is Yellow Perch Fishing?

It is a fresh water fish that typically resides in deeper water areas and weedy bays. It’s best to seize these types of fish around February through April but they’re most common during March although you may still find them lingering into May as well.

How do People Catch It?

People mainly use multiple fishing rigs such as roostertail lures or jigs with live bait like worms or nightcrawlers to seize it. However, this isn’t set in stone because just about any type of natural bait works for catching this species of fish.

Ice Fishing for Trouts Tips & Techniques

Baits and Lures

Tiny Jigs and live minnows are good alternatives to using live baits is using a tiny jig. You can use either a round ball sinker or an egg-shaped flat sinker on the end of your line with one hook tied above it and below.

To make this more enticing for trout, make sure you have some type of red and white spinner blade attached to the jig as well.

Use a Tackle Box

A good idea is to use tackle boxes and carry them around with you wherever you decide to fish. This way, all of your equipment will be organized and ready for use whenever you want to go ice fishing.

Plus, if you plan on leaving for the day or night, then you must keep everything packed up in your car so nothing gets damaged or broken.

Use a Fish Finders

Another good investment is to use a fish finder so you can determine where the deepwater areas and weedy bays are located.

This will allow your chances of seizing the most amount of trout and hopefully other fishes as well.

Unweighted, Red and White Small Spoon or Rotating Blade Lures

The best type of live bait that works great for catching trout is an unweighted, red and white spoon or rooster tail spinner made out of metal with some type of blade attached to them such as a treble hook.

Remember to always check your line every now and then because even though it’s cold outside, there may still be some bites from panfish like crappie or perch which you should know about before you decide to keep them or let them go.

Use Wax Worms

Most anglers use these types of worms but if you want to make them even more enticing, then try using wax worms instead.

Sometimes they can be a little more difficult to find in the wintertime so you must always check your stores and see what type of sale or deals they have going on before stocking upon them.

Drill Holes Through the Ice

The best method for drilling those holes is by using an ice auger with a spud attached at the end of it. This way, you won’t damage any equipment and it will also allow you to drill through ice and snow easily without putting too much force behind your hands because we all know how cold they can get during the cold season.

However, if someone is expecting to use hand-held ice chippers, then there’s an electric drill that you can attach to the end of the tool and use for this job.

Final Thoughts on How to Ice Fish for Trout

If you’re thinking about fishing for trout this cold season, then this article is exactly what you need to get started. All of these tips and tricks are designed to help you seize more fish so use them wisely and see what works best for your situation.

So if you want to learn how to go out on the ice, then just follow the advice that has been outlined above. Good luck!