When targeting late winter trout there are many things to consider. First, it’s important to recognize just how fickle these fish can truly be. Trout by nature have a very finicky attitude making them a tough fish to catch. During the winter months, trout congregate in harbors and rivers along Wisconsin presenting a great opportunity to target lake run trout. During the summer months, these fish thrive in the deep cool water of the great lakes. once the water temperatures drop trout start to make there move into shallower water making there way into harbors and rivers. The fisherman from all over the world enjoys the pursuit of hooking these fish during the winter. Although it’s not as easy as it sounds. Trout can be extremely cautious creatures and present a challenge to ice anglers. Understanding trout behaviors are critical to your success on the water. When fishing for trout it’s important to downsize your presentation to increase your odds of getting bit. Trout have great eyesight and sense of smell allowing them to analyze a bait before eating it. If you are using a rig too heavy the trout will not be interested and shy away from your presentation. Having the proper rig is key to your success, I like to use six-pound fluorocarbon when targeting these fish. Six-pound fluorocarbon allows the line to be virtually invisible underwater. This allows for the trout to not shy away from the rig and be more tempted to strike your bait. When it comes to the fishing rod, I prefer to use a long thirty-six-inch soft tip to absorb the large head shakes from these fish. Its also important to use a high capacity real that is equipped to holding around three hundred yards of line. If you get lucky enough to hook one of these fish you will experience the long runs these fish are capable of making. The baits of choice for me generally are small golden shiners, shrimp, spawn sacks and jigs. When fishing for trout you want to be anywhere from a foot to three feet off the bottom. Last but not least its important to remember proper fish handling skills. When handling a trout you want to keep your hands out of there soft gills that can tear easily. Trout are fragile fish once out of the water, you want to keep the fish in the water as much as possible unless you are planning to eat it.
My name is Louie Dazzo, I am a student at the University of Whitewater Wisconsin. My goal is to share my knowledge of fishing to you guys. I have been fishing hard for over fifteen years. I have been fishing bass tournaments for BASSMASTERS and FLW for over five years now qualifying for nationals twice. I am also a licensed fishing guide in the state of Wisconsin (multi-species fishing). Let’s expand our success for fishing!
Now that we are nearing the end of winter ice fishing may present some new challenges. Fish will start to be moving into there spring patterns in preparation to start the spawn. One of my favorite fish to target at this time is a northern pike. Late season pike fishing can be an opportunity to land your biggest pike of the season. Northern pike will start there transition into back bays and harbors in lakes where they will drop eggs. My favorite way to target these predators late winter is dead baits. I like to use an HT rigger which allows me to fight the fish on light tackle. I can present a rig to the fish that is subtle and dynamic enough to catch fish. I typically locate a shallow, weedy bay that remains to start my search for the Gators.
The rig I prefer to use for these fish consist of 20lb braid connected to a two-way swivel going to a 12lb fluorocarbon leader. This time of year I like to keep my presentations as light as possible. When fishing deep clear water it’s important to understand that downsizing your rig can make a large difference to the fish. Most of the lakes I fish here in southern Wisconsin have clear water. The key to this is simply to outsmart the fish. Northern pike have a reputation for being extremely aggressive fish although can be tough to understand and catch at times. Late season pike can be lazy and not want to chase down prey which makes dead baits so effective. For my bait rig, i will use a size 4 single hook. The single hooks help me stick the fish firmer while also reducuing damage to the fish itself. When it comes to bait I will freeze my left over shiners with salt brine to add scent. Pike rely heavily on there sense of smell to locate food. I will generally set my dead baits a foot off the bottom to directly on the bottom depending on the mood of the fish that day. Always remember fish handling saftery, big pike (36+) are hard to come by and should be treated with respect. I release the majority of my pike especially the larger ones to pass on the genetics fot the next generation.