It is well known that one of the best places to target Rainbow Trout through the ice is along flat areas in shallow water. However, once the bite dies off where do these fish go?
Once the trout are done feeding on the flats they tend to either retreat to deeper water near the bottom or suspend in mid water column. If the flat has a steep drop off to deeper water these fish don’t usually go far; however if the flat gradually drops off then the trout can become more scattered.
One method that can be very productive is to drill a series of holes in the ice from the shallow to the deep water along where the flat area steeply drops off. Trout like to concentrate on inside turns of the ledges.
Drill your holes as early as possible, before sun up or at least in the middle of the day when the fish are less active and not in the feeding zones. Trout can be skittish so drilling holes during the prime fishing periods can really work against you! Remember; active trout move up on shallow flats or suspend early and late in the day on clear days. The bite is extended on dark, snowy, cloudy days.
Once you have your holes drilled locate the drop. Before prime feeding times, set up 4-6 feet from the ledge in the shallow water and wait. The trout will make their way into the shallows and start feeding. At the tail end of the feed start working your way out towards deeper water. Work all depths from 6 inches off the bottom to a few feet below the ice. Trout will tend to suspend in depths that run parallel to the shallow ledge depth. So if the water is only 4 feet deep where the ledge quickly drops off, the fish may be suspended at 4 feet over deeper water.
The next time you are out ice fishing and the bite dies off be sure to apply these few methods. You’ll be reeling fish in while other anglers sit and wonder what you’re doing different to be getting the fish to bite during the lull.
Do you have more questions on how to ice fish for Rainbow Trout? If so, the BC Fishn Team would be happy to help! You can find us on our BC Fishn Facebook Page!