It’s important to plan ahead before randomly drilling holes when ice fishing for Rainbow Trout. One of the first things I do when encountering a new lake when ice fishing is I pull up a satellite image of the lake on Google. I look at the image to identify areas with shoals or bays that provide vegetation and muddy bottoms. The reason you want to target this type of area is because that’s where the majority of Trout’s forage will be found such as small insects and invertebrates.
We start off the day in the early morning by drilling holes within less than 4 feet of water. Then we drill a series of holes out towards deep water with each hole being a bit deeper than the other. Once we find the drop off to deep water we will drill our last hole within a few feet of this ledge. In the early morning the trout will cruise up onto the shallow areas and aggressively feed. As the day gets later the fish will start to migrate towards the deeper section of the lake. At this point they will usually either suspend just parallel from the ledge or will retreat to the base of the drop off and stage near the bottom. Setting up on these ledges in the mid day can yield good results. As the evening sets in the fish will make their way back up to the shallows once again to feed.
It is a good idea to try to drill all your holes for the day when you first get to the lake, even better if you can do this before the sun comes up! Augers can transfer a tremendous about of vibration in the water that can scare off the fish. Once you have your holes drilled for the day you just simply follow the fish!