BY SEAN GRAY
I can remember being a young whippersnapper grabbing my fishing rod, some hot dogs, a few pop, and bait, then heading out to any lake that was frozen to try my luck for speckled trout. Today, I am older, wiser, and maybe even a little safer.
I have since changed my target fish to lakers and have learned a few do’s and don’ts along the way. When I head out fishing now, I bring a few essentials, which always includes safety and survival supplies as well as the latest technology to increase my chances of catching fish.
My top three ice fishing necessities are a portable ice hut, power auger, and a sonar unit. The shelter gives you a warm place to hang out, the auger allows you to avoid being lazy and dill a lot of holes, and the sonar allows you to see if you’re in a good fishing spot. Fish can be aroused or spooked, and the sonar unit helps you slap fish on the ice. Of course, a snowmobile or ATV is a bonus, but it is not necessary to ice fish.
Now, I could go on all day talking about lures, lines, rods and bait, but for purposes of this article, the above can really be a game changer regardless of how you fish and what you use. If I had to pick my favourite bait, I would always bring emerald shiners and white tube jigs. I prefer small hooks, and light sinkers on still lines in case the fish are biting light. The magic depth number to catch the biggest lake trout is about 40-50 feet. However structure at any depth could produce some big fish. Like anything, the more you get out, the more you learn. The more you learn, the more you catch.
Living in northern Ontario, we have a number of great lakes to catch trout in that are easily accessible. It seems that January has produced a slower start than usual for many anglers, but we have lots of winter left! So, get off the couch, get on the ice, and get fishing and always remember to dress warm and stay safe!