The ice is finally going off the lakes around Sioux Lookout and that means one thing - Ice out trout fishing. We literally followed the ice off one of the local lake trout lakes, dodging chunks and trolling the ice edge.
Fishing has been pretty good with most trout in the 24-to- 30 inch-class. Longline trolling various crankbaits has been catching most of the fish. I learned a new trick from one of the old-time guides too - trolling tube jigs. You read right, trolling tubes! They troll straight and look like a darting smelt. We were using 4" tubes with 1oz heads to get them down about 15-feet. Another bonus is that you can easily vertical jig the tubes if you mark trout stacked up on bottom. Very versatile!
Here's the proof, my first tube-trolled trout with local legend Merle Botham in the background.
To mix things up, we did some bushwhacking and walked into a small splake lake. Splake are a hard fighting hybrid between lake trout and brook trout that are stocked by the MNR. The action was fast and we were having a great time bringing in one splake after another. A no. 6 panther martin did some damage casting, while minnow tipped Lindy Jigs under Thill slip bobbers caught the rest.
A nice limit of Splake for the pan.
Walleye season opens in less then 2 weeks in NW Ontario. Opener should be outstanding on east Lac Seul with big fish stacked up in current areas. Gotta love late ice out years!
In the meantime I'm looking forward to getting out on Minnitaki to target BIG lake trout. Minnitaki has a low-density population of lake trout, meaning there's not a lot of action, but if you do get one chances are it will be decent size. It's the closest thing you can get to muskie fishing in the spring up here. Fingers crossed for a monster laker!!
Ben Beattie is a fishing guide and outdoor writer living in Sioux Lookout, in northwestern Ontario.