Ice fishing is a popular winter pastime on freshwater lakes that freeze over in the winter. Bodies of water that hold trout are especially popular for several reasons: the trout, which is a tasty fish to eat, is hungrier than ever, and baiting for the trout is easy. Live bait tends to be the most popular method of baiting for trout, and although the bait won't last long in frigid waters--unless you're dealing with minnows--the scent they give off to trout will be both foreign and exciting.
This type of bait is kind of a giveaway--minnows are the most popular type of live bait in any season, and trout love them. Use a 1 oz. or 2 oz. sinker to get the minnow to the bottom of the lake, where the trout will be active and hungry. One difference with ice fishing is the way anglers pair spinners and lures with bait. You may want to try hooking a bright-colored spinner to the line along with the minnow to best the best of both worlds--the minnow and spinner will complement one another's weaknesses.
The great thing about maggots is how potent they are to fish in the water. When fish aren't lively, the maggot will get them going. It's important to keep the maggots warm and alive for use. If you aren't attentive, they can die and freeze, and this won't do you nearly as much good. Maggots are also effective when paired with a small jig.
Nightcrawlers are great bait for fishing in the dim light at the bottom of a frozen lake. Like maggots, they also give off a strong scent. Trout activity can vary in the winter, and this can influence how effective your various fishing tactics are--active trout will respond better to visual stimulus, while active and inactive tend to go for live bait and scents. Like the minnow, use a 1 oz. or 2 oz. sinker to get the nightcrawler to the bottom of the lake where it belongs. You can also pair it with a small, flashy jig that will catch the trout's attention.
Article Written By Jonathan Croswell
Jonathan Croswell has spent more than five years writing and editing for a number of newspapers and online publications, including the "Omaha World-Herald" and "New York Newsday." Croswell received a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of Nebraska and is currently pursuing a Master's of Health and Exercise Science at Portland State University.