In many northern lakes, lake trout can be found suspended just 4 to 10 feet under the ice, particularly in lakes that have smelt and ciscoes. Match the hatch with small baits like Northland Puppet Minnows and #7 Jigging Shad Raps.
Big, bold jigging strokes with a longer rod attract lake trout, while jiggles and shakes often help seal the deal. Bouncing the jig off the bottom and making sure to keep slack out of your line, so you can strike hard, are critical.
Lipless rattlebaits, like the Rapala Clackin’ Rap, plus similar lures fro Live Target, Lucky Craft and Rat-L-Trap, are perfect for luring big lakers under the ice. Outfitter Bernie Keefe prefers to use tube jigs that he customizes himself.
Don’t know where to drill your hole? Look first to lake points, humps, bluff walls and saddle areas. All will generally hold fish. Bernie also likes to keep moving from place to place so trophy fish don’t get lure-wise.
Jeff Gustafson is a freelance writer, guide, and promotional angler from Kenora, Ontario. Read The Complete Story!