Ice-out Lakers

We've had a few beautiful days since the first day of spring this month and it's obvious anglers are anxious to get out on open water. Once the ice is gone, it's time to go fishing.

As the ice slowly melts away, the ritual known as ice-out lake trout fishing is set to commence. Arguably one of the season's most enjoyable fishing pursuits, fishing for lake trout just after the ice goes out is a real treat.

Normally, these fish are down deep below the first and often second thermocline anywhere from 50-100 feet below the surface. While you can still catch them fairly easily at these depths––with the right equipment and a little know-how–– it is just not the same as spin casting (or fly fishing) for them in 10 feet of water. Ice-out can offer some fantastic action.

The best time is from when the ice first leaves and continues for a couple of days after. During these days the trout are eager to gain back the pounds they lost, as much as up to 1/3 of their weight over the winter season. The breaking up of the ice causes a rush of oxygen into the water and this gives the trout the urge to eat so they are ready to grab anything you want to throw at them. 

A beautiful lake trout caught with Jeff Gustafson of Gussy Outdoors.

The charm of this time of year is there is no difference in the temperature of the water it is uniform throughout the lake and the lake trout can roam at any depth they choose. At this time of year, you don't even a boat is you can just cast your line from shore and with any luck you may have a 10-pounder bite your hook.

While what lure to use is often a personal choice, the brighter, flashier colours such as silver and gold are probably the best choices but bright yellow or black and silver combos also seem to work well. You may also want to rig up a spinner "train" and put a frozen cisco on the end of the line––the lake trout just can't seem to resist it! Whatever rig you decide to use, the idea is to just get out on the lake for the first time after a long winter, enjoy the warmth of the sun and catch a big fish.

There are many lakes in Northwestern Ontario where ice-out lake trout fishing is phenomenal and they are out there waiting for you. Ice-out trout fishing is just one of the many reasons anglers from across North America and even Europe visit our area.

We really are Canada's premier fishing destination when you consider the 70,000+ lakes we have, the multiple species of fish you can catch here; trout, walleye, bass, muskie, pike, crappie, whitefish, sturgeon––and the natural beauty of the area. We are easily accessible from Manitoba and the U.S. Midwest so if you've got the time this spring, we've got the fish–– c'mon on over! To find an outfitter that offer ice-out trout fishing visit the Sunset Country website where you can also order your FREE Travel Guide and Map.

About Erin Rody

I grew up on Black Sturgeon Lake in Northwestern Ontario. I am a staff writer for the Sunset Country Travel Association. Through my articles I hope to entice you to visit the wonderful region I call home. We are all about outdoor adventure; with 70,000 lakes and rivers and a whole lot of forests how can we not be? Whether you like to fish, hunt, canoe, kayak, boat or go camping, Sunset Country has something for you. Enjoy!

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