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Thread: Rainbow trout patterns

  1. #1
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    Default Rainbow trout patterns

    Hi guys.

    Im not new to ice fishing, (this being my 4th season) but im new to chasing rainbows. Typically I have noticed in the fall that they tend to school up and cruise the shallows looking for any scraps they can find. So far this year my success rate has been sporadic at best. What am i doing wrong. Do these fish congregate in deep holes on the lakes or do they continue the schooling pattern found in the late fall. I am typically going out 25 ft from shore and punching a few holes and just fishing them. I'm trying to stay in the 5-10 range of water. As a kid i know we'd fish deeper water for trout but it seems everything ive learned about trout fishing has changed since coming up here.

    Thanks

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    Member pike_palace's Avatar
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    Trout come and go. If your there when they are, chances are they will bite. If I catch 1 trout per hour or 2 im doing good. The only places that have real hot trout fishing are places where they are small and abundant.
    "Ya can't stop a bad guy with a middle finger and a bag of quarters!!!!"- Ted Nugent.

  3. #3
    Premium Member kasilofchrisn's Avatar
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    Default Rainbow Trout

    I like to fish 8-12 feet of water. Fishing areas that have weeds growing off of the bottom and sticking up 1'-2' .
    Don't be afraid to drill a lot of holes to find fish on some days. 24 - 36 is not uncommon for me if the fish are really moving around and are being finicky.
    On my favorite lakes I might only drill 2 holes and fish them all day if I know I am in a good spot.
    Look for holes drilled by others. Look for holes with blood in the snow around them. You might also find bits of left over bait around them and try the same baits if you have any.
    Last time I went I fished first light till noon and picked up 24+ before I called it quits(Rainbows and Kokanees). First 1/2 hour I got 8-10 then it slowed down. Drilled only two holes.
    First and last light are always best.
    Experiment with different baits. Raw shrimp is my favorite cut into small chunks. Rainbows also love Skein eggs cut into small pieces. Single salmon eggs work good too.
    The best rainbow lure for me this year has been a Custom Jigs and Spins popee . Glow w/green stripe and Glow w/pink stripe. Have caught 2 or 3 over 20 inches this year already on this jig. Berkley power bait Atomic teaser white w/yellow teaser has been good also putting 3-4 15"+ fish on the ice for me.Both jigs also caught numerous smaller fish.
    Good Luck fishing
    "The closer I get to nature the farther I am from idiots"

    "Fishing and Hunting are only an addiction if you're trying to quit"

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    Great info chris, Thanks

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    Premium Member Wyo2AK's Avatar
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    Overall, I think the "when" you fish for rainbows is a bit more important than the "where" you fish and the "what" you fish with. Not saying that some spots won't typically produce better than others, but I think it's more important to be out there when the fish are actively feeding (usually first and last light as Chris said).

    When reinbows are feeding they'll cruise around and cover a lot of water. Sometimes they're solo and sometimes they come through in packs/schools, but there are definitely hot times of the day when a lot more fish come by. And sometimes it's like someone flips a switch and they just stop and you can have a long wait before they start feeding again. Some days are just better than others.

    I typically fish bows in 7 to 15 feet of water. Spoons can produce well when the fish are really feeding. A pink jighead with a small white grub is a standard producer for me, as are marabou jigs in pink or green. If fish are coming in but not hitting your lure, try just leaving it motionless near the bottom. I'd say the majority of the big rainbows I've caught hit jigs/lures that I wasn't moving at all. As mentioned shrimp and eggs are excellent choices for bait.

    If you're not having luck, don't be afraid to move. Cover some ground...er ice... if the fishing is slow and you might stumble onto a hot spot.
    Pursue happiness with diligence.

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    Member pike_palace's Avatar
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    I tend to agree, the when you are there is the most important aspect. Later in the day seems to work pretty good. Try and find the "high percentage areas", or places where you know there is a real good chance of fish being in the vicinity. I think your better off moving every 30 min or so if your not catching fish.
    "Ya can't stop a bad guy with a middle finger and a bag of quarters!!!!"- Ted Nugent.

  7. #7

    Wink

    One thing the underwater camera showed me was they do hunt. You can sit and watch them cruising the shoreline a couple feet off the bottom (I was in 15 feet of water). They come by in small schools when they feed and then they are gone. But usually come around again soon. If your in a good location be patient. If don't see anything move. If they aren't biting change lures. If that doesn't work drink beer.....
    "If your not the lead dog.... the view never changes"

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    Member pike_palace's Avatar
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    Last year I was ice fishing in about 8' of crystal clear water and there were lots of minnows surrounding my bait near the bottom. Suddenly they vanished and a big rainbow came right in and swallowed the bait. Pretty cool stuff.
    "Ya can't stop a bad guy with a middle finger and a bag of quarters!!!!"- Ted Nugent.

  9. #9

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    It goes against everything we learn about fishing and hunting, but a tactic that has produced for us in the past is that before you give up on a hole we drop our power auger back into the hole and rev it up for a few seconds.

    Be careful since the water tends to come shooting out. It seems to attract fish more than it deters them.

    Most times when we fish a lake, the first hole we punch, we immediately clear the ice and start fishing even when we know there are going to be more holes dug later. Its amazing how often with char and rainbows that we get strikes immediately after digging. Prep your rods and equipment and be ready to fish the instant the hole is dug.

    I've seen underwater videos of holes being punched at the noise isn't the same as it is when it travels through the air. Also, for the not so smart stocker rainbows, the beams of light I think attracts them out of curiosity rather than scares them.

    For those whose conventional wisdom says don't do it, give it a try 5 minutes before you plan on moving. If your fear of scaring the fish are correct, then at least you may scare them over to the next place. lol. But it seems to work for us enough we do it when it gets really slow or we are about to move.

  10. #10
    Premium Member kasilofchrisn's Avatar
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    Default Rainbows

    Timing certainly can be everything. Most days the first 1/2 -1 hour is the best time. Show up late and you are going to miss a lot of fish.
    There are times when they will bite all day but not always.
    I carry 6-8 rods each rigged with something different. If I am seeing fish on the flasher and they just won't bite I switch it up. Different jig different color whatever. having different rods rigged and ready really helps when the fish come in. Makes for faster lure switches when they are in the area.
    This also helps if I break off on a fish or have to cut my line for a deeply hooked fish.Just grab another rod and I am instantly back in action.
    I always seem to catch more rainbows on skein eggs and more Kokanees on raw shrimp if the lake I am in has both species. Skein eggs are messsier and it takes longer to rebait but I do catch a higher percentage of Rainbows on the skein eggs. Just be sure to carry a rag with you so all your stuff doesn't end up stained pink.
    Don't be afraid to try new lures either. Most of the jigs I catch rainbows on I order online. People will ask what lure I am using and then scratch their heads when I name it. I am really fond of lures mad by these guy's :http://www.customjigsandspins.com Popee's ,shrimpo's,ratso's. rat finkee's,ice ant's, slender spoons.
    When you look at what the natural diet of a rainbow is you will notice they eat a lot of small foods. The bigger Bows eat some bigger baits but you also have to be in an area that has bigger fish. Most of our stocked lakes have a few nice bows but lots of smaller ones. For bigger fish I prefer lakes with Natural stocks and less fishing pressure. Sometimes it is further to walk or ride but it can definetly be worth it to try these lakes.
    Also if you are fishing stocked lakes look at ADF&G website for stocking info. If I am taking kids I will often take them to lakes with higher stocking numbers. The younger ones really don't care what size they are and more action keeps their attention and gets them excited to go ice fishing again.
    "The closer I get to nature the farther I am from idiots"

    "Fishing and Hunting are only an addiction if you're trying to quit"

  11. #11
    Member cjustinm's Avatar
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    Default ice fishing for rainbows

    I have iced fished for rainbows since i started ice fishing and have found some ways that seem to work for me. Really active rainbows don't seem to hug the bottom but seem to cruise just under the ice. What we do is drill some holes in no particular order just as long as you have a decent area covered. Some close to shore others extending out from shore. Get your holes drilled just before sun-up. The first couple hours seem to be the best (thats all your gonna get this time of year anyhow) before it gets dark. Use really light line for finicky fish i like 4-6 lb vanish rather than some outlandish colored ice fishing line and use really light drag as you'll likely be fighting bigger ones for a while. My buddy was fishing right next to me last year same bait and all with 8lb blue ice fishing line and didn't get a bite compared to about 8 or so i landed in an hour or two. I use small jigs called teardrops there very tiny maybe a #10-#12 hook with some glow paint on them or a mix of green and chartruse seems to be the best. Dangle them about 5 ft. under the ice and tip them with a couple of maggots hooked in the head, i squeeze the maggots after hooking them so some juice comes out for scent. This combo will catch more fish than most....good luck. Oh yeah rainbows will start to school up in the winter usually when u catch one more will follow they will do this until spawn in the spring while the best fishing is just as the ice breaks up. I've caught them at every depth from 30ft to a couple feet all winter but once the ice goes they get real shallow often seen cruising just along the shoreline.

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    Default Stormy

    Kasilofchrisn, been to Stormy yet? There is good ice, but I haven't seen much for fishing action.

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    Premium Member kasilofchrisn's Avatar
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    Default Stormy~

    tjm9 PM sent.
    I have yet to catch a Rainbow at stormy . I did catch a 4#+ Arctic Char out of there a couple of years ago. Beautiful fish Bright orange fins and all.
    Some of the best rainbow fishing to be had is on the lakes off of Swanson river road in Sterling. Less fishing pressure there too. Just be careful as most of those lakes don't allow snowmachines and many don't even allow power augers.
    "The closer I get to nature the farther I am from idiots"

    "Fishing and Hunting are only an addiction if you're trying to quit"

  14. #14
    Premium Member kasilofchrisn's Avatar
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    Default Rainbows

    cjustinm Good advice.
    I actually prefer the Blue line to the clear. In fact I would go head to head with anybody blue VS clear anyday. Have outfished several people within 10 feet of me when they were using the clear lines. Often it had more to do with lures and bait than line color though. That and wise use of electronics.
    6# is my favorite size. when I went to smaller line 2# ,3#,and 4# I had trouble with the occasional bigger fish coming in and breaking off. I have caught rainbows through the ice up to 5# and had no trouble with the 6#line.Just have to rember to retie your jigs periodically after 10-20 fish or so your line gets weak at the knots.
    The problem I have with the clear light lines is when your line gets stuck on the ice it is often broken trying to get it unstuck as it is hard to tell where exactly it is at.
    Also when I catch Kokanees they like to wrap up and tangle you lines. It helps to keep just their tails on the ice and some tension on the line until they calm down if there is a chance of getting hooked. But eventualy you will get a few tangles and the blue is so much easier to untangle.
    Just my personal opinion and to each his own. I willl always use berkley icefishing line no matter what the color as summer fishing lines are too stiff and problematinc in the cold.
    A few years ago all the stores in town carried live grubs. Fred Meyer, Trustworhty ,they all had them . Must have been a good salesman that year. I tried them and did not feel they outfished my regular baits. They also cost more money. Not the same as maggots but pretty close. I don't think anyone had great success with them as after that year they weren't stocked anymore. Thought about ordering some Maggots via mailorder but I am not convinced they will improve my catch rate. Who knows I might just order some this year.
    The Popee I referred to in previous posts is a tear drop jig. Glow w/green stripe and Glow w/pink stripe have been good. They use a size 8 hook and the weight is 1/64 oz. You can look at them here under hard body lures:http://www.customjigsandspins.com
    What works for you probably works good. What works for me I know works good. To each his own.
    The key is to get out there and catch some fish Rather than sit at home watching outdoor channel and daydreaming of summer as a lot of guys up here do.
    "The closer I get to nature the farther I am from idiots"

    "Fishing and Hunting are only an addiction if you're trying to quit"

  15. #15

    Thumbs up

    Chris, thanks for the link. I'm going to pick up several lures from them but mainly can't wait to get those polar boxes to protect the paint on my jigs. Thanks again.
    "If your not the lead dog.... the view never changes"

  16. #16

    Talking

    As for the line used, I can't say I've noticed a difference in catch rates myself. I have many rods and they all seem to have something different on them. You would think those blue ice lines would be seen more by fish but again I've never noticed any decline when I happened to switch rods. I can speak to the durability of the blue ice lines however. As Chris said they don't stick as bad and are very tough. In fact they may be a good choice for those fishing with kids. I still have the first ice fishing rod I ever bought that came with the blue line and I haven't changed it yet strangely.....we're talking 16 plus years or so......of course it looks all coiled like old style phone cords even with a fish on!
    "If your not the lead dog.... the view never changes"

  17. #17
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    I thing a big part of it is where you are fishing for rainbows. Look on the ADFG page to find what lakes are being stocked. If you are in the anchorage area there are only 3 lakes that are stocked anymore due to hatchery problems. My favorite lakes are not stocked and it's been tough fishing with my kids this winter.

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    [QUOTE=Kardinal_84;630212] Its amazing how often with char and rainbows that we get strikes immediately after digging. [QUOTE]

    I've noticed this as well... nice to see that someone else out there is experiencing the same thing. Must be the vibration that attracts them I would assume, even though it seems like a giant metal spinning object sticking through the ice would scare the scales off of them....
    www.akfishology.com

    fishing isn't about life or death... it's more important than that.

  19. #19

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    Try www.jamminjigs.com/. They are the nicesest hand painted jigs that I've ever fished, and the willow leaf style put alot of fish temporarily out of the water. The company is out of minnesota, but I recieved all of my jigs, plus extra jigs to try out within 3 days. Inexpensive and worth it.

  20. #20
    Premium Member kasilofchrisn's Avatar
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    Default Jammin Jigs

    Frydaddy those look like some good jigs. Not sure what they were smoking when they painted some of them but I am sure they would catch fish.
    It often seems the wackiest or prettiest paint jobs catch more fishermen than fish. Not always though. One of my friends is a real sucker for shiny glittery lures especially if they are cheap.Might have to mention these jigs to him.
    Some of their jigs look remarkably like those from some other manufacturers. Looks like some genz bugs and ratfinkees so you know they are based on good fish catching patterns.Looks like a lot of original patterns too.
    Ever have a problem with paint in the lure eyes? One of my pet peves with small size lures like these is painted over lure eyes. One of the best methods I found was to heat a sewing needle and melt it out. helps prevent chipping of the paint that you sometimes get from using a knife point and such. That is one reason to buy from some of the companies I do as the Quality ones have paint free eyes.
    I end up ordering a lot of jigs every year because I cannot find some of the ones I want locally. I know custom jigs and spins has many lures available at Sportsmans warehouse but with the price of gas nowadays it is cheaper to have them sent directly to my house.
    Are Jammin Jigs available anywhere in Alaska or are they only mailorder?
    Next time I am in anchorage I might just look around for some of these.
    "The closer I get to nature the farther I am from idiots"

    "Fishing and Hunting are only an addiction if you're trying to quit"

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