I’m not sure why I enjoy ice fishing for brook, lake and rainbow trout on small waters so much. I sometimes think it’s because the trio are so accommodating. Unlike bass, crappies, perch, pike and walleye, which typically become lethargic as winter water temperatures plummet, these cold-craving fish throw out the welcome mat and bite with abandon.
Then again, it could simply be that I love ice fishing in the pristine palaces these trout call home: small lakes nestled among the spruce and pine in picture-postcard winter settings. You could spend all day on any one of these hallowed haunts and never get a bite—although that’s just about impossible—and still come away in awe.
Or maybe it’s the beauty of the fish themselves. Think of the plump, hook-jawed male brook trout with his dazzling dots and orange fins tipped in ebony and ivory. Then there’s the striking crimson splash along the cheeks and flanks of a dark, fresh rainbow trout. And every time I see the black and green worm-like patterns on the back of a lake trout, I feel blessed.
Of course, it’s for all these reasons that I cherish ice fishing for trout in small lakes—just as you can this winter. From the Maritimes to the Rockies and from the southern reaches to the High Arctic, the chances are there’s a beckoning trout lake close to home. After all, along with the countless natural bodies of water hosting brookies, ’bows and lakers, you’ll also find scores of small stocked lakes and ponds in almost every province.
And you can make your winter trout adventure as inexpensive and uncomplicated as you like and still catch plenty of fish. Or, you can tweak your already sophisticated strategies and polish your presentations, targeting trout so grand your heart will skip a beat when you hook into one. Whatever the case, there’s simply no excuse to miss out.