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Dead Sticking - by Ryan Hare

Ryan Hare on IceConsistently catching lake trout through the ice can become a tactical game. Like most fish Laker's can be moody and effected by weather pattern's, but most of the time they are very aggressive feeders.

One of my go to techniques for catching laker's is dead-sticking, a technique utilized for various species of fish. The term dead-sticking is about as literal as it gets. Your bait is hanging at a given depth almost motionless. Having a good quality fish finder is a must to get full potential of this tactic. Real-time data gives you a set of eyes under the water and full control of what your bait is doing throughout the water column. When using one rod, my first choice of bait is a spoon, something flashy to grab the attention of fish cruising around the area. I drop the spoon to the bottom, kick up some debris and reel it back up at a steady speed half way to the surface, a form I call yo-yoing. I will do this 4 or 5 times to see if there are any aggressive fish in the immediate area. It is not uncommon to get a fish right away yo-yoing if you happen to set up on feeding fish.

After flashing the spoon around a bit I let it sit 10 to 20 feet off bottom and watch the fish finder. Curious lake trout see the spoon flashing and can't resist coming in and seeing what it is. Trout are very curious, particularly young fish. Once you see the fish start to rise up toward your lure the games begin! As the fish start to approach your lure grab your rod and slowly reel the lure away from the fish. Instinct kicks in and the trout can’t help but pursue the lure. I often have laker's chase the spoon right to the surface from bottom in 100+ feet of water only to hit a few feet below the ice. It’s common in the winter for trout to press bait against the ice when feeding, so as long as your hut is dark they think nothing of hanging around and taking swipes at a spoon jigged just below the hole. Williams half and half

When using two rods I prefer to use a tube as my chase bait. I hang the tube 15-25 feet off bottom and continue to use a spoon as a attractor, jigging it just off bottom. Fish will usually come into the spoon and notice the hanging tube above and cruise up to have a look. That's when you grab your rod and start steadily taking the tube away. Start when the fish is about 5 feet from your tube. If the fish happens to turn away from the tube use your spoon rod as a follow up sometimes it’s just the ticket to hooking the fish.

These are my base techniques to determine just how active the fish are. Not every fish will commit to hitting using this method but x67cit's proven deadly on aggressive fish. Paying attention to how fish are reacting to the way your presenting your lure is key to success.

My choice of fish finder is the Lowrance x67c. Although flashers are extremely popular and will work, I prefer to have the small history or audit trail the graph setting allows. I personally believe it gives you a better idea of how your bait is working. If fish seem reluctant to follow your lure a change of color or speed might be in order. Try different baits and different take away speeds when using this technique to find what is most successful. One thing is for sure hold on because I can guarantee you'll hook into more fish using this technique!

Tight lines.

Ryan Hare is a successful guide and tournament angler specializing in Trout, Salmon, and Whitefish on Lake Simcoe and the Great Lakes. Ryan can be contacted at:

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