Some lake trout tube tricks

?I just finished watching a new episode of In-Fisherman Ice Guide TV on WFN, where Gord Pyzer and Doug Stange were catching some beauty lake trout on tubes, and was inspired to write about my favourite fish under the ice—and my favourite bait to catch them.
Sunset Country anglers are blessed to have some of finest trout waters in the world, which come in many sizes and produce all sizes of fish. We have large lakes like Crow and Dryberry that kick out some big fish and countless smaller bodies of water that also produce big numbers.
Being a cold-water fish, lake trout thrive throughout the winter months, can be caught by anglers all season long, and there is no better bait to consistently put them on the ice than the tube.
The tube is a fine winter trout bait because of its versatility. Tubes come in a variety of sizes, and can be used to imitate all types of forage from small invertebrates like freshwater shrimp to large baitfish like ciscos.
Tubes were made for bass anglers and come in every colour imaginable, although white or minnow-imitating versions are the most popular.
Finally, anglers can experiment with different weights to figure out what drop speed triggers the most strikes.
I usually fish with a 3/8 oz. jighead inside my tube so I can get it down fast in case I mark a fish on my electronics, but other anglers like to use a lighter head, like an 1/8 oz., that allows the tube to spiral more on the fall.
During this particular episode, Pyzer shared one of my favourite tube bait tricks—one that I learned from Jess Swenson of Sioux Narrows about 10 years ago when we were still in high school.
Swenson used to always put a couple of bright chartreuse tubes in with a bag of the classic white tubes. The chartreuse bleeds into the white tubes, creating some bright flash that helps to emulate one of the lake trout’s favourite winter forage: the yellow perch.
I used to always go down to Sioux Narrows and stay with Swenson when we were in high school, and he consistently would kick my butt in the annual Crystal Harbour lake trout derby with these chartreuse-flavoured baits.
Another area angler, Doug McBride of Devlin, makes his own hand-poured tubes that come in some really nice colours and are incredibly soft. Popular among area bass anglers, McBride’s tubes have generated an almost cult-like following with hardcore trout anglers.
Dave Bennett of Sioux Narrows told me he’s never seen a tube glow like McBride’s glow tubes, and that they are deadly on deep-water lakers.
McBride also told me his best winter customers are a group of anglers from International Falls who constantly are crossing the border to fish trout in Sunset Country. “I can hardly make my trout tubes fast enough for these guys,” he said.
To contact McBride about his tubes, e-mail him at
I mentioned earlier that tubes can be used to imitate freshwater shrimp—a favourite forage of lake trout in many waters. To pull this off, dig into the smallmouth bass box and find some brown and black tubes.
They have a different look than the traditional white tubes that most anglers use, and really can be effective in waters where trout feed on these invertebrates.
Usually these are smaller bodies of water with big numbers of trout.

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