Stocked trout offer great fishing option

When you think about fishing options, we have not shortage of opportunities across Sunset Country.
Although I spend most of my time chasing bass and walleye, I do try to get a few days in throughout each season for other species, as well.
Last week, for instance, I spent a day with Dave Bennett fishing for stocked brook trout.
When I was younger, my Dad and I used to fish the stocked trout lakes all the time and we used to catch a bunch of fish. Not only are brook trout the most beautiful fish you have ever seen, they also are fine eating and great fighters.
They have all the qualities that make them fun to catch.
I hate to admit it but for whatever reason, I’ve not fished any of these stocked lakes for the past eight or 10 years so it was nice to get back to doing something different.
Dave and I had a great afternoon and managed to catch about a dozen small (12- to 14-inch) brook trout so we ate pretty good that night.
I’ll tell you more about how to find out which lakes have stocked trout later, but first I’m going to share a few tips on catching them.
One thing I figured out a long time ago is that these fish love to cruise in shallow water, especially under the ice. The shallowest holes are usually the best on most of the lakes that I’ve fished (two-four feet of water is the prime depth).
The real secret is to be quiet on the ice since you are fishing in such shallow water (no running around or stomping your feet).
And when you drill a hole, pull the auger out immediately after drilling through the ice, instead of repeatedly pushing it down through the hole and then pulling it up to clear the slush out.
Our approach when it came to tackle was to make use of both of the lines we are permitted to use when we’re ice-fishing.
It is the same approach I take with other species throughout the season: I jig an aggressive lure on one rod and set up a second line with a subtle jig and a live minnow in an effort to tempt fish.
Some days the jigging is better; other days the set line is better.
When we fished last week, we caught a couple of fish jigging with small Northland Doodle Bug spoons tipped with a minnow head. The rest of the fish came on the set lines, which had a 1/16th oz. jig tipped with small lively minnows.
The Ministry of Natural Resources has a relatively new addition to its website called “Fish ON-Line” that offers anglers a huge amount of information that previously was tough to find.
Searching “Fish ON-Line” on Google will give you access to the names of lakes across Ontario, a listing of the fish species in each lake, and all the stocking information for stocked lakes in the province, amongst plenty of other great information.
You literally can spend hours on this website.
Check this website out and you can find all the stocking records from across the region, as well as which fish species are in that lake you drive by all the time and know nothing about.

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