Herring Hurricane

With nicer temperatures in the forecast, we got up early and made our way out onto the ice of the big lake. It was still pretty frosty in the morning but it was suppose to be much warmer by afternoon.

Ice Fishing Lake Superior

As soon as we setup there were already large schools of fish moving through and the action was about to start. As schools of herring moved in, we were able to pick off multiple fish including coho salmon mixed in. The schools were large and stuck around for a long time providing us ample opportunity to hook up with fish.

Ice fishing Coho Salmon Lake Superior

Pretty soon we had a pile of fish on the ice.

Ice fishing Herring and Coho Salmon on Lake Superior

In no time at all, that pile grew…

Ice fishing Herring and Coho Salmon on Lake Superior

Ice fishing Herring and Coho Salmon on Lake Superior

Some of the Coho Salmon we caught.

And here is a glimpse of the action:


Ice Fishing Continues on Lake Superior

Ice Fishing Lake Superior in Duluth Minnesota

Fish houses line up on the ice not far from open water.

Ice Fishing Lake Trout on Lake Superior

Kevin jigged up this fat lake trout on a bright sunny afternoon.

Ice Fishing on Lake Superior

The crowds continue to grow and the fishing slows…

Ice Fishing Lake Trout on Lake Superior

Chris is anxious to get his first lake trout through the ice. The open water nearby doesn’t keep him from trying.

Ice Fishing Lake Trout on Lake Superior

Jigging deep…

Ice Fishing Lake Trout on Lake Superior

Joel scored a couple fishing a bit shallower and getting far away from circus town.

Ice Fishing Lake Trout on Lake Superior


Finally Bobbing for Lake Trout

Drew and I started out the day targeting big Lake Superior rainbow trout through the ice. Fishing near shore in ten feet of water or less, we only managed some small ones.

Ice Fishing Lake Superior Rainbow Trout

Ice Fishing Lake Superior Rainbow Trout

Ice Fishing Lake Superior Rainbow Trout

The big ones just didn’t seem to be around in their usual numbers so we decided to pack up and head out deep to try a little lake trout bobbing. I had my hoops and wire ready to go with some fresh cut-bait for our 2 oz jigs.

Bobbing for Lake Trout on Lake Superior

Jig! Jig! Jig! Jig! Jig!

It didn’t take long before I felt a thunk on the end of my line. It felt heavy. I worked it up to the top hand-over-hand and got it through the hole. First lake trout of the day, 32″ and almost 14lbs.

Bobbing for Lake Trout on Lake Superior

After dropping my jig back down, it didn’t take long before another heavy weight yanked on my line. Another fat lake trout.

It was another one of those days.

We continued to fish for the rest of the day and iced 10 lake trout, we lost probably just as many.

Bobbing for Lake Trout on Lake Superior

Bobbing for Lake Trout on Lake Superior

A few of the larger trout measured in at 28″ to 33″ and weighed in at 8lb 12oz, 10lb 12oz, 14lb 3oz, and 13lb 7oz. There were a couple of lake trout I had on the end of my line that shook off with some powerful head shakes. These fish I am sure would have topped 20lbs. They were significantly heavier than the 13-14 lbers. Jigging for big lake trout using a bobbing hoop and hand-lining stainless steel wire can be a challenge and takes some learning and developing some techniques. I am wondering if it would have made a difference using a stout rod and reel – would I have lost as many? But it’s just too much fun pulling these pigs up from deep water by hand!

Another interesting thing, one of the lake trout had a tag in it. It came all the way across the lake from Bayfield, Wisconsin! I thought that was pretty cool.


Anticipating Great Lakes Ice

The anticipation is over. We are on the brink of fishable ice on the Southwest end of Lake Superior. If you know where to look, there is safer, fishable shore ice in places along the main lake, inside some harbors,and some thinner ice over deeper water where some risky individuals are already venturing out to. I spent some time on the edge of an ice pack looking down a hole through the thinner ice.

Ice Fishing Lake Superior Rainbow Trout

There were a few fish that could find their way through the underwater maze of vertical ice heaves to my house, but the good fishing took place at the edge of the pack where you can see that little black dot in the distance.

 

Big rainbows were cruising and circling around. I dropped my jig down provoking movement to entice one to bite. A rainbow would come in fast and bump it 3 or 4 times before taking it. A smaller fish, maybe 3 or 4 lbs. I couldn’t get my jig back down fast enough and already had more big rainbows coming in and swiping at it. Another came in fast and sucked it right in. This one was would go maybe 5 or 6lbs and made some good runs before making it through the hole. I lost another, I missed a few more. Then another came screaming in taking up my jig and through the ice he came. It was a good day. I have dreams about days like this, watching down a hole through the ice as these giant rainbow trout circle around, waiting for one to take.

Ice Fishing Lake Superior Rainbow Trout

Ice Fishing Lake Superior Rainbow Trout

Ice Fishing Lake Superior Rainbow Trout