program has been well received and every year winter trout anglers eagerly await
the stocking of trout in their favorite lake or pond. Although much of the winter
fishing activity on these lakes occurs during open water (unfrozen) periods, many
anglers look forward to the opportunity to catch trout through the ice, especially
in South Jersey. Some of the parks where trout are stocked, particularly in urban
areas, prohibit ice fishing. Therefore, anglers should check with the park office
regarding regulations on ice fishing.
trout will readily strike during the winter either through the ice or open water.
Catch rates have been impressive especially in some of the smaller waterbodies.
So how does one go about catching trout during the colder months? Through the
ice, tip-ups fished with fathead minnows or scented artificial bait (such as powerbait)
are very effective when the bait is placed near the lake bottom. Jigging near
the bottom with small jigs or ice jigging flies also works well.
fishing open water from the shore, bait is usually more productive than lures.
A variety of baits can be used (baby nightcrawlers, meal worms, fathead minnows,
powerbait, mini-marshmallows, etc.) and they work best fished on the lake bottom.
If using lures from shore or boat, they should be fished slowly since fish tend
to react more slowly in colder temperatures.
Bob Papson with a
nice winter rainbow trout
photo courtesy of Tom Pagliaroli