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Post Spawn Brookies

 

Every year around early to mid November I make my pilgrimage to a couple chosen lakes for some of the best brook trout fishing of the year. At first ice, brookies will be spawning, normally in shallow water over gravel beds if available. Barring that, they will pick any suitable shoreline, set up shop in two to six feet of water and have at it. This is great for fishing because we can drill a bunch of shallow holes and if they’re around we’ll see them swimming under our toes.

This year, however, with school, exams, and various family commitments coupled with a good bout of the flu my early winter brook trout expeditions were sidelined. Still wanting to get out, I was faced with the option of heading out over the Christmas break which is not a time that I normally go fishing. I did a quick poll of my friends and found my buddy Trevor McLeod was interested in joining me to try our luck with the brookies at this time of year. We loaded up his truck with my sled, all of our ice fishing gear and headed out.

It was fun getting to go out fishing once again and I looked forward to the day ahead. As we got close to the lake a heavy blanket of snow prevented further travel. We unloaded the truck, packed up the toboggan and with everything in tow walked the last three hundred meters to the lake. The heavy snowfalls had piled up on the ice and within seconds my heart skipped a beat. There were several centimetres of slushy water in my footprints. A healthy dose of flood ice was playing havoc and I was concerned whether the ice was safe to walk on. I fired up the power auger and drilled a hole to find eight inches of solid clear ice under the surface slush which made me feel a lot better about the day.

Looking around I noticed we were near a beaver house. In previous outings I’ve had a lot of success fishing in these areas so we drilled a pattern of holes covering depths of two to about seven feet. Provincial regulations allow two lines each while ice fishing so we set out four set lines. Two had straight worms on them, one was rigged up with a jig and worm and the other had maggots. With our lines down we hung out and waited...and waited...and waited. In a couple hours we hadn’t got a touch and I was beginning to wonder whether there actually were any trout in the lake or if it had winterkilled. That has happened to me before when fishing small lakes in the woods.

After a few hours I told Trevor I was going to change things up. I fired up the ice auger and drilled a pattern of holes out deeper. Perhaps the fish were finished spawning and had migrated to the deeper water. I drilled a couple dozen holes from eight feet to about 14 feet. Trevor put on a large jig and tipped it with maggots. He went out to one of the deeper holes in about 12 feet of water and within seconds I hear something like “Oh darn!” and looked up. “I just had a bite,” he said, prompting me to try a small yellow marabou jig tipped with a worm and dropped all the way to the bottom. A couple shakes and slowly lift. In less than five minutes I felt something on the line and set the hook. The light ice fishing rod doubled over and as I worked the brook trout closer to the hole I could tell it was a decent fish. It took several attempts and a bit of coaxing to bring him up through the hole, but when I did, I landed a beautiful brookie of about a pound and a half. With that immediate success I moved my set line with the trout worm out to the deeper water.

It turns out we were on the bottom edge of a sharp drop that went from six to 12 feet of water. With the worm rig on my set line I would get a bite every few minutes and connected with three more brookies, including a couple I kept for dinner. Trevor also caught a decent one. I cleaned the larger one at the lake and found that they had spawned out which left them no incentive to stay in shallow water. They had moved deeper and were actively feeding on the deep edge of the first drop off. Now knowing where they were hanging out, it was just a matter of finding something they wanted to eat. It turned out that trout worms fished near the bottom was all that was needed to get bites. Now that I had found brookies in numbers that were biting after the spawn, I decided to head back this past weekend to my favourite brookie lakes with my girlfriend Melanie.

We combined a camp out complete with a hot dog roast with the fishing and caught a number of good brookies using set lines and worms. The really cool thing was that we walked over to an entirely new part of the lake that neither of us had fished before. When we got there we found the drop off, put down our lines and caught fish. Looks like we’re on to something.


Previous Fishing Articles

(1) In The Walleye Zone

(2) Zoo Trout

(3) Fly Selection for Beginners

(4) Fly Fisher's Christmas

(5) New Waters

(6) Big Bad Burbot

(7) Looking Back

(8) Out of Africa

(9) Finding Success on Crowded Trout Streams

(10) Mountain Peaks, Fast Streams, Fall Colours And Rocky Mountain Whitefish

(11) The Browns of Autumn

(12) Fly-Fishing Pike Through The Seasons

(13) Walleye Town

(14) River Fun - One Bite At A Time

(15) Fly Fishing Larger Rivers

(16) Going With The Flow

(17) Becoming A Better Fly Fisherman

(18) Swinging The Fences

(19) A View From The Aerie

(20) Dixieland Delight

(21) Atlantic Salmon - The Fish of 1000 Casts

(22) Do It Yourself Pink Salmon

(23) Montana's Cool Missouri

(24) Pretty Is As Pretty Does

(25) Toothy Critters

(26) Hard Water Lakers at Cold Lake

(27) Top Ten Flies

(28) Northern Exposure

(29) Home Water Lessons

(30) Chicken Of The Sea

(31) Sealing the Deal – How to Ensure You Land More Fish

(32) Deep In The Heart Of Texas

(33) Keep It Up!

(34) River Fishing for Fall Walleye

(35) After the Flood - A look at Southern Alberta rivers and streams one year after the flood

(36) Reindeer Lake - A Diversity of Opportunity

(37) Hawg Holes

(38) Saltwater Salmon

(39) Early Season Dry Fly Fishing

(40) Down a Lazy River –
A Fly-rodding Adventure on the Lower North Saskatchewan

(41) The Fly Fishing Season Ahead

(42) IN SEARCH OF SPECKLED FOOTBALLS

(43) FISHING CANADA'S PRAIRIE CITIES

(44) Bright Fish from the Land of Silver

(45) Canada's "Other" Salmon

(46) Fall Walleye

(47) Wet Flies

(48) Versatility the Key to Success

(49) Grayling of the Boreal

(50) Teaching Kids To Fly Fish

(51) Size Matters

(52) Fly Fishing Small Streams

(53) Chasing Winter Whites One Lake At A Time

(54) Manitoba's Fishing Jewel

(55) The Twelve Gifts Of Christmas

(56) The Point Of It All

(57) Fishing With Friends-Big Weather Seizing The Day

(58) Fall Fly Fishing

(59) Personal Pontoon Boats 101

(60) Big River, Big Fish

(61) Bottom Bonanza

(62) Fishing Small Flies

(63) So Many Choices, So Little Time

(64) Four Seasons of the Bow

(65) Favourite Lakes - Some Like it Hot

(66) GEARING UP FOR SMALL STREAM TROUT

(67) Trout Hunting - New Zealand-style

(68) Don’t Leave Home Without Them –
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(69) Edge Walleye

(70) FLY FISHING STRATEGIES FOR HIGH WATER

(71) Smallmouth Bass – An Oft Overlooked Challenge

(72) Four Corners – Four Waters

(73) Chasing Pothole Trout

(74) Springtime Stoneflies

(75) The Torrents of Spring

(76) Drift Boat Fly Fishing

(77) Bust Them With Bait

(78) Cure the Winter Blues with a Good Book

(79) Hot Strategies for the Cold Months

(80) Cutthroat: The Angler's Trout

(81) Terrestrials

(82) Fly In For Fishing Fun

(83) Rocky Mountain High

(84) Reading the clues

(85) Where the Trout Are
The art of locating feeding trout
in rivers and streams.

(86) K.I.S.S. and Tell Fly-fishin

(87) Fly Fishing 101

(88) To Catch a Big Halibut, or Ling Cod

(89) The Bountiful Bones of Ascension Bay

(90) Grayling in the Eye of the Beholder

(91) Fly Fishing for South Fork Clearwater Steelhead

(92) Manitoba's Red River - North America's Catfish Capital

(93) Eliminating the Spook Factor

(94) Trust Your Electronics

(95) The Most Important Hatch of the Year

(96) Early Season Nymph Fishing for Trout

(97) Finding Success for Ice Trout

(98) Walleye can be Humbling

(99) The Secret to Landing the Big One Finally Revealed

(100) Winter Flyfishing

(101) North Saskatchewan River - An Underutilized Gem

(102) Hot Fall Pike Action

(103) Tips and Tricks to Save the Summer Slow Down

(104) Reading Trout Stream Waters

(105) Frequently Asked Questions

(106) Streamer Fishing for Larger Trout

(107) The Lure of Big Walleye at Last Ice

(108) Deep Water Perch

(109) Post Spawn Brookies

(110) A Fisher's Life

(111) The River's Last Stand

(112) The Big Ones Come out at Night

(113) Coho on the Coast

(114) Chasing and Catching Halibut

(115) Summer in the Mountains

(116) Peak Walleye Season

(117) Slow and Steady Wins the Race

(118) Last Ice Rainbows

(119) The Burbot Event

(120) Tackle Matching

(121) Ice Fishing Strategy #2 - Going Light

(122) Ice Fishing Strategy #1 - Location

(123) The Lure of Brook Trout

(124) The Shallow Water Hunt is On

(125) Hot Backswimmer Action Happening Right Now

(126) Fishing Among Giants-Pursuing Lake Sturgeon on the Prairies

(127) Adventure at Davin Lake Lodge, Northern Saskatchewan

(128) The Vesatile Plug

(129) Bead Head Flies, Plugs and Shot and other Spring Favorites for Pothole Trout

(130) Planning your Upcoming Angling Adventures

(131) Good Fishing at Last Ice

(132) Maximize the Odds - Use Multiple Presentations

(133) Daily Fish Migrations

(134) Fish Migrations - Following the Spawn

(135) Lake Whitefish - An Ice Fishing All Star

(136) Pick Your Favorite Brook Trout Lake...and Go Fishing

(137) A Look Ahead to Great Trout Fishing

(138) Wrestling White Sturgeon on the Fraser

(139) The Fun in Ultra Light

(140) Flyfishing and Leadcore Lines

(141) Embrace the Spirit of Adventure

(142) Never Stop Learning

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(144) Jigging through the Ice

(145) An Ice Fishing Unsung Hero – The Setline

(146) Rainbows on Ice

(147) The Season of Ice Begins

(148) Red Hot Fall Pike Action

(149) Hitting it Right with Water Boatman

(150) Facts On Cats

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(152) June Walleye Frenzy

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