Lake Trout Ice Fishing Tube Baits

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Many lake trout anglers will agree when I say that tube baits are one of the most effective lake trout catchers. However, these remarkable fish catchers come in different types for different fishing conditions. In this article, I shall discuss lake trout ice fishing tube baits.

Lake Trout Ice Fishing Tube Baits

Tube baits are soft plastic lures with closed cylindrical/round heads and tentacle-like flaps at their end. They come in different sizes and colors and are particularly great for fishing in cold front conditions, such as ice fishing during the winter.

Before making use of a tube bait for fishing in ice, you must rig it the right way. The truth is different anglers make use of a variety of techniques when rigging tube baits for lake trout ice fishing, and the efficiency of each of these techniques will largely depend on the skill set of each angler.

An image of lake trout ice fishing

However, if you have plans to go onto the frigid lakes soon in search of trout, here are some tube bait rigging techniques that are sure to work for you, no matter where or how you are fishing.

Tube Jig

This is the most popular technique when it comes to rigging a tube bait. Anglers have discovered that the tube jig is highly effective for fishing this species, regardless of the fishing conditions, such as early in the season, in the icy waters under the winter ice, fishing in rocks, or open waters.

Here are steps to rigging the tube using the jig head:

  1. Grab the bait, turn it upside with the tentacles facing up and push the jig head in. Make sure the jig head goes as far up the bend as possible
  2. Then, push the lintie through the bait, exposing the eyelet.
  3. Locate the hook and push it through the bottom of the tube, so it is exposed. Make sure the tube is straight.

Drop Shot

The drop shot technique is an easy and effective finesse fishing technique that consists of a line tied to a hook with a trailing leader that weighs at the end of it. This baiting technique can be used for fishing in both clear conditions and tough conditions, such as fishing on ice, fishing in the wind, or against the current.

Here are steps to tying a drop shot tube:

  1. Tie the drop shot hook onto the main line using a Palomar Knot
  2. Make sure the tag line is between 12 to 20 inches long for optimal movement of the bait
  3. Fasten the drop shot weight to the end of the tag line by tying a basic overhand knot on the eyelet of the weight
  4. Make sure to use the lightest weight available
  5. To attach the bait, rig the drop shot hook through the top of the bait.

Texas Rig

The Texas rig is a tested and popular technique that is suitable for anglers of all skill levels. It is particularly ideal for fishing in areas with weeds or vegetation cover as it is unlikely to get caught in the weeds.

Here are steps to texas rig a tube bait:

  1. Line the hook and bait, eye to the top of the bait to mark where the hook is supposed to go in the tube on the side. This should be about two-thirds from the top
  2. Make sure the hook has a wide gap bend to allow it to work through the thick tube bait
  3. Slide the hook in at the top of the hook and bring the tip out the side, just a little distance from the top
  4. Twist the hook, so that the tip is facing the tube.
  5. Bend the tube bait and slide in the tip of the hook at approximately 90 degrees angle.
An image of a person fixing his bait for lake trout ice fishing

Tips for Ice Fishing Lake Trouts With Tube Baits

Fishing in ice can be quite difficult, however, with the right knowledge and techniques, every angler can make the most out of an ice fishing expedition. Here are some tips to consider when ice fishing for trouts with tube baits:

Choosing the Location

Before setting off on a fishing expedition, you must know where to find the fish. Lake trout are highly temperature-sensitive, and this sensitivity guides their activities and movements. Hence, they are restricted to the deeper, cooler water they prefer throughout most of the year.

However, with the onset of the winter season and the ideal colder temperatures, the fish become more active and hunt more frequently. Take note that as the oxygen saturation starts to drop, the prey fish rise to the top. This, in turn, makes the species follow the hunt.

The trick is to work your tube bait about 10 to 80 feet below the ice, where the lake trout are likely to be found. They are also typically found around steep structures like submerged humps, islands, and points.

Choosing the Fishing Baits and Lures

While the species will strike at almost any bait in front of them, it is ideal to use large tube bait when ice fishing for them because they will be more likely to strike at those. In addition, try adding a bit of scent, like cheese, anise oil, or garlic, to lure the fish.

Fishing Techniques

While certain fish species are more likely to strike at lures with erratic movements, this species is not because of the difficulty they might encounter. Hence, it is advisable to adopt a consistent rhythm for your tube bait when jigging.

Also, do not be in a hurry to pull up your line when the fish bumps into your lure. Lake trout are fond of ‘testing’ to determine if the food or, in this case, the lure is worth eating. The trick is to keep jigging, so you do not miss the chance to hook the fish.

An image of person who is lake trout ice fishing

In addition, it is advisable to fish in pairs because the species tend to hunt in packs, and they are most likely to strike where a companion has gotten food. Hence, if your partner has scored one fish in a particular hole, you will be more likely to get a catch if you quickly replace their line with yours.

Related Questions

What Is the Best Time of Day to Ice Fish for Lake Trout?

The best time of the day to ice fish for lake trout is when the light land heat levels are not too high, that is, in the early hours after sunrise and late afternoon, just before sunset. This is because the fish are trying to feed as much as possible before it gets too hot or too dark.

Also, the fish tend to shy away from bright lights to avoid being seen by other predatory fishes, and so only go hunting in low light. Finally, angler activities are reduced at dusk and dawn, making you more likely to catch more fish.

What Color Do Lake Trout See Best?

Although this species sees all colors, they see the color blue best because blue is a short-wavelength color. Here is a quick explanation -in water, long-wavelength colors like red and orange get quickly absorbed and fade to black, while short-wavelength colors like blue and purple are absorbed more slowly. Hence, the fish sees them for a longer period.


Ice fishing for lake trout is perhaps one of the most exciting things you can do as an angler. However, to do it successfully, you need to have a properly rigged tube bait, as well as a good knowledge of their behavior during the winter.