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In late fall and early winter, Brown Trout enter many of the tributary streams, rivers and harbors on Lake Michigan. These fish are returning to their stocked release sites in preparation for spawning. Spawning usually begins in the month of October thru early December for the common German Brown Trout strain. The Seeforellen Strain of Brown Trout usually begin to enter the spawning areas in mid to late November. We have actually seen the Seeforellen strain of Brown Trout spawning under the ice in some Harbors in December and January. Brown Trout eggs make and effective bait during the early Ice Fishing period. Other brown trout, steelhead, rainbow trout and other fish will be actively eating the eggs.

When using Trout Skein or Roe for bait ice fishing we prefer to use either fresh or Air Cured Roe. At other times of the year we will cure roe and eggs using many different techniques. During the winter months, ice fishing, the fish are a little more selective. Added scents of commercial cures and additives do not seem to produce as many fish as uncured natural trout roe. We believe that this is because the fish slowly approach the eggs and are attracted to a more natural scent.

The trout roe or skein eggs clusters are imbedded on a small size 8 to 4 Ice fishing bobbertreble hook. Some anglers will use a single size 4 to 8 octopus style hook. We like to use a 30 inch fluorocarbon leader of 6 to 10 pound test line. No addtional weight is added to the fishing line. The roe cluster is lowered into the water and held suspended 1 to 2 feet above the bottom. An ice fishing bobber is attached to the line and the fishing rod is placed into a rod holder. Tip-ups and other ice fishing devices can also setup using the same method. Set the hook immediately if the bobber goes under.

Great Lakes Salmon, Steelhead, Trout and other species Fishing tips, tactics, articles, techniques, and information