The lake trout is an extremely popular ice fishing species in the US and Canada, and with the right gear, catching this fantastic fish through the ice can be a lot of fun. As lakers are big fish and tough fighters, using a suitable fishing line is immensely important.
When jigging for lake trout through the ice, a braided mainline of 10-15lb is your best pick. The best ice fishing line for lakers on the tip-up would be a 25-30lb vinyl-coated polyester line. A 12-15lb fluorocarbon leader is generally the perfect choice when ice fishing for lake trout.
Keep reading this helpful article if you want to know why these lines are your best choice for hard water lakers!
What Ice Fishing Line Should You Use for Jigging Lake Trout?
Jigging for lake trout through the ice is a very active and exciting way of targeting this predator.
In bigger water bodies, most lakers will be found in depths of 20 to 80 feet, and as you will have constant contact with your lure, you will want to use a line with minimal stretch and a lot of sensitivity.
The only line that possesses such features is braid.
A braided mainline gives you complete control over your lure and makes jigging a lot more effective, as it allows for a precise lure presentation underwater.
In other words, you will be able to feel and control every tiny movement your lure makes. In turn, the improved presentation often leads to more bites, especially on days when the lake trout are playing hard to get!
Additionally, the low memory of braided line (very low stretch) means that you will be able to feel even the most careful of tugs and can thus strike immediately.
Quality braid lines are also highly abrasion-resistant, which comes in handy both regarding the sharp edges of your ice hole and the fact that you will often find lakers near structures and weed beds.
Using a durable line will save you many fish you could otherwise have lost due to a line break.
So what are the best braids for ice fishing lake trout out there?
If you’re fishing inside a shelter or ice house with some warmth in it, your best pick is the good old Power Pro. In my opinion, it’s hard to find a more robust and more durable braid than this fantastic brand! You can’t go wrong with it!
As the Power Pro tends to take in a little water and often freezes up in too cold weather, you should opt for an ice braid if you’re fishing outside.
Frozen lines and rod guides can be super annoying and steal a lot of valuable fishing time away from you. An ice braid effectively prevents that and lets you fish in peace without constantly having to free your guides from the built-up ice.
I can highly recommend the Sufix 832. It’s a very popular ice braid that performs exceptionally well in cold conditions. You can take a closer look at it on Amazon here.
What Ice Fishing Line Should You Use for Lake Trout on Tip-Ups?
Fishing with tip-ups is a far less active way of targeting lake trout. Instead of a conventional braid, you should go with a 25-30lb vinyl-coated braided polyester line.
This is an ice line specially designed for fishing with tip-ups, and it has many advantages that will make your ice fishing for lakers so much smoother!
Tip-ups imply a static line presentation, which means that you won’t have any direct contact with your bait while it’s under the ice.
Instead, it’s all about line handling and waterproofing when it comes to tip-up lines!
Because as you’ll be handling your line directly, without a reel, it’s crucial that the line you’re using is both flexible, waterproof and that it won’t freeze up on you.
That’s where the vinyl coating comes in! It makes the tip-up line incredibly smooth, flexible, and easy to handle. Trust me; nothing is worse than a frozen stiff tip-up line spread out on the ice after a bite.
It’s impossible to spool it back on and, once again, you’ll lose valuable time that you could spend fishing!
When it comes to brands, I can, once again, recommend a Sufx line! The Sufix Performance V-Coat is super strong, fast sinking, and its coating is black, making it stealthy underwater.
A reliable tip-up line that can withstand freezing weather and can be handled with ease. Check the Sufix V-Coat’s features and current price on Amazon here.
Are Lake Trout Leader Shy?
As lake trout are primarily found in crystal clear water and can, at times, be extremely careful biters, they are indeed very much leader shy fish.
They have excellent eyesight, which allows them to see everything even in very deep and dark water.
If the leader you’re using is too thick and visible, the chances are that the fish will spook and that you won’t get a single bite.
That’s why it’s so important to use the right type of leader for lakers! Keep reading if you want to know what leader material you should be using when targeting them!
What Is the Best Leader for Ice Fishing Lake Trout?
A 12-15lb fluorocarbon leader is your best pick for ice fishing lake trout. Fluorocarbon is very thin, strong, and pretty much invisible underwater, making it more than suitable for targeting lakers.
A 15lb test for a leader might sound a little on the thick side, but trust me, neither you nor the fish will be able to spot it once it hits the water!
It’s an incredible material that works perfectly for line-shy predators, such as lake trout or walleye.
Your leader can be several feet long and connect it to your mainline via a blood or Albright knot (when jigging) or via a small barrel swivel (on the tip-up).
As it is a conventional line material, it is very flexible and can be knotted easily, allowing you to connect your jig, tube, rap, or spoon directly to your leader.
It’s also easy to make a quick-strike rig with fluorocarbon, which is the rig type most commonly used for tip-ups.
My go-to fluorocarbon leader is a 15lb Blue Label Seaguar. It’s ultra-strong, has excellent abrasion resistance, and is highly durable. So much so that it can even withstand the occasional pike bite.
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Featured image courtesy of Forrest Leitch