Trolling Flies for Ice-out Trout | Kayak Fishing by email@example.com | Apr 9, 2020 | Fishing, Fishing Feature, Fishing Instruction, Fly Fishing, Freshwater Fishing, Liska | 0 comments Trolling Flies for Ice-out Trout | Kayak Fishing Throughout the ice-belt of the Northern U.S and Canada, April is the time of year many of us have been waiting for all winter. Open water! The kayaks have been pulled out of storage, the Robins are singing, geese are flying, and the birch buds are the size of mouse ears. It’s time for some epic ice-out trout trolling action by trolling flies! There are just so many species to choose from throughout Eastern Ontario. From the world’s highest concentrations of natural Brook Trout lakes in Algonquin Park to the numerous put-grow-take still-water lakes offering many kayak fishing opportunities for Splake, Rainbows, and Lakers. http://www.algonquinpark.on.ca/news/natural_brook_trout_lakes.php One of the most effective ways I have discovered to catch these early season trout is to troll flies on a sinking fly line. This technique is extremely efficient and easy to learn. ‘Dragging flies’ as I call it, keeps your fly consistently in the strike zone between the 5 to 20-foot range. I like to think of ‘dragging flies’ as the great equalizer. An angler doesn’t even need to know how to cast! This is a killer trolling technique that can elicit aggressive, heart-pounding hook-ups and an instant shot of adrenaline that all anglers crave! On an early spring trip to a backcountry trout lake a few years ago, I managed to catch triple the number of fish caught by my friend who was casting out of a float tube. He couldn’t believe the success I was having with this simple technique! To me, it made total sense. I was covering 100 times the amount of water, varied structure, and vegetation. His position (while off-shore and in a float tube) was stationary; effectively limiting him to the length of his cast and what lay beneath. Technique for Ice-out trout I like to place the fly rod between my abdomen and belt lie when paddling. This allows the kayak angler quick access to the fly rod to add twitches and jerks between paddle strokes. If this technique doesn’t work for you, a rod holder placed close to your body is another option. Zig-zag across the lake hitting potential hotspots such as mid-lake humps, drop-offs, shoals, and weed beds. When you get ROCKED by an aggressive trout, circle back and hit the same spot again. Soon enough you will develop a route that will continue to target the most productive areas. Equipment for Ice-out trout For this technique, I prefer an inexpensive 9 foot, stiff action, 5/6 weight fly rod combination in the $100 range. A decent fly rod combo will typically be pre-spooled with a floating fly line. For an additional $50 you can purchase an extra fly reel, and spool it with 100 feet of type 5 full sinking line. (TIP: mark a one-foot section of fly line using a silver sharpie at the 25′ mark, the 50′, and 75′. This gives you a visual clue as to how much fly line you have out. For example, 25′ feet of line behind the kayak sinks roughly 5′, 50′(10′), 75′ (15′) and 100′ (20’+). For the leader, tie a 9- foot section of 6Lbs fluoro leader material such as ‘Berkley Vanish’. I use the Raymarine Element as a fishfinder. Using both the sidevision and downvision allows me to find structure, fish, and vegetation with amazing crystal-clear imagery. http://www.raymarine.com/element-series/element-hv/models.html Flies Flies used for trolling should be tied on a size 4 to 8 hook. I’ve always liked streamers tied with rabbit hair or marabou. These materials give your fly an undulating, life-like look with each propulsion and pause of a paddle stroke or rod twitch. There’s no hard or fast rule on what colours to use. Experimenting is key while trying to ‘match the hatch’ as best you can. Paddling Speed When dragging flies, try starting with a slow, gentle pace. Paddle slow enough that you are slightly moving, but not so slow that there isn’t constant tension on your line. A few paddle strokes forward, followed by a pause, then a twitch-twitch of the rod and repeat. If paddling into the wind, obviously a harder paddle stroke is needed. Vice versa if the wind is at your back. Setting the hook As with any kayak trolling technique, the hookset simply consists of a few solid paddle strokes forward. With so much line out, the fish will often hook itself. To further drive the hook home, simply pick up your rod and firmly sweep it forward. Final thoughts on Ice-out Trout Dragging flies for Ice-out Trout has been my absolute go-to tactic. This technique is highly effective and extremely efficient. If you can figure out the right depth and speed, you’re well on your way to experiencing the thrill of the hook-up. Next, get ready for an aerial show, because, in cold water conditions, there’s a good chance the trout will give you a VIP performance! So tie on your favourite fly, go for a paddle (or pedal) and get ready for the tug. You’ll be hooked in no time! [bigcommerce_product id=”1071″ order=”ASC” orderby=”date”] Submit a Comment Cancel replyYour email address will not be published. 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