Ice fishing tips from Maine’s fisheries biologists

If targeting Maine salmon and brook trout, don’t miss the early season for these species as the best fishing generally occurs within the first two weeks of ice-in. Tip two is the same as last year, learn to jig!
– Fisheries Resource Supervisor Jim Pellerintwo people ice fishing

The number one tip when it comes to ice fishing for brook trout is STAY SHALLOW. Your best brook trout water is going to be in less than five feet of water. Brook trout like shallow, near-shore habitat in the winter. Another tip when it comes to brook trout through the ice is keep your bait small. Small minnows or pieces of nightcrawler work just fine. You can certainly bait-up with a big shiner, but just know that many brookies will keep picking at that bait without getting hooked. A small bait works best for brook trout.
– Fisheries Resource Supervisor Jason Seiders

 When targeting rainbow trout I highly recommend fishing with worms. When fishing for salmon, use live shiners or smelts and set your trap just under the ice (1-2 feet under the ice).
– Fisheries Resource Supervisor Gregory Burr

Pack more than one (non-lead) depth sounder just in case you misplace one. Before you head to the ice, go over your tip-ups and respool old, weak fishing line so you don’t lose the fish of a lifetime.
– From Fisheries Resource Supervisor Kevin Dunham

Before fishing a new water look online for a depth map. If you’re fishing for brook trout, target shallower water and set traps or jig near the shoreline or structure.

– Acting Fisheries Resource Supervisor Liz Thorndike

You don’t have to fish deep for brook trout. Stick to the shoreline where it’s safest. Worms are low maintenance and always a good bet for bait. Hopefully, Ole Man Winter will make an appearance soon and we can look forward to some terrific salmon, trout, and togue fishing in the north country.
– Fisheries Resource Supervisor Tim Obrey

Try catching your own bait. The past couple of years has seen minor shortages in the availability of live bait, particularly smelt. If you are fortunate to live near a water with smelt and it is open to ice fishing, consider spending some extra time to catch your own.

– Fisheries Resource Supervisor Frank Frost

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