Ice Fishing Tips -Check your local regulations! > Trout

Just under the ice?

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Gamalot:
When I had an AquaView camera setup I put the camera down about 5 feet away and looking right at my shinner that was about 5 feet under the ice. I watched nice trout come right up to the shinner and not touch it but they all seemed to come from above the bait. Slow day with no flags at all but I saw quite a few trout cruising. I hooked a heavy sinker to the fish cameras tail end causing it to tilt upward and I could see the bottom of the ice that looks like the surface of the moon with lots of craters. As I twisted the camera cable to spin it around I noticed something stuck to the ice bottom and I had to drill another hole to get closer and see what it was. It was a big helgramite about 2" long just stuck and clinging on. In another hole I saw what looked like tiny snails clinging to the bottom of the ice. I don't usually keep fish I catch but a few days later I did get a brown about 18 inches and brought it home so I could see the stomach contents. Sure enough he had 2 big helgramites and a bunch of crunchy snail shells and the remains of a big crayfish but no signs of any shinner remains at all.
I think it all depends upon what food is available in the lake you are fishing. It could be that helgramites and snails are easy pickings and an occasional crayfish is a good dessert. The browns seem to be cruising just under the ice looking up to see what snacks are clinging on to it. I never did figure out why they would swim right up and sniff my shinner but never eat it. I just figured they can see the line or hook or maybe something just did not look natural and move on. 

flagup!:
Very interesting find.  I caught some nice rainbows a few weeks ago shallow and just below the ice.  They were all filled with the largest caddis larva I have ever seen.  They were 2 to 3 " long.  Now im wondering if they were on the bottom or stuck to the ice like you said.

Gamalot:

--- Quote from: flagup! on Feb 22, 2021, 06:55 AM ---Very interesting find.  I caught some nice rainbows a few weeks ago shallow and just below the ice.  They were all filled with the largest caddis larva I have ever seen.  They were 2 to 3 " long.  Now im wondering if they were on the bottom or stuck to the ice like you said.

--- End quote ---

I looked up Caddis and Helgramites, close resemblance but I post here a picture of the bugs I see clinging to the underside of the ice and in the bellies of the browns I catch. I saw these fairly close to shore but the water depth varied from 2 feet to over 12 feet near steep drop offs. The trout had lots of these bugs in his gut along with some sort of snail critters and a crayfish skeleton with the claws still in tact. I do wish I had the smarts to retrieve a photo from what I saw on the Aquaview but that is another story. Those here who have cameras might do what I did and tilt them up to view the underside of the ice. Lots of critters might be seen clinging to the bottom of the ice.

flagup!:
Thatís definitely a helgramite.  I wasnt suggesting you might have seen caddis instead of helgramite.  Iím just curious if other lakes have other bugs stuck to the bottom of the ice.

Gamalot:

--- Quote from: flagup! on Feb 22, 2021, 07:35 AM ---Thatís definitely a helgramite.  I wasnt suggesting you might have seen caddis instead of helgramite.  Iím just curious if other lakes have other bugs stuck to the bottom of the ice.

--- End quote ---

Sadly, I sold the camera shortly after buying it because I wanted to fish rather than watch TV on the ice. I only used the camera in one lake that had very clear water and bugs and a few lakes that I couldn't see much at all in because water was murky. I would suspect that some lakes do have bugs crawling while others might not. I would think a trout has to be pretty hungry to swallow a big crayfish that was probably close to 2.5" long. Also after viewing how helgramites evolve it is possible the stuff I called snail shells might very well be the outer cocoons the helgramites cover themselves with prior to emerging.

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