Author Topic: Stocked Rainbows: Help With Hookup Rate on Rod/Rodholder  (Read 6632 times)

Offline gorf37

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Hi All!

I have a lake stocked with rainbow trout and kokanee near my house, and have been targeting the rainbows.

I understand that a still presentation is usually the best, and I've been getting that using rod holders, and I'm getting strikes certainly enough to make me happy, but my hookup rate is miserably bad (1 in 15-20).  The bell rings, and I excitedly come over to reel-up my bare terminal gear and re-bait.  It's like I'm feeding fish really slowly...  Even though I get way fewer hits on the rod I'm holding or sitting beside, that's the one where I've actually caught fish.

What help can you offer?  Any and all is welcome!

Here are some details for better context:

Water: very clear
Depth: 5ft to 20 ft (best seems to be <10ft)
Location: not busy (ie. quiet) but still fished quite a bit (ie. line-shy, lure-shy fish)

My rods: Med & M/L 28" with spinning reels (I typically target pike/burbot/lake trout, so I don't have any lighter rods.)
Line: 12lb mono main, long (~10ft) 6lb leader - have been using seaguar blue FC, am currently using mono b/c CanTire doesn't stock FC worth buying and we don't have a fishing store at the moment.  Because of the target depths, I'm typically fishing all 6lb, with 12lb 'backing'.

Terminal gear: jigs of all descriptions 1/8oz and less, small single octopus &/or small trebles beneath split-shot
Bait: cooked shrimp (gets most hits) and power bait (eggs, mallows, grubs, dough)

I've tried tight(ish) drag, normal drag, loose drag, and open bail (with no split-shot). No idea what's best.  I usually sit beside one rod, jigging it lightly & occasionally.  Sometimes I run my flasher, but I've ended up turning it of b/c no marks show up while it's running. The remote rod is usually ~50ft away and in my direct line of sight, and I usually use a brass bell for strike detection.  When the bell rings, I've tried sprinting to it, I've tried tiptoeing to it, yet all I usually find is a jig relieved of its bait.

I have never tried using a slip bobber while ice fishing.  My father in law used to put them on a little snow hill and let the fish pull them off for minimal resistance.  Have never tried it.  I'm interested in getting a jaw jacker or automatic fisherman, but feel like I should be able to make it work without adding more equipment.  I own some cheapo windlass tip-ups, but I don't see how they'll work if I can't get a rod&holder to work.  I'm curious about buying a tip-down, they seem interesting, but again: shouldn't a rod & holder work!?!

Thanks very much for reading!


Offline gooner

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Re: Stocked Rainbows: Help With Hookup Rate on Rod/Rodholder
« Reply #1 on: Dec 05, 2014, 03:44 PM »
I use a pickerel rig and I drill two holes about 3-0 feet apart. On my line I place a small bobber so it barely floats when the weight is on bottom. When the bobber goes down set the hook
Tight lines and big fish

Offline gooner

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Re: Stocked Rainbows: Help With Hookup Rate on Rod/Rodholder
« Reply #2 on: Dec 05, 2014, 03:44 PM »
I use a pickerel rig and I drill two holes about 3-0 feet apart. On my line I place a small bobber so it barely floats when the weight is on bottom. When the bobber goes down set the hook
Tight lines and big fish

Offline Cold toes

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Re: Stocked Rainbows: Help With Hookup Rate on Rod/Rodholder
« Reply #3 on: Dec 05, 2014, 03:48 PM »
Get a slammer or Jawjacker. They are deadly on trout. or sit close enough that you can grab either rod in about 1-2 seconds. That's usually all the chance they give you.

Offline Idahogator

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Re: Stocked Rainbows: Help With Hookup Rate on Rod/Rodholder
« Reply #4 on: Dec 05, 2014, 04:26 PM »
I've managed to achieve near 99.99% hook-ups with a #6 Tru-Turn red hook tied to the line(with no other devices), 1/2" of nightcrawler fished dead - sticked halfway to the bottom.

The real trick is slack line of about 2'.    Easiest way I've found for that is a sagging loop between the guides nearest the reel.

Hold that loop down with a foot of trail tape in a bright color.

Tie/anchor the rod to something that can't go down the ice hole.

When the tape goes up and the line tightens, the trout has moved off and has well taken your offering.      ;)2
      

Offline CavScout

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Re: Stocked Rainbows: Help With Hookup Rate on Rod/Rodholder
« Reply #5 on: Dec 07, 2014, 10:00 AM »
x2 on the JawJacker or auto fisherman.  I have never really had much luck on just leaving a pole set in a holder in hopes that I get there intime to make the hookset. Trout esp. stockers don't usually hit on the run and hook themselves. 

I use jawjackers and really like the design. I have caught everything from 5in stockers to porker 5lb rainbows on them.  They are kinda pricy though. One of the homemade models that guys on this site might be a better alternative if your handy or thrifty
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Offline Retiredbum

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Re: Stocked Rainbows: Help With Hookup Rate on Rod/Rodholder
« Reply #6 on: Dec 07, 2014, 10:06 AM »
I hook more rainbows jigging for them,  Shallow water,  using vertical jigs, Like sweetish  pimple, or forage minnow . We have stocked rainbows also, Most I get jigging. Small jigs.

Offline OpryIcin

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Re: Stocked Rainbows: Help With Hookup Rate on Rod/Rodholder
« Reply #7 on: Dec 07, 2014, 10:19 AM »
1) downsize your line to 4-6#
2) keep your bait at least 3-4 inches off the bottom
3) spring bobber on the rod tip vs bobber in the water

Rod holder tends to be ineffective unless you're rockin' a Jaw Jacker... I like to hold the rod, maybe some slight motion up and back down.  Always stay in contact with the jig, never let it slack the line on the way back down.  Super slow motion.  You'll feel the slightest touch or you will SEE it on the super-sensitive spring bobber before you feel it. 

GUARANTEE your catch rate goes up.  I struggled at a lake JUST like yours last year.  I was aggressively jigging for the stockers and not really getting em.  The deadstick method was what they wanted, but by keeping the bait just a pinch off the bottom and staying in contact with the jig or hook and creating just slight movement, we were able to land 80-90% of our bites.  Limited out in minutes and spent the next 3-4 hours rippin lips and takin pix.

Offline gorf37

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Re: Stocked Rainbows: Help With Hookup Rate on Rod/Rodholder
« Reply #8 on: Dec 08, 2014, 04:20 PM »
Looks like autofisherman/jawjackers would be a good addition to my kit.  Will have to try without a bit more just to prove I can before taking the plunge..

I like the idea of drilling my holes close together and manning both rods, I will most definitely try that.

Will try to slack line /w flagging, and the spring bobber, lots of fun to try anyways!

Thank you all for the replies!

Offline Trout Sen-Sei

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Re: Stocked Rainbows: Help With Hookup Rate on Rod/Rodholder
« Reply #9 on: Dec 17, 2014, 05:22 PM »
I use only 4lb test and small hook size 10 or 12 with the ice buster bobber as my slip bobber. I deadstick with my bail open and use waxies or maggots with a tiny piece of powerbait right above the eye on the hook. Most will swallow the bait.

Offline dekatronic

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Re: Stocked Rainbows: Help With Hookup Rate on Rod/Rodholder
« Reply #10 on: Jan 19, 2015, 02:08 AM »
I fish mostly in the Okanagan and Cariboo regions of B.C. for rainbow and brook trout.  Specifically for rainbows, my gear and methods also depend on the type of rainbows stocked.  In all regions of B.C. that are stocked, we mainly see Fraser Valley, Pennask, and Blackwater strains, and each strain definitely has its ideal gear and methods.  So if you can identify the particular strain of trout stocked, this may provide some clues as to what you might consider. 

For example Fraser Valley strain is basically a domesticated trout bred for maximum weight gain and fed pellets until they reach half pound before being released.  As a result they are not piscivorous (don't eat other fish), and they also respond well to dead-sticked artificial baits in the shape of a pellet.  Go figure, just like at the hatchery ;)

And the Pennask and Blackwater strains also have their unique feeding characteristics that you might capitalize in order to improve your hookup rate.  Learning such information can lead you towards considering different gear/methods for the particular strain of fish you're after.

The other thing I will stress that hasn't been mentioned is to always use fresh sharp hooks.  It sounds like you are getting the fish to mouth the bait, but in my humble opinion a 1/20 hookup rate is pretty much as close to failure as I could stand.  A lot of people use Gamakatsu hooks.  They are chemically sharpened, and are also very strong and will not straighten out if you hook a big fish.  I've switched to these hooks since last year and I've experienced a big improvement in my hookup rate whether I'm jigging or dead-sticking.  For trout, I recommend size #6 or #8 hooks.  Specifically I would suggest Gamakatsu Octopus hooks (in either red or stainless steel finish, it doesn't matter), and incidentally you will also find the #8 hooks are perfect for kokanee.  You should also be able to find them at your local C.T. store. 

If you're interested in hearing about my particular setup and methods, I would certainly be more than happy to share what I know.  Just send me a p.m.

Offline panfishman13

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Re: Stocked Rainbows: Help With Hookup Rate on Rod/Rodholder
« Reply #11 on: Dec 22, 2015, 12:44 PM »
well, i can see your problem right away! it's your bait!

i'm from Idaho, where trout exist in literally every body of water you can fish. and in the winter, i have the opportunity to catch a lot of trout, and over the years, i've learned a lot about them, mostly by sight fishing.

in winter, trout don't normally hit a bait like any other species of fish i've seen. they prefer to take swipes at it, maybe smacking it 3 or four times before finally eating it, or swimming away.

you're using powerbait and shrimp. both are baits that fall apart on a hook. yes, they give a great scent trail, but because the trout are just beating up the bait, they'll knock it off the hook before you ever get to your rod; then the mouthful of bait they get isn't on the hook anymore.

my solution: combine baits. one of my favorite bait combinations is a piece of nightcrawler and a marshmallow, but i've also had success with a plastic body and powerbait, a waxworm with several eurolarvae, or salmon eggs and a piece of cutbait.

the idea is, the powerbait or marshmallow (the bait that breaks apart easily) creates a massive scent trail for trout to follow, then when they find your bait, even if they knock the powerbait off, there's still a piece of something tasty there to keep them around and entice them to bite the hook itself.

if that seems like a bit too much work, just use different, tougher bait. i guarantee you'll catch plenty of fish on waxworms, mealworms, and nightcrawlers. cutbait works too and lasts forever on a hook.

Offline FG Steve

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Re: Stocked Rainbows: Help With Hookup Rate on Rod/Rodholder
« Reply #12 on: Mar 31, 2017, 08:56 AM »
PF13, I like your analysis.

one of my favorite bait combinations is a piece of nightcrawler and a marshmallow

This is my go-to rig in the summer, but in the winter I normally swap the mallow for a piece of corn or some such.   Besides providing a scent trail, the marshmallow floats the worm off the bottom.  I always figured that if I'm fishing straight down (which I do through the ice but not from the boat), then that just brings my bait back up the line, and my presentation ends up with 3X the line in it, as the line comes down from the top, past the bait to my weight, then back up from the bottom to the hook.

I'm curious if you are doing something creative to avoid this, or if it is exactly what happens but it works for you.
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Offline Osage

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Re: Stocked Rainbows: Help With Hookup Rate on Rod/Rodholder
« Reply #13 on: Mar 31, 2017, 10:16 AM »
Stocked rainbow/ trout is a big industry in my home state,pellet raised trout are drawn to power bait because of smell,and some say colors ( may be debatable ).If you use power bait,do not buy cheap varieties,and do buy floating.Use 4 lb test for better results,downsize hooks to 12-14's,float your bait 8-14" off bottom/ weed tops.
   Stocked trout will need some time to acclimate to other food offerings,give them a week or so after stocking,and they will hit non pellet flavored offerings better.learn to float night crawlers,your catch should go up,all other methods mentioned above are good recommendations.
    As far as rod holders and such,I myself do well with any standard holder,I switched from spring bobbers to hanging small bobbers on the line,they are highly visible,and detect even the slightest tickle of the bait.my area doesn't have good ice every winter,but hard or soft water stocked trout react pretty much the same.Good luck,try several techniques,because everyday is a little different,fish on!

Offline lefty2053

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Re: Stocked Rainbows: Help With Hookup Rate on Rod/Rodholder
« Reply #14 on: Nov 29, 2017, 01:49 PM »
Sharpen your hooks or get better ones.
<===Lefty===

Offline kasilofchrisn

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Re: Stocked Rainbows: Help With Hookup Rate on Rod/Rodholder
« Reply #15 on: Nov 29, 2017, 02:26 PM »
I use small jigs I make myself and we actively jig for both species.
For rods not in hand a SalmonBear self setter works great.
Quick hooksets work best for me.
Water depths less than 15' work best for me.




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Offline gorf37

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Re: Stocked Rainbows: Help With Hookup Rate on Rod/Rodholder
« Reply #16 on: Nov 30, 2017, 01:13 AM »
Fun to see this thread still going!  Much has changed in 3 years.  I can definitely attribute some of my success to this thread, so thanks to all who replied.

The lake I like to target, I thought was 80% rainbow/20% kokanee, well, it's actually 10% rainbow/90% kokanee.

Although I had to figure it out myself, the 'swiping' hits that panfisherman13 describes are even more true of kokanee than rainbows.  They love to swarm up and pull the bait right off the hook. 

I now run a light action 28" graphite rod with 4 or 6lb test.  I run a 6lb fluoro leader all the time, so I have little measure of how critical it is.

The ticket is a small sharp hook.  Because the kokanee often like to hold in 25ft and deeper, the light limp line is critical, but finding the sweet spot between small presentation and heavy enough jig for presentation is tough.  1/8oz is my current favourite.

Cocktail shrimp are acceptable, but they fall apart somewhat too easily.  I have had better luck with cooking large shrimp and then pulling it into pieces to bait the jigs.

I still dead stick but I've never caught a kokanee on it.  Kokanee still ring the bell, steal my bait, and generally drive me nuts.  I have caught rainbows on it, which is why I keep doing it.  I use a #6 octopus hook with a large piece of shrimp hanging 8" below a split shot.  I agree with kasilofchrisn, 10-12fow is typically the best for the rainbows.

Well, I hope this thread will help others, just as it helped me.  Thanks to all who replied!


Offline dekatronic

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Re: Stocked Rainbows: Help With Hookup Rate on Rod/Rodholder
« Reply #17 on: Nov 30, 2017, 01:36 AM »
Great to hear you found some success! You're lucky you have a 9:1 Kokanee to trout lake. I love fishing for rainbows but I am obsessed with Kokanee. Anyhow I've picked up a sonar unit since my previous post and it's been a game changer. I can see what depth the fish are at in a column of water and I can also anticipate the bite. Literally turns fishing into a video game! I recommend looking into one if you haven't already.

Offline burkdog24

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Re: Stocked Rainbows: Help With Hookup Rate on Rod/Rodholder
« Reply #18 on: Nov 30, 2017, 01:46 AM »
1) downsize your line to 4-6#
2) keep your bait at least 3-4 inches off the bottom
3) spring bobber on the rod tip vs bobber in the water

Rod holder tends to be ineffective unless you're rockin' a Jaw Jacker... I like to hold the rod, maybe some slight motion up and back down.  Always stay in contact with the jig, never let it slack the line on the way back down.  Super slow motion.  You'll feel the slightest touch or you will SEE it on the super-sensitive spring bobber before you feel it. 

GUARANTEE your catch rate goes up.  I struggled at a lake JUST like yours last year.  I was aggressively jigging for the stockers and not really getting em.  The deadstick method was what they wanted, but by keeping the bait just a pinch off the bottom and staying in contact with the jig or hook and creating just slight movement, we were able to land 80-90% of our bites.  Limited out in minutes and spent the next 3-4 hours rippin lips and takin pix.

What power and size ice fishing rod do you prefer for rainbow trout?

Offline FG Steve

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Re: Stocked Rainbows: Help With Hookup Rate on Rod/Rodholder
« Reply #19 on: Nov 30, 2017, 09:41 AM »
What power and size ice fishing rod do you prefer for rainbow trout?

Ultralight 54" for me.  But that's not a super-common choice around here.
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Offline gorf37

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Re: Stocked Rainbows: Help With Hookup Rate on Rod/Rodholder
« Reply #20 on: Nov 30, 2017, 10:24 PM »
Thanks dekatronic, I have an LX-5, I think 2014 was probably my 2nd season with it.  It's especially deadly for the burbot and lake trout fishing I do.  I typically don't bother with it where I fish kokanee b/c when they're not around, they're not at all, and when they're there, the action is limited only by the drop-rate of my jig. 

My focus has shifted to getting my son to catch them, but so far he refuses to reel them in.  At least this season he's willing to jig, where last year as soon as the rod was in his hand he'd reel it until the jig hit the eyelet, then hand it to me expectantly like, 'it didn't work dad'.

The kokanee in my home lake are really muddy tasting, unfortunately.  This winter I'm planning on trying to smoke them to cover the flavour, fingers-crossed!

Offline kasilofchrisn

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Re: Stocked Rainbows: Help With Hookup Rate on Rod/Rodholder
« Reply #21 on: Dec 01, 2017, 12:02 AM »

Cocktail shrimp are acceptable, but they fall apart somewhat too easily.  I have had better luck with cooking large shrimp and then pulling it into pieces to bait the jigs.
You don't want or need to cook them.
Leave them raw.
I cut mine into small pieces at home and put 40-50 baits in a container or baggie.
Everybody gets their own container/baggie of bait.
I get more baits cutting vs pulling apart the baits.
Usually 12+ baits per shrimp.
No need for big pieces even for big trout.
Plus big pieces ruin the action of my jigs.
Done this way I get my cost down to 1 or 2 cents per bait.
Sometimes I add bait dyes or scents to the containers of cut shrimp.
The scud or freshwater shrimp your imitating are small and not cooked.
Why change that?
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Offline dekatronic

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Re: Stocked Rainbows: Help With Hookup Rate on Rod/Rodholder
« Reply #22 on: Dec 01, 2017, 12:22 AM »
Thanks dekatronic, I have an LX-5, I think 2014 was probably my 2nd season with it.  It's especially deadly for the burbot and lake trout fishing I do.  I typically don't bother with it where I fish kokanee b/c when they're not around, they're not at all, and when they're there, the action is limited only by the drop-rate of my jig. 

My focus has shifted to getting my son to catch them, but so far he refuses to reel them in.  At least this season he's willing to jig, where last year as soon as the rod was in his hand he'd reel it until the jig hit the eyelet, then hand it to me expectantly like, 'it didn't work dad'.

The kokanee in my home lake are really muddy tasting, unfortunately.  This winter I'm planning on trying to smoke them to cover the flavour, fingers-crossed!

Haha I really enjoyed the description of your son ice fishing! I've seen that reaction too except it's my wife!

Too bad about the kokanee being muddy. Probably a discussion for another thread but I'm wondering what is causing it. The kokanee in my area are some of the best tasting fish, and are terrific smoked. Give it a shot


Offline dekatronic

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Re: Stocked Rainbows: Help With Hookup Rate on Rod/Rodholder
« Reply #23 on: Dec 01, 2017, 12:28 AM »
You don't want or need to cook them.
Leave them raw.
I cut mine into small pieces at home and put 40-50 baits in a container or baggie.
Everybody gets their own container/baggie of bait.
I get more baits cutting vs pulling apart the baits.
Usually 12+ baits per shrimp.
No need for big pieces even for big trout.
Plus big pieces ruin the action of my jigs.
Done this way I get my cost down to 1 or 2 cents per bait.
Sometimes I add bait dyes or scents to the containers of cut shrimp.
The scud or freshwater shrimp your imitating are small and not cooked.
Why change that?

This is excellent advice. I do the same thing. Uncooked shrimp stays on the hook much better and I don't always have to reel up and check bait every bite.

Offline gorf37

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Re: Stocked Rainbows: Help With Hookup Rate on Rod/Rodholder
« Reply #24 on: Dec 01, 2017, 12:48 AM »
On muddy kokanee, I've wondered if it's a seasonal food source thing, and that they're having to dig into the silty bottom of the lake a lot more in winter.  The bottom of the lake is very fine glacial silt.  The water itself is crystal clear, easy to see them down in 25fow if there's enough light.

I guess I figured it would risk food poisoning, guess I just gotta keep on keeping my hands clean. 

If it prevents koks from sucking my deadstick bait apart, it'll be worth it.  Thanks guys!


 



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