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DodgeBall Trout

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I met up with my good buddy Travis DeWitt over the weekend, in search of my first trout (of any species) ever. It’d been sort of a bucket-list species for me, something I have always been anxious to learn more about. Heck, I didn't even know we had a catch-able population in Central Minnesota up until just about last year. Luckily for me Travis had been chasing them most of the season and had a good grasp on what they’d be doing.

We got out early afternoon while the sun was still high in the sky, temps were between 6-8 degrees but the wind sure cut that number down. We played dueling augers and drilled a large circle of holes around the edge of the main lake basin. The circle had approximately a 100 yard radius, drilling holes every 10 yards or so around it.

IceArmour was the name of the game; it was a crucial component to our success. Since we are basically wearing portable fish houses it allowed us to stay outside and hole-hop all afternoon. 10 minutes at a hole without marking a fish meant it was time to head towards the next open hole. While we were set up over 60-80 FOW, we were fishing just 5-10 feet below the ice on average.

I was using a Clam Duckbill Drop jig and tipped it with a white Maki (Jamei) plastic plus two bonus euro larva for added attraction. I have played around with this bait a lot as it is just about a foot under the water to be able to understand exactly what the jig is doing with each different twitch of the rod. The key for me was to do roughly a 3/4”-1” bounce as quickly as I could without letting the line go slack. The lack of slack would get a steady sort of roll to the lure which looked very similar to the action a tail-hooked minnow gives off. Every few seconds I would throw in a 4”-6” hop, and then proceed to getting the roll back going. This particular lure has an outstanding and realistic action when given a short quick hop; it will dodge, dip, dive, duck, and dodge (I couldn't pass up the chance to throw in a DodgeBall reference). The trout that came through had zero hesitation and hit the lure with a vengeance.

My first ever trout ended up being a big healthy 19” female, she fought harder than any walleye I had ever iced on that combo. When the fish's head finally poked through the slush that had built up in the hole, I let out a squeal that sounded like something you’d hear during an elementary recess. Travis, being the good buddy he is, came running at a full on sprint from the opposite side of the 100 yard circle of holes ready to snap a photo, measure and help me make the release all as quickly as possible.

All in all, I’m HOOKED. Can’t believe I waited over 25 years to make this happen. I owe it all to Travis and his passion for chasing every fish species Minnesota has to offer. Thanks again bud, can’t wait until we are able to hit the ice again next time.





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Those 'bows are pretty in the winter- that's for sure.. If you ever want to make the trek to the La Crosse area, I'd love to get you out on some nice brookie and brown streams..

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  • Your Responses - Share & Have Fun :)

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