Ice fishing is a lot of fun if you have a good setup from which to fish. These guys are in a fish shack that helps to defeat much of the wind. The wind drives the surface temperature down, but inside of a confined space, such as this the body temperature of the people combined with sealed space keep the air temperature around 32 degrees. That is the same principal of an ice cave for wilderness survival.
World Record Holder
Eric Haataja, is the current world record holder in the “All-Tackle-Length” division and was certified by the International Game Fish Association for a brown trout. He caught his trophy trout back in December of 2011 while fishing on Lake Michigan over the Milwaukee harbor. The world record fish measured 38.189 inches. The good news for the trout is that the fish must be released in good condition after it is measured and photographed.
The fish below is not the world record fish that is noted above as it was uploaded in February of 2010. This, however, is an excellent catch. Haataja is a fishing guide out of West Allis and if you listen to the conversation you can pick up on the clue that this is a guide trip, and they are clearly looking for a record brown trout. This is discernable by the conversation where they are asking the man with the pole if he wants to keep it or release it. As the battle closes, they are discussing measuring it, photographing it, and releasing it. All of which are steps required if you submit an application to the International Game Fish Association for consideration in the record book.
The prior record was held by James Schmid out of Fort Collins, Colorado. He had landed a 28 inches brown trout where he fished out Milwaukee harbor. That says a lot that all three of these large brown trout were caught in the waters of Milwaukee harbor.
The Brown Trout as a Species
What is beautiful about this epic fish fight, is when the pull the trout from the water. You can clearly see that it is a relative of the salmon with its hooked lower jaw. Salmonids are a large family of fish that include salmon, trout and even char like the Dolly Varden. Brown trout are aggressive feeders that primarily consume both aquatic and aerial insects. In the winter, their food sources are vastly limited. They may find aquatic insects (naiads,) or they may eat smaller fish and even clams. So ice fishing for them with good bait is likely to bring up a large trout. Especially if you use a larger hook so that you do not spend your time reeling in small fries. Hence, the three large brown trout all caught during the winter while ice fishing.
If you want to try something that is a little more warm weather oriented, you can try and take up the art of fly fishing. In the this other cool fishing battle is an epic battle of a fisherman and his desire to catch a King Salmon on a fly rod. Would you dare? The Alaska record for a king salmon caught by a sports fisherman is currently 126 pounds.