Huge Trout growth under ice

Posted by: wbuffetjr

Huge Trout growth under ice - 12/05/19 10:34 AM

Just some of my experience for any future trout guys.

These Splake were stocked in my lake 10/05/2018 at 6"-9". The lake was iced over by 11/05/2018. There is ZERO supplemental feeding in our lake. Coldest measured water temp was 32.6 degrees (measured with YSI Pro ODO meter). I do not know how long the water was at that temp or if it got colder or not. Problems with aeration led to very low DO levels early on in the Winter. That combined with the most snow anyone can remember made for a tough winter that I THOUGHT had killed all the fish. ~2.5' of cloudy ice with feet of snow covering the ice. Ice did not even start to break until 6/06/2019. Ice was 100% off by 6/16/2019. Longest ice cover I have personally witnessed.

Stocked Splake


This fish was caught ~6/27/2019, less than 3 weeks after ice started to break. It was ~16". I was amazed at the growth considering the conditions the fish survived. I would imagine less harsh conditions and supplemental feeding could really produce some impressive growth under the ice.
Posted by: Bocomo

Re: Huge Trout growth under ice - 12/05/19 11:36 AM

You had SEVEN MONTHS of continuous ice cover?!
Posted by: wbuffetjr

Re: Huge Trout growth under ice - 12/05/19 11:41 AM

Yes sir. Definitely a worse than normal year. Usually ice starts coming off one month sooner.

Pic from 11/12/2018


Pic from 6/10/2019
Posted by: ewest

Re: Huge Trout growth under ice - 12/05/19 12:14 PM

Trout do well in cold water. Especially if the forage is not as cold tolerant. With enough forage they will feed and grow over winter if there are no DO problems. Nice work BTW.
Posted by: wbuffetjr

Re: Huge Trout growth under ice - 12/05/19 01:28 PM

Originally Posted By: ewest
Trout do well in cold water. Especially if the forage is not as cold tolerant. With enough forage they will feed and grow over winter if there are no DO problems. Nice work BTW.


Thanks Ewest! I was definitely pumped! Two things I found most interesting.

One, we had major DO problems. At our regular measuring spot my buddy measured 1.0PPM at the surface and .8PPM a few feet down. That's when I counted the fish as dead. Obviously the fish that survived found a safe zone somewhere, but clearly the DO conditions were very rough and we had major growth.

Two, with water temps at 32.6 I would have imagined the fish just shutdown, but clearly they didn't.

I know it's hard to discuss scientifically because I don't have a bunch of points to plot a temp or DO curve for the entire winter, BUT they grew tremendously in some really bad, freezing water.
Posted by: anthropic

Re: Huge Trout growth under ice - 12/05/19 07:13 PM

Have you ever considered getting a feeder? I'd imagine the splake come feed trained. When I got some rainbows, I was told that they'd do fine on fish foods with 42 to 46 percent protein, 1/4 inch length of pellets.
Posted by: wbuffetjr

Re: Huge Trout growth under ice - 12/06/19 06:52 AM

Originally Posted By: anthropic
Have you ever considered getting a feeder? I'd imagine the splake come feed trained. When I got some rainbows, I was told that they'd do fine on fish foods with 42 to 46 percent protein, 1/4 inch length of pellets.


I thought about it a little bit but decided against it. I am concerned about adding any extra nutrient load at all to my water. I am also fairly sure any feeders up there would be totally destroyed by bears in the first week.