Hermitage Park Rainbow Trout and Jaw Jacker Review

Fishing Hermitage Park Pond rainbow trout that lurk under ice is something I enjoy trying when home for Christmas.  Unfortunately this year I didn't make it to the lake until later in the ice season after Christmas. You see this small pond is only about 12 feet deep and stocked with 3000 rainbows a year.  As the winter lingers on oxygen levels plummet and the trout are left struggling to survive.  Sadly nature wins out and the lake consistently winter kills leaving the remaining trout dead under ice.  No one can predict when this will exactly happen as a lot of factors come into play.  For example live weeds add oxygen and dead weeds consume oxygen.  Regardless I always go out to give it a try.

The forecast was for a rapid change in weather throughout the day.  It started out on the cool side, overcast and calm.  By the end of the day it was freezing cold and blowing snow. 

I tried a faithful point on the lake in the morning, but there was no trout activity on the radar at all and no strikes on the awaiting Jaw Jacker.  I decided to pack up and walk across the lake to a deeper section and see if there were any fish around.  I drilled holes starting from a shallow bank and out every 20 feet into the main lake basin.  Shortly after I set the Jaw Jacker in shallow water it went off!  I ran over and lost the first nice rainbow in the hole.

I reset the line and returned to jigging with my rod and MarCum VX 1P.  I noticed that there was some action on the flasher half way up the water column.  I raised my Kastmaster with dropper fly to mid water column and soon had something that felt like a bite.  Then the Jaw Jacker went off again and I landed a nice rainbow at 15 inches.  I returned to the jigging rod and started to have more hits and landed another rainbow.  The trout were ON which was unusual after Christmas. I attributed the action to a rapid fall in barometric pressure which sometimes turns the bite ON!  Regardless the cause I was just happy to be the one experiencing it.

Things slowed down mid day and I moved to another hole.  I decided to try a few inches under the ice in 12 feet of water.  In no time I had a strike and then another.  I got down on my belly and stared down the hole.  In no time a rainbow was staring back at me inches from my face.  They were swimming back and forth right under my nose.  This was so cool I thought.  Turns out this is typical behavior as the oxygen levels fall in a lake.  The fish start to swim closer to the ice where trapped air pockets and cracks are the only way oxygen enters the lake late in the season. 
I quickly drilled another hole and dropped the GoPro down to see if I could get any footage.  Turns out they weren't camera shy and even though it was getting dark the footage is still pretty neat.  Check out the video links below. 


I continued to catch fish on the Jaw Jacker and rod right under the ice.  Turned out to be one of my best days on Hermitage Park Pond.  I saw several other groups of people on the ice and nobody else was catching.  Just goes to show you can't always stick with what usually works.  The fish were not on the bottom and unless you moved around and fished mid water column and up to the ice there was no catching going on.  So don't forget the rest of the water column when you are out on the ice.  Also having a MarCum Flasher can really help you understand how fish are using the water column and put your lure in the high traffic area.
I've been very impressed with the Jaw Jacker on ice.  I set it up with three small ice jigs or flies about a foot and a half apart and tip with pieces of meal worm.  Drop the set up down and wait.  More often then not when it goes off there is a fat trout on the end of the line waiting to be brought in by you.  If you are allowed a set line in your province or state I highly recommend investing in some of these.  
I previously used tip downs which I built, but usually by the time I ran over to grab the rod the fish had dropped the bait.  The Jaw Jacker actually sets the hook for you increasing your odds of catching more fish!  
If you'd like to see the action from this day click the links below.  I also do a demonstration of my Jaw Jacker rig for those of you who are curious.  
Till next time - Tight Lines!
The Fishing Doctor



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