A hybrid cross between a Brook trout and a Lake trout. The "sp" from the speckled, or Brook trout, and "lake", obviously from the Lake trout. Even though it is a hybrid it is still capable of reproduction, though most doubt it actually reproduces in the wild. Tough to identify because of it's similarity to both parent species, its markings are mostly similar to brookies although, generally they are more greyish like the lakers. They can have tails that are almost square to a slight fork. Telling a brookie from a splake can be done by looking at the gills. Splake normally have just two or three red spots per side just behind the gills and no cerulean haloes. Brookies tend to have many red spots extending close to the caudal fin. Haloes my be faint on the brookies, but they will be there. The only sure way to tell a splake is to cut open the fish and count the pyloric caeca, whatever the heck those are. The Mainefisherman hopes you will put them back first!
I like to use smelts and fish them about a foot off the bottom. Try to find a natural ledge or the edge of a dropoff and work your bait there. Raise and lower it til you find the level that they are feeding at, usually very close to the bottom. They tend to be in the deeper cold water, just like the lakers. You don't need to use dead smelly bait, but you may find them in the same areas. They have smaller mouths than lakers so you will want to use smelts small enough for them to eat. They are nibblers and will not strike hard like browns do. They tend to be finicky like the lakers.
Jig the mouth of streams and brooks that run in and out of the lake or pond. Short, slow, jigging strokes with some longer pauses seems to be the accepted method of working a lure when ice fishing. Try letting the spoon hit bottom, and bounce it around down there,sometimes this will draw attention to the lure or your cut bait. This helps attract fish, even from a distance. Winter fish usually strike the lure when it is stopped or at rest and the bite is often extremely subtle, so be ready to set the hook.
Fish for splake in much the same manner you would lakers. They come in shallow early on and then move out to the deep cold water with the lakers. Spring, when the fish are in shallow, is generally best for open water , but fall fishing around structure and dropoffs, when the fish are spawning, can also be good. Use wobblers or spoons trolled slow at medium depth down to the bottom. The right Streamer pattern can also be very effective on Splake.(much like the laker)
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