How to Build Ice Fishing Bait

How to Build Ice Fishing BaitIce fishing requires patience, a tolerance for cold weather, and the right bait and lures to nab the fish. Understand and know how to construct the right combination of live bait, tackle and sinkers to achieve the best results for your time spent on the cold and frigid frozen water. For most species, minnows are a top choice of bait to construct a fishing setup.


Difficulty: Moderately Easy

Get the Minnows

Things You’ll Need:
  • Live minnows
  • Size 3 or 4 fishing hooks
  • Sinkers
  • Fishing line
  • Rod and reel or ice fishing rod
  • Small fish net
  • Paper towels
  • Utility knife
Step 1
Grab the small fish net and remove one or two minnows from the storage container. Use the net instead of your hands to prevent cold water getting on your exposed flesh. Set the minnow down. Pick up one of the fishing hooks and attach the hook to the fishing line. Cut the excess line from the hook and line with the utility knife.
Step 2
Attach the minnow to the hook at the minnow's mouth. Push the hook through the bottom lip of the minnow. Check that the minnow is still moving and alive.
Step 3
Take one to two sinkers and attach them to the line, approximately 3 to 4 inches above the hook and minnow. Pinch the sinkers with your thumb and forefinger to close it onto the line.
Step 4
Towel off excess water or moisture from your fingers and hands with the paper towel or other absorbent material to prevent frost nip or frostbite to the digits. Attach the line to the fishing rod.

Tips & Warnings

Keep the minnows in a small plastic container with a lid instead of a Styrofoam cooler that could spill. Use the net to remove minnows to keep hands and fingers out of the cold water.

Article Written By Eric Cedric

A former Alaskan of 20 years, Eric Cedric now resides in California. He's published in "Outside" and "Backpacker" and has written a book on life in small-town Alaska, "North by Southeast." Cedric was a professional mountain guide and backcountry expedition leader for 18 years. He worked in Russia, Iceland, Greece, Turkey and Belize. Cedric attended Syracuse University and is a private pilot.

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