Ice Fishing Bait Tips

Ice Fishing Bait TipsIce fishing can be a long process, especially if you are not sure which spot is the best location to drill a fishing hole or what type of bait will attract the most fish. When ice fishing, choose bait based on fish preference. Knowing which bait to choose will improve your chances of luring fish to your hole. Spending hours on the water can be stressful for bait, so knowing how to properly care for bait fish is important.


Difficulty: Moderately Easy

How to:

Things You’ll Need:
  • Grub
  • Worms
  • Minnows
  • Gang hooks
Step 1
Learn what type of fish you want to bait. Rig your line with grubs and worms when ice fishing for crappie, perch or bluegill. When angling for larger fish such as walleye, bass or pike, rig your line with minnows; 3-inch minnows are ideal when angling for bass, whereas 1-inch minnows are more effective with perch.
Step 2
Rig your line with gang hooks, which are a combination of smaller hooks tied in tandem, to present lures in a more natural way. Use gang hooks to present multiple baits and increase your chances of a hookup. Attach artificial lures to your line using a 10- to 12- size barrel swivel. Fish this setup when you do not have or want to use live baits.
Step 3
Choose the location of your fishing hole based on bait selection. Fish grubs and worms near a murky or weedy bottom where both bait options can attract bluegill. Rig your ice fishing pole with minnows when angling near reefs, points, inlets and outlets or waters from 5 to 20 feet deep--where walleye and crappie can be caught.
Step 4
Store bait in an aluminum bait bucket. Use water from the fishing hole to temper the water inside the bucket so it mimics the temperature below the ice where you will fish your line. Mix in a catch-and-release formula and attach an aerator--per manufacturer's instructions--to help your bait live longer. Freshen the water periodically with more water from the fishing hole.

Tips & Warnings

Purchase ice fishing bait at a bait shop or online.

Article Written By Charlie Gaston

Charlie Gaston has written numerous instructional articles on topics ranging from business to communications and estate planning. Gaston holds a bachelor's degree in international business and a master's degree in communications. She is fluent in Spanish and has extensive travel experience.

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