What Bait Is Used for Ice Fishing?

What Bait Is Used for Ice Fishing?
Ice fishing baits offer many options. The fish that the angler is after often dictates the choice of bait, as does the features of the body of water being fished. Ice fishing baits are deployed on tip-ups or on jigging rods and played through the holes that anglers drill through the ice with their ice augers.


Minnows, shiners, chubs, smelt and small suckers are some of the most commonly used baitfish that ice fishermen will employ. Game fish such as pike, bass, walleyes, pickerel and trout will attack and try to eat these assorted baitfish. Typically baits such as this are hooked either behind the dorsal fin or through the lip and swim around on the hook, often held down in the area where fish are cruising with split shots positioned above them on the line. These fish are offered in different sizes, with the general thinking being the larger the bait, the larger the fish that will be caught.



Grubs in different forms constitute an important group of baits that ice fishermen will use. Panfish such as bluegills, crappies and pumpkinseeds, along with perch and trout will offer at these insect larvae when they find them attached to a hook. Grubs can be rigged on tip-ups and on jigging rods. Waxworms, mealworms and mousies are types of grubs that can be purchased at bait shops, sporting goods establishments, through catalogs and online by ice fishermen.

Spoons and jigs

Spoon lures and jigs are popular baits with those that lean more towards using their ice fishing rods when out on the lakes, ponds and inlets. Ice fishing spoons are normally smaller than normal freshwater lures, except for those used for pike and walleye, which will be blade shaped and as long as three inches. These spoons attract fish by being fluttered up and down in the water as the angler controls their depth, speed, and movements from above. Examples of these lures include the Swedish pimple, the crippled herring and the tiny teardrop spoons that can be used with a grub on its hook to make them hard to resist for fish. Jigs are simply a hook with a weighted head, often designed in varied colors and with features painted on to make the jig look like a small fish. Jigs will be tipped with grubs, minnows and parts of a fish and can make fish like perch, trout, walleye, and crappie pay attention to them.


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