Ice Fishing Prep: Lures

Lures come in a plethora of shapes, sizes, and colors, and ice fishing is no different. Beginner ice anglers shouldn’t feel overwhelmed by the variety of products, though. In fact, if you’ve never ice fished before, then I suggest picking up a combo that comes with a basic assortment of ice lures, to simplify the experience. However, if you’re looking to bulk up your gear and fill your ice fishing tackle box, or are just interested in learning more about the different types of ice lures out there, then keep reading as I highlight them in part three of my Ice Fishing Prep series.

One of the more common types of ice fishing lures is the teardrop. These little beauties consist of small pieces of metal molded onto a hook, similar to a jighead. Teardrops are available in many shapes and sizes and are often painted to resemble insect larvae. Very similar to teardrops are ice flies, which feature plastic or hair material. With either style, utilize a larger or more brightly colored lure in darker waters, to get the fish’s attention.

Jigging minnows are a popular choice for bass, walleye, and pike during ice fishing season. These hard-bodied lures are designed to dart back and forth in the water when jigged. They are ideal for enticing hesitant fish or preventing against light, sneaky species, as they’re designed to draw aggressive strikes. Rapala offers a variety of such lures in varying sizes and patterns that have been popular among ice anglers for years.

Like jigging minnows, spoons are designed to “flutter” and dart when jigged vertically. They doa  great job of imitating wounded or dying baitfish. Spoons come in so many different styles, and can possess anything from reflective tape to glow-in-the-dark paint to entice fish.

Swimming jigs are another lure type that possesses aggressive action and targets the hungrier fish. These lures fall in a circular motion that works well with finicky fish. Blade baits are good choices for targeting reluctant fish, as well. Their tight wobble and weighted design make them deadly when jigged sharply upward.

Finally, you have the plastic jigs. These lures are the most plentiful and offer the largest variety, often ranging from simple plastic tubes to intricately-designed creature baits, such as shrimp or spiders. Many plastic jigs have great action and a soft feel, which won’t turn smaller fish away when they nibble. Also, if desired, you can add them to teardrops for a little extra flare.

Of course, you can always go with the fan favorite: live bait. Minnows, wax worms, and bee moth are very popular and can be found at any (smart) bait shop. Also, don’t be afraid to ask your fellow anglers for tips on what works at a particular lake or pond. Give a few of the lures listed above a try this season and see what works for you.